Merits of red lamps vs. black heat lamps


9 Years
Jul 14, 2010
Just tossing out a random question, I guess.

Growing up we always used the red heat lamps in order to reduce chicks pecking at each other. So, that is what I used through much of adulthood.

It just so happens that I have loads of black heat lamps in the house. So, that is what I've been using this year. So far, I haven't had any problems with this. However, I thought I'd toss the question out in case there is some reason that red lamps would be preferable.

The black seems to have the same effect as the red when it comes to reducing their interest in each other. The only time any of the (few) chicks I've had this summer have seemed like they might start fussing at each other was when I turned full room lights on too brightly in their area. The black lights create just enough light that they can move around at night if they want to, and can get to their food and water. However, it doesn't seem bright enough to make them interested in each other.

(The reason I have so many black bulbs -- I have turtles. I use these over their tanks. Petco had one type of bulb that normally costs $10 on clearance for $1.29. I bought every one they had in stock. I guess I'm a light bulb hoarder already...)
Wondering why?

Would it be because of an increase in light around the clock, or due to something else?

Clarification: I do have white lights on in the area that they are in, just not over the brooders. For the first few nights, I do leave lights on 24 hours further away from them. After they are 3-4 days old then I start putting them on a more normal day/night schedule.
The color of the light makes no difference what so ever in the how fast they will develop or feather out. The thing that makes the feather out quicker is reduced heat. If you raise your light up a little higher and keep your chicks a little cooler they will feather out much quicker like to do under a mother hen.
I'm not too worried about faster feathering. They are in my basement, so that isn't too big of a concern. The little button quail start getting feathers at about 3-4 days old anyway, and are pretty much fully feathered out except for their heads by 2 weeks. It's unbelievable how fast they feather out!

I am just trying to figure out if there is any reason that black lights would be inferior / less safe than red. (I can reuse the black lights on my other pets . However, red lights are not so good for them.)
I'd use whatever you have available. The only time I use red lamps is when I have injured birds (to neutralize red color). If this is not a problem then use whatever you have, especially if the black lights have the same effect.

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