non-electric heat in brooder?

Hopeful Peacock

In the Brooder
10 Years
Oct 2, 2009
middle TN
My chicks are coming soon and I am setting up a brooder. (This is my first time!) I live off the electric grid and have solar electricity. Although all our household electric is taken care of, we use flourescent bulbs, etc. An incandescent lamp, left on 24 hours/day, will be a significant drain and I'd prefer to avoid it if at all possible. We have a greenhouse attached to the house and it is often 80-90 degrees in there on sunny days. However, at night and on cloudy or cold days, the chicks will need some extra heat. I am thinking of using hot water bottles in the brooder. Any other ideas?

Has anyone actually done this successfully?

Thank so much!
I have no input but I'm really interested in the replies...


I hope someone can help you out! And nice job on being off-grid -- that's an impressive accomplishment.
We are also off grid and were facing the same problem. I found this interesting web page about kerosene brooders

I found about about the Brinsea radiant brooder, Since it only uses 14 watts, I think out solar electric system can absorb the extra load. No way was I going to be able to run a 100-200 watt light bulb 24/7, but the Brinsea was doable. We have yet to use the thing but I have chicks ordered for mid May and are looking forward to it!

Hope that helps some.
We're working on going off grid ourselves. So far we have a battery bank.

I have no suggestions for nighttime heating other than hot water but i wanted to offer that sand and rocks should offer decent thermal storage if exposed to the greenhouse temps during the day. I also really like it in the brooder so far, easy to clean.

Whatever you decide, best wishes!!
Wow! there are some great ideas here - thank you!

I have to go get ready for work, but I will reply more meaningfully later. Thanks again!
I took hot water in milk jugs out to my chickens in my shed coop awhile back since at the time I had a lone silkie who would roost on the floor alone and I was worried about her (also some in a brooder but it was 12 degrees out- a terrible cold snap for our area).

The hot water bottles worked well, but I would say that if I were really relying on them completely (I had electric lights on too) I would have to bring more out in the middle of the night. They were too cooled down by morning to be of use.

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