Question about brooder heater and light

primatologica

Chirping
Apr 14, 2021
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I just got my baby chicks this morning, hooray! I'm using a brooder heating plate instead of a heat lamp. The brooder is in our downstairs bathroom. Do I turn the lights off in the room at night so they realize it's nighttime, or do I keep the lights on so they can see their food/water (assuming they're like newborn babies who need to eat/drink regularly when they're little).? Everything I'm reading about light at night for day-old chicks assumes I'm using a heat lamp, which obviously has light with it.
Thanks!
 

50-45-1

Free Ranging
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Feb 25, 2008
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I have never used a brooder plate. I am old school heat lamp person.
However if you think about it a broody hen hunkers down with the chicks overnight and the all wait to eat and drink until morning. So maybe darkness would be fine.
On the other hand I find that broody hen chicks are much healthier than shipped chicks and never get pasty butt or failure to thrive.
If I were you and these are day or two old chicks that were shipped, I would install a night light or lamp with just enough dim light so they can eat and drink if needed. I hope you gave them some electrolyte and vitamins in there water, (I do that for the first 3 or 4 days) and chick starter.
Good luck.
 

Ryguy3684

Here comes the Rooster
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May 29, 2020
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I always leave a light on for the first few days, so they get used to their brooder setup. I don't know if it's necessary, but it's worked for all of my hatches. After that, it's lights out. Just don't forget to turn it on at the crack of dawn, so they can come out and eat. Congrats on the new chicks.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
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Jul 23, 2018
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I just got my baby chicks this morning, hooray! I'm using a brooder heating plate instead of a heat lamp. The brooder is in our downstairs bathroom. Do I turn the lights off in the room at night so they realize it's nighttime, or do I keep the lights on so they can see their food/water (assuming they're like newborn babies who need to eat/drink regularly when they're little).? Everything I'm reading about light at night for day-old chicks assumes I'm using a heat lamp, which obviously has light with it.
Thanks!
For shipped chicks, I leave the lights on day and night for 3 days so they can eat whenever they want and recover from the stress.
On the 4th day I turn the lights off several hours before dusk so the chicks can acclimate to the fading light and go under the plate on their own.
They will be healthier if allowed to adjust to a normal circadian rhythm.
I also dig up clumps of sod for them from their run area in their second week. They LOVE digging through it after they get over their initial terror of the alien being you plunked down into their space. It helps build up their natural immunity by exposing them to the microbes they will see in their future environment.
 

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