Hi all! I am a soon to be new mom, and have been reading this forum, and many books about chicken rearing... I am due to receive 25 chicks later this week. Yesterday I set up the brooder, a 4x4x2 wooden box. 3 inches of pine shavings, layer of newspaper for the first few days. A 250 watt IR lamp, cardboard encircling most of the box to eliminate the sharp corners. The lamp is about 14 inches from the floor, and I am getting temperature readings at 95 to 98 directly next to the lamp, but 70 at the other end of the brooder. This seems like a huge temperature difference in such a short distance, so I put a piece of plywood over the cooler end, and will get some temperature readings later in the day. Should I cover the whole thing with hinges wood to help keep the heat in? The brooder is in an enclosed garage. How many hours / days will it take to warm the apparatus to give me accurate readings? I realized after I placed the chick order that as a first time brooder mom this was the bad time of year for it, but we were having a very warm indian summer period, and I have only lived in the Sacramento area for 1 1/2 years. OK, bad decision, but now I need to make sure I keep these little guys alive and happy. They are arriving Wednesday or Thursday. Is there anything else I should do? Thanks so much for any answer or feedback you can give me!