New chickener here: light and chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by glib, Dec 8, 2007.

  1. glib

    glib Songster

    Dec 8, 2007
    Greetings, due to my daughter following us overseas for an 8-months work assignment, when we return in a few weeks I will have to relent and get chickens (that was the promisewhen we left). I am fairly experienced with having animals and we also have three neighbors with chickens, so mostly I know what to do.
    The plan is to have them inside a fortified fence, due to the predator situation, 5 days a week, and free-range on weekends. It is a lot of work (build the fence, build the coop) so I am starting planning.

    I have some questions and I will post twice more in other forums.

    1) I am concerned that a 100W light (recommended to keep them warm) in the face of the chicks for five weeks will stress them to death. Don't they need to sleep? I know of no other animal who needs no darkness.

    2) advice on cold-hardy, large, friendly broods will be appreciated. Friendly is particularly important because my daughter is a bit of a chicken herself. I am sure 7 chickens and a rooster will give us more than enough eggs no matter what the breed. If the rooster does his thing, I may end up having the young ones for meat starting in 2009, so comments about meat content will also be appreciated.
  2. TurtleChick

    TurtleChick Songster

    Oct 3, 2007
    Tacoma, WA
    i used a 250watt infrared heat lamp on my girls... the infrared is supposed to be more soothing and induce less pecking at each other. dunno if that's true, but mine slept ate pooped slept pooped drank pooped slept and pooped some more just fine with it on! and, in fact, it's still on for this winter in their coop (they're only 2months old now). they certainly didn't have any problem falling over asleep no matter what they were doing and how light it was when they were babies! [​IMG]

    as for choosing breeds, you might check out the breed selection tool that they have on "my pet chicken" website. it's great - allows you to select for docile, broody, winter hardy, etc.

    good luck, and welcome to the addiction!!!!!!

  3. Dawn419

    Dawn419 Lost in the Woods

    Apr 16, 2007
    Evening Shade, AR
    I use an 85 watt red floodlight bulb in my brooders because it keeps a steady 95-100 degrees in the brooder. After a week, I rasie it a bit so that the temp drops five degrees and repeat each week (for their 1st four weeks).

    Here's some excellent info on raisig chicks...the First 60 days.

    Hope this helps!

  4. peepkeeper

    peepkeeper Songster

    Jul 5, 2007
    upstate New York
    Red light is a lot less stressful to them than white, they can still sleep and rest with a red light and there will be a lot less pecking and fighting.
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    I use a 100W on a dimmer switch and use the dimmer to regulate temps. As long as they have enough space, they usually don't have picking problems, especially with just the 8 or so you are planing on brooding. They can sleep in the light no problem. You can also use a ceramic heater if you are concerned about the light. They should be fine.

    As for meat... nothing will compare to your commercial strain cornish x. That said most birds will have some meat, but not anything like what you buy at the store. Plus, it will take about 4-5 months to get a decent table bird vs the 8 weeks of the often problematic meat bird type.

    The type is really up to you if you just want a pet type for a few eggs that is gentle. I think a heavy breed like a orpington would work well for your situation. Most RIR's are really production reds so they aren't really that meaty.
  6. skeeter9

    skeeter9 Songster

    A couple of breeds you might consider for friendliness are Orpingtons and Australorps. They are both dual purpose breeds and generally have great temperaments.

  7. glib

    glib Songster

    Dec 8, 2007
    Thanks to all. I will get the infrared lamp. I will also check the website for breeds.
  8. lyndatu

    lyndatu Songster

    Nov 13, 2007

    Congratulations on the new chicken fun.

    I think the wattage of the bulb will depend on the size of your brooder.......the smaller the brooder, the lesser wattage. Mine is fairly small so I use a 40 watt bulb. But, if you live in a colder country you can use 65 watts. 100 watt bulb is ok, but if your brooder is small and you used 100 watts the heat might be concentrated and the chicks will be stressed. If the brooder is big, the heat will spread out.

    I don't know much about breeds.........but if a friend is what you want, the Silkies or Asian Ground Parrots are perfect. They are known for their calm personality, friendliness and broodiness, that means they make excellent mothers for any chick. They are furry, have down instead of feathers, have black skin, flesh and bones. Unfortunately they are poor egg layers. They are edible, but they might look unappetizing......

    Good luck!

    Oh and it's better to put the light in one corner, so they can get away from it when it's too hot and get close to it when it's too cold.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2007
  9. skeeter

    skeeter Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    Parma Idaho
    home raised birds might be smaller than store bought but they sure taste a heck of a lot better,maybe with the exception of the cornish cross I just didnt care for the flavor of these birds,a couple of free range roosters on Sunday, cant beat it
  10. Flufnstuffs~FluffySilkies

    Flufnstuffs~FluffySilkies Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    The Wattage of the bulb depends on a few things.
    Will the brooder be in the house or in a shed/garage ???
    How old will the chicks be when ya get them 3 days - 3 weeks ???
    How big is your brooder going to be ???

    I buy the 85 watt out door yellow bug lights to use out side. "floodlight" THEY ALSO COME IN RED AND BLUE.
    For in side the house I use either a 40, 60 or 100 watt yellow bug light. "Regular looking bulb"

    250 watt red bulbs always get to hot for what I need.
    I did find a 125 watt red bulb at tractor supply one year. Bought 2 never saw any again.

    Make a screen out of hard ware cloth fpr the tops of them Cut it bigger so you can fold down 4 sides to go over the fish tank. Start off with the smallest one for the first couple of days because they will not move around much to start with.

    Do not try to use a 250 watt red poultry light it will be way to strong
    we put a thermometer on the bottom of the cage under the light to see how hot it gets
    if its hotter than 96/98 then put in a smaller bulb.

    We use 100 watt - 60 watt or 40 watt yellow bug lights.
    Depending on age of chicks and size of the brooder.

    I made 3 of these. To attach the wire I drilled holes in the lid and used zip strips. $10


    EVEN THOUGH IT DOSN'T LOOK IT -This one with the green lid is twice as big as the one in the Picture above it is a big x-mas tree tote $20


    Its hard to see but I stapled on super thick clear plastic to keep the heat in.
    If I did not have a hen to help care for these chicks I would
    use 2 lights and 2 bulbs that way if one blows they will be OK
    because they would still have one heat source.


    Last edited: Dec 9, 2007

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