starting chicks without electricity?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Millayhill85, May 12, 2009.

  1. Millayhill85

    Millayhill85 Hatching

    May 12, 2009

    I'm hoping someone on here has the knowledge to help me with this.

    I've got 10 layer chicks (6 black sex links, 4 golden comets) arriving later this week.

    The problem is...I CAN"T use an electric heat lamp. This is our first spring (having survived our first winter) in an off grid camp on 85 acres. We have a generator but our solar panels are not in yet...and even if they were, an electric heat lamp is too big a draw. We have wood heat--an old cast iron cook stove. If I put their box by the stove and keep a fire going, will they be okay? I think I can keep them pretty warm there, but I'm not sure it's 95F even by the stove.

    I know people rasied baby chicks for hundreds of years before electric heat lamps, so it MUST be possible!

    Can anyone give me any help, please?

  2. digginchicks

    digginchicks Songster

    Jan 15, 2009
    Sullivan, Indiana
    If its 95 by your stove keep them beside it lol that is plenty warm enough for them. you could probably wing them off the heat pretty easily fi its very warm where your at also
  3. Millayhill85

    Millayhill85 Hatching

    May 12, 2009
    I read on here that it needs to be 95. Can they get by with slightly lower temps than that? If so, I should be fine. Nights are still pretty cool here in Maine, but my house gets good sun and it usually makes it up into the 70's during the day without the stove running.
  4. MaineChickens

    MaineChickens Songster

    Mar 11, 2008
    You should be able to keep them warm enough. Chances are that they will let you know when they are too cold. Cold, hungry, thirsty- and those little peepers get LOUD!

    Heat lamps are just that, heat. Woodstove=heat. However you have to do it, you do the best you can.

    Another thing that is "low tech" is to use hot water. If you have any gallon glass jars that you can put warm water in- water holds heat longer than air. Just make sure they have enough room to get away from the heat if it gets too hot. Panting is too hot too!

    Good luck!

  5. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Quote:In my opinion, 95 is usually too hot. At one week, mine were comfortable at 80, and many moved away from the heat even then. They will tolerate being a little cool much better than too hot. If they pile on top of each other, they are too cold. If they run around and eat and drink, they are fine. If they are healthy but get lethargic, they are too hot. They will sleep cuddled up next to each other even in hot weather; it's a social thing. Only piling up is a danger sign; the ones on the bottom tend to suffocate.

    I'm sure you will do fine without power. Just watch how they behave.

    They will love being by a sunny window part of the day!

    They will grow and feather faster if a little cooler.

    You could put any number of things in with them to provide heat. A bottle filled with hot water is just one example. A cast iron pan with a towel wrapped around it would be another. Anything that will work as a heat sink, i.e., an item that hold heat a while.
  6. Malbri

    Malbri Songster

    Jan 10, 2008
    I have a chick that hatched 2 weeks ago from my broody and she is in my garage with the mom and is generally out and about, so she must not be getting too cold.
  7. Malbri

    Malbri Songster

    Jan 10, 2008
    Where in maine are you?


    CHICKENCHASERWV In the Brooder

    Jan 13, 2009
    Try using a rock. Put the rock in a fire and then after several hours in the fire take the rock out and wrap it in a towl and place it in the brooder. This is how you do it when camping and you get cold will last several hours and you could have several rocks to change out.
  9. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    Depends on the batch. I've had some that were too cold at less than 100F until they were 3 or 4 days old. Most though I've had down near 80 by 3weeks. If there is some way to channel or hold in the heat coming off the wood stove they'd do fine. Just a brooder cover that could back up against the side of the stove would probably do it.

    Before electricity I doubt most people brooded their own chicks. They let the hens do the work and just bought already laying hens when they started a new flock instead of chicks.

  10. #1California Chick

    #1California Chick Songster

    Dec 5, 2008
    SF Bay Area
    [​IMG] Welcome to BYC!!! [​IMG]

    I think that they will be fine in the box by the stove. You might cover the box with a towel or sheet to keep in as much of their body heat as possible. Any of the ideas above for adding extra heat are fine (pan, rocks, etc).

    If they were being raised by a broody, they would have already gone outside in the daytime (although they could run back to Mama when they get cold). I think that most of us coddle our chicks too much -- because we can!!!

    Good Luck!!


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