Temperature Tactics


10 Years
Jun 8, 2009
Sodus, Michigan
Ok, so after calling the Red & White about something else and them informing me that my chicks will be arriving bright and early tomorrow morning
I ran down to their brooder to test out the new heating lamp

Hanging two and a half feet above the 2'x3' "nest", the temps read 90 in the far corners and 110 directly under the lamp. I was shocked. My old lamp barely heated the floor to 95 when it was only a couple inches above the ground.

So I raised the lamp a bit, succeeding in bringing down the temp to 100 directly under, but the corners dropped as well... to 85. I finally decided to try angling the lamp so the light shines across the bottom. Several adjustments later and the corner directly under the lamp reads 97 and the corner where the lamp is shining reads 99. Better, but still not perfect.

Any suggestions? How high and/or at what angle do your lamps shine? Or do you use other methods of heating?
I let them have different temperature areas so that they can choose how hot or cold they need to be. I've had bad luck keeping it all the exact same temperature because different chicks need different things, just like us. I wouldn't let any one area in your brooder go over 90 degrees, but it's up to you. The recommended temps given are the maximum temperatures. I'd say watch your chicks and go on what they tell you.
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"So I raised the lamp a bit, succeeding in bringing down the temp to 100 directly under, but the corners dropped as well... to 85. "

I wouldn't angle the lamp I'd leave the lamp just as you described above. The chicks would be able to cool in the corners and warm up around the edge of the lamp. But watch them. After 2 or 3 days I'd raise the lamp a few inches more. It's summer and you don't want it too hot in there. I kept my chicks at 90 maximum and they were happy.

Did you get a red one? I like them better. Good luck tomorrow!
Maybe I'll keep the angle but raise the lamp a tiny bit more. I'm pretty sure that the chicks will be three days old when I get them so they can handle the lower temps anyway.
OH, forgot to mention that at the angle, the farther up it is raised the more of a gradient there seems to be. So keeping it at the angle but raising it a bit would put it at 90-97 or 85-95. That corner where the light is shining directly just seems to stay hot.
I would set the heat lamp as close to the middle of your brooder as you can get it - and then adjust it so the temp is between 90 - 95 degrees (I prefer 95) right below it. Don't worry about the areas outside of where the heatlamp is focused. The babies will get directly under it if it's too cold, or scatter completely away from it if too warm. They can't regulate their body temperatures, so they will do it by moving toward the heat source when too cold, and away when too warm. Watch them and you'll know whether to raise or lower. Just be sure to provide them areas to escape the heat if they want to - that's why I like to put it as close to the middle as possible. If they are all clumped in the middle below it, it is too cold - so just lower it a tad.
The 85 and 100 was almost too much. I'd have left it in that position and raised it a few inches. I would not angle it since that offered essentially no variation. It's easy to cook them; brooders aren't really big enough for them to get away. If you leave it angled with the temp the same everywhere, they have nowhere to go if they are too hot.

Actual air temps are often higher than what is registered on the floor of the brooder, when using those heat lamps.
hmm... here I thought gradient was bad. Another Q: if I get all the temps straightened out tonight, will adding the chicks mess it up (body heat)?
You're going to have to let the chicks tell you - just watch them. If they huddle underneath the lamp, you need to lower it just a tad at a time until they are around the heat, but not directly below it. If they scatter to the edges of the brooder, raise it a tad - and keep adjusting until they are scattered about and not right under it, but not at the far edges of the brooder either.

It's hard to explain, but really not difficult. Just watch the chicks. They will tell you!

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