Problem regulating heat...

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by poniesforever, May 23, 2012.

  1. poniesforever

    poniesforever In the Brooder

    Apr 21, 2012
    First, remember I am quite new to chickens. Last Friday I got 6 chicks, who were 3 days old. Today Wednesday, I got 15 chicks I ordered through the mail. I put them all in together because there is only 5 days difference in their ages.

    From day one, I have been having a problem with keeping the heat correct for the chicks. I have them in a spare room, and truly after much thought, it is the only place in the house for them. But, its on the west side of the house, and as the afternoon comes... that room turns very hot. At one point I checked, and it was up to 110 with the heat lamp on. So I shut it off. The problem is, without it on, I keep checking the temps (two thermometers, one at each end of the box) and it can drop to 80. So I have to keep turning light back on to warm it up. I just seem to be doing this all afternoon, into the evening... turn it on, shut it off. I have had some people tell me they "didn't use heat lamps in their day"... will it be okay to just leave the light off for the afternoons??

    My problem is, I have two family members in the hospital, and I am not going to be able to stay here all afternoon even everyday, keep turning the light on and off to regulate heat for the chicks. I don't have anyone who can "chick sit" for me. The 6 older ones were doing ok with light off for a few hours in after noon. I don't know if the younger ones will be able to handle this... any ideas?

    Thanks for you adivce!
  2. jeapa

    jeapa Chirping

    Jan 4, 2012
    What is the wattage of the bulb you are using? Also how big is the brooder? You only want one side of the brooder to be warmed by the bulb and the rest should be much cooler so the chicks can move away from the heat. I would use a lower wattage bulb and make sure the chicks can move away from the heat.
  3. RonC

    RonC Songster

    Feb 28, 2012
    Like Jeapa said, try to keep one area as close to 95 degrees for the first week. The rest of the area can be much cooler. They will find what is comfortable to them. They will move away from the light at times and move back if they get cold. After 2 weeks they will be fine at 80 degrees.
  4. bj taylor

    bj taylor Songster

    Oct 28, 2011
    North Central Texas
    i think they will do better w/cooler temps rather than overheating as long as there are no drafts. give them some depth of bedding. they will cuddle together.
    i too think a smaller wattage bulb directed to one corner is an option. that way they can escape the heat if they need to or cuddle into it if they're cold.
    hope your family members do ok.
  5. poniesforever

    poniesforever In the Brooder

    Apr 21, 2012
    I believe the heat lamp bulb is 250... its encased in the "Premier One Heat Lamp", I would have to take it apart to know for sure. Believe me, those lamps don't open easily!

    So please tell me what wattage bulb should I have in it? When its in the 80's outside, that room turns into an easy bake oven! On rainy days, its not so bad.

    They made it through the night, I had raise the heat lamp high as it would go, and it was 98 in one corner and 92 in the far corner when I went to bed lastnight. I checked on them at 12:30 in the night, the it was 95 under the light, 90 in far corner. This morning they were lively as ever, and all seemed to be doing fine, with it being only 82-84 under the light. and 80 in far corner. I had no idea it was going to be so hard to regulate the temp! The brooder is 33" X 19". The biggest problem is that whole room heats up in the afternoon. It throws everything out of wack. I did block the window, trying to keep the sunlight out, so it doesn't seem to go over 100 anymore, unless I have the heatlight to close to them.

    I think I will try leaving the light as high as it'll go, as I did lastnight. and when I have to leave for a few hours in the afternoons, I will shut the light off. It helps knowing they did okay through the night lastnight, and it cooled into the 80's. They do huddle up at times. I guess I'm just worrying to much, or being over protective!

    Thanks for the good wishes for my family members. An uncle having heart problems, and a nephew who'd been in a bad accident. Just a hard time for the chicks to arrive. I wouldn't have been able to predict this tho... when I ordered them, things were fine here. You just never know.

    Thanks for the advice. I will look for a lower wattage bulb, and try to stop worrying so much!
  6. GVChickenMan

    GVChickenMan Chirping

    Apr 19, 2012
    Could I just say (and speaking as a novice on my first hatch/brood so prepared to be shot down) that I bought a heat lamp but after some thought I went and got a Brinsea Ecoglow. I am so glad I did. I know they won't suit everyone, especially those raising large numbers or in outbuildings where the temp may fall drastically at night, but (as I see it):

    They use less electricity
    They have a reduced fire risk
    They only heat themselves (and that very gently) so they work like a hen, the chicks go under when they feel like and otherwise are not overheated.

    So far my small brood seem very happy.
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I am sorry for your relative's problems.

    I don't know what your options are, but can you move them outside of the house? I keep my brooder in the coop from Day 1. It sounds like you don't have any adult chickens, so if your coop is ready and you have electricity out there, maybe you could move them out there. All you need is for it to be predator proof, keep drafts off them, and be able to provide heat in one small area.

    With that many chicks, you probably have a fairly large coop, so maybe block off an area to keep then in or use something as a brooder to keep them contained for a week or so. You might be surprized at how much time they spend well away from the heat. just coming back when they need to warm up. With a brooder that size and that many chicks, you will eventually need a larger brooder anyway. They really grow fast.

    As you have noticed, those recommended temperatures are not absolutely required. We all keep chicks and chickens in different circunmstances. Those guidelines are to cover everybody in all situations. Even if you do a few things "wrong" those guidelines wil probably keep you out of trouble. With decent draft protection, enough to keep each other warm, bedding to snuggle in and other stuff, they can do OK at lower temperatures. I really like keeping one area warm and providing enough ventilation up high so the rest can really cool down. That way they can find their own comfort zone.

    Good luck and best wishes.
  8. cva34

    cva34 Songster

    Aug 10, 2011
    Van Vleck ,TX
    Sure been happy with my Brinsea (i have both sizes) Got 100 quail under the EcoGlo 50 right now almost a week old...Yes it can't handle really cold temps.If and when it does (not often around here) I just put a bulb of size required to get temp I want along with the eco glow...,,,cva34
  9. I would think with those kinds of temperatures, a normal 100 watt bulb in a heavy duty drop light hung about a foot and a half above one end of the box should provide enough heat close to it without overheating the whole area. I don't know your set up, but simple may be the answer.

    I'm new at this and don't know a lot, but I raised 26 in three groups this spring in wildly flucuating temps with no problems. I think chicks are hardier and more adaptable than many people think.

    I always tried to ere on the side of slightly cool, especially after the first 1 or 2 weeks.

    I hope your family members are doing better. Honestly, they are the most important right now.
  10. RonC

    RonC Songster

    Feb 28, 2012
    Another thought, I used a small heating pad the first few days. Makes one warm spot they could get on and would provide no heat to the rest of their area. I used the medium heat, wrapped it an old towel and had a small box with another towel in it to make a "nest" for my 6 little ones. The chicks loved it. Here's a pic to give you an idea. And best wishes for the human side of your family.

    Last edited: May 24, 2012

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