Safe heat source and Brooder set up?

Welsh Ducky

Songster
Sep 6, 2016
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NC Asheville
I ordered 9 baby chicks that should arrive in about a week. I’m going to use a big cardboard box to keep them in(and keep adding on as they get bigger), so I wanted to ask what heat sources you all have used that are safer than the traditional heat lamp? (which I used for my first set of chicks 2yrs ago)
And is it ok to keeps chicks in the garage or would it bad to be kept in there with a car that’d be driving in and out daily?
Any tips you’ve found helpful raising chicks?
Thanks!
 
Last edited:

Henriettamom919

Crowing
May 1, 2019
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Probably not great to have a car coming and going, my big girls who are now 9 months old still hate it when we pull in and out of the driveway and I'm convinced they think the school bus is eating my daughter! :gig

As for heat, you have a few choices. You can make a heat cave:

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/mama-heating-pad-in-the-brooder-picture-heavy-update.956958/

Or you can do a heat emitting pad that only emits heat when they come in contact with it. I think this is better for older chicks going into the coop than newborns, though:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LX9K1JI/?tag=backy-20

I know some use reptile heater bulbs which are different from standard heat lamps. Also, our babies were in a plastic tote and we used a heat lamp (125 watts) with no issues and just kept raising the height until taking it away. There is no chance, short of an electrical or wiring issue, that it ever got hot enough to melt the tub or burn cardboard.

Best of luck with whatever you choose and enjoy those babies!!!:love

ETA- If (well, who am I kidding...WHEN) I get baby chicks again I'll be doing the heat cave. It just seems the easiest, safest choice overall and no issue with the light being on all the time and them having to adjust to darkness when they are ready to go into the coop. That's just me, though. My chicks were brats about the dark those first few days without that constant red glow!
 

Welsh Ducky

Songster
Sep 6, 2016
276
192
141
NC Asheville
Probably not great to have a car coming and going, my big girls who are now 9 months old still hate it when we pull in and out of the driveway and I'm convinced they think the school bus is eating my daughter! :gig

As for heat, you have a few choices. You can make a heat cave:

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/mama-heating-pad-in-the-brooder-picture-heavy-update.956958/

Or you can do a heat emitting pad that only emits heat when they come in contact with it. I think this is better for older chicks going into the coop than newborns, though:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LX9K1JI/?tag=backy-20

I know some use reptile heater bulbs which are different from standard heat lamps. Also, our babies were in a plastic tote and we used a heat lamp (125 watts) with no issues and just kept raising the height until taking it away. There is no chance, short of an electrical or wiring issue, that it ever got hot enough to melt the tub or burn cardboard.

Best of luck with whatever you choose and enjoy those babies!!!:love

ETA- If (well, who am I kidding...WHEN) I get baby chicks again I'll be doing the heat cave. It just seems the easiest, safest choice overall and no issue with the light being on all the time and them having to adjust to darkness when they are ready to go into the coop. That's just me, though. My chicks were brats about the dark those first few days without that constant red glow!
Thanks for the reccemondations. I like the idea of a heat cave, buy I was hoping to buy something and not have to buy all the supplies and make something...
I did more research and found something called a heat plate. Do you have any experience with these? The seem to be like the heat cave, because there’s no light and they go under to be warm..?
 

Welsh Ducky

Songster
Sep 6, 2016
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192
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NC Asheville
Instead of putting the chicks in the garage, could I put them on my upstairs porch perhaps? Would a heat plate work for that? Temps are 80’s day and 60’s at night. And one night was 59. And do as they grow do you change the temperature slowly or keep it the same?
 

Blooie

Team Spina Bifida
Premium member
5 Years
Feb 25, 2014
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I would respectfully question that chicks were lost just due to them moving away from the heat. Chicks need a place to escape constant heat - watch a broody hen with hers. Even during a winter hatch, she doesn’t warm the entire space they are in, she just warms them directly when they go under her. The rest of the time, even at just a couple of days old, they are out exploring, playing, eating whatever she finds, and drinking out of mud puddles! They regulate their own needs. So I think that the chicks lost had another issue going on.

I raise my chicks, using Mama Heating Pad, outdoors in a wire pen within the run, even when our springtime temps here in Northwestern Wyoming are in the 20s, dropping into the teens, with sideways blowing snow. Every batch, every time, every year. And I’m far from the only one who has figured out the benefits of doing it this way. It duplicates a mother hen closer than any other method. Chicks can be fully integrated with the flock by 4 weeks and off all heat. It’s simply a heating pad without auto shutoff, a frame of some type, (I use a bit of scrap fencing, others use cookie cooling racks or similar) and you either drape the pad over the frame or use bungee cords to secure the pad on the underside of the frame. Most people find it runs them less than $30.00 total. And commercial heat plates are also great, although I like the cave system better as it’s closer to a Mama hen.
 

rosemarythyme

Free Ranging
Jul 3, 2016
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Instead of putting the chicks in the garage, could I put them on my upstairs porch perhaps? Would a heat plate work for that? Temps are 80’s day and 60’s at night. And one night was 59. And do as they grow do you change the temperature slowly or keep it the same?
They should be fine in those temps as long as there's not a breeze blowing through (the walls of the box should be good enough against that).

I don't know if all heat plates have temperature settings (if you get one that does, I'd probably dial it down each week until they're off heat completely). Main thing you'd need to do is raise the plate as the chicks grow. They need to be able to comfortably touch their backs to the plate, so adjust the height as they grow to allow for that.
 

Welsh Ducky

Songster
Sep 6, 2016
276
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NC Asheville
They should be fine in those temps as long as there's not a breeze blowing through (the walls of the box should be good enough against that).

I don't know if all heat plates have temperature settings (if you get one that does, I'd probably dial it down each week until they're off heat completely). Main thing you'd need to do is raise the plate as the chicks grow. They need to be able to comfortably touch their backs to the plate, so adjust the height as they grow to allow for that.
Ok thanks! Just curious, would exhaust from the car hurt them or would the just not like the car driving in and out?
 

rosemarythyme

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Jul 3, 2016
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They would get used to the car coming and going but I would be concerned about the exhaust, so if the porch is really an option I would consider using that instead.
 

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