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Tragedy and Warning with Heat Bulbs and Chicks!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Ohhhdear, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. Ohhhdear

    Ohhhdear Songster

    Aug 15, 2010
    West Michigan
    My nephew checked on his baby chicks the other night in their pole barn before going to bed. Somehow, the heating lamp got bumped and fell into their box, igniting the bedding, and then catching fire to the nearby bag of bedding shavings, wood, tools, machinery, and feed. The entire barn was engulfed and burned to the ground.
    They were able to rescue the truck and some of the shop tools, but that's it. Fortunately most of the contents and the barn were insured. The chicks didn't survive, and my nephew is understandably very shaken up.

    Moral; Use a metal, non-flammable container for growing chicks, especially indoors. An old stock tank or galvanized tub is great if you can get one. Cardboard and crates are cheap but flammable. Put a wire mesh cover on the container. Secure the heat unit to the cover to keep the heat unit from dropping down into the container and bedding. Clip lamps with heat bulbs are notorious for giving way and falling into bedding.... it's happened to me several times and we're pretty sure that's what happened to my nephew. When chicks are little, lower the heat unit with a wire solidly twisted to the fixture and then to the cover.

    Just a few precautions can save a lot of heartache and expense!

  2. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Songster

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    Holly smokes ... how sad but true warnings. What a sad day for you and your family. sorry about your babies and to much to say [​IMG] [​IMG]
  3. LiLRedCV

    LiLRedCV Songster

    Aug 25, 2010
    Land of the Rain
    When people ask if they should or shouldn't heat or light their coops, I advise not to. Stories such as this is the very reason why....

    I'm so very sorry your nephew lost his flock and his parents/family lost their barn and its contents. Thankful nobody was hurt and it was (mostly) material things lost (not speaking of the chicks as "material") and replaceable. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011
  4. justbugged

    justbugged Head of the Night Crew for WA State

    Jan 27, 2009
    I sorry for the family's losses, and that of the chicks. [​IMG]

    This is a good lesson.

    Sand is a much safer type of bedding in a brooder pen.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011
  5. what's kickin' chicken

    what's kickin' chicken Songster

    Jan 23, 2011
  6. 202roosterlane

    202roosterlane Happy Hen on a Harley

    Feb 24, 2011
    Central Arkansas
    I am going out to my chicken coop right now!!!!!!! I won't be able to sleep. I am soooo sorry for your loss.

  7. Momma on a Mission

    Momma on a Mission In the Brooder

    Sep 15, 2011
    Seymour, IN
    Oh no! The poor little guy. I'm glad everyone is okay physically. Hope he is doing okay mentally. Give him a hug for me. [​IMG]

  8. fiddlebanshee

    fiddlebanshee Songster

    Mar 11, 2010
    Frederick, MD
    This is very tragic indeed. I have the same setup and the way i dealt with that was to suspend the light on two independent chains fastened to two separate parts of the lamp. So if one chain got bumped off, the other one would still hold the lamp. I also overdid it with the chains themselves (are rated to hold 100 lbs) and oversized hooks so that nothing can be easily bumped off anything.

    It's worked great, no calamities. But in these instances you always have to have backups in case one fails. I would say a red heatlamp setup can work in a barn or a shed but you have to employ common sense and some extra security measures.
  9. chicklove93

    chicklove93 In the Brooder

    Oct 17, 2011
    Somehow got bumped? How was the light installed? I never had a problem before. I hang mine securely from the ceiling. The light also has a guard on it to prevent it form touching the shavings or other flamable materials if it somehow fell.
  10. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

    May 13, 2008
    I know the heat lamp set-ups come with those clamps, but I never use them I mount it so it can never come loose or fall. I also make sure I can adjust the length as needed, I use straw as bedding so I have to be carefull how these heat lamps are used. I wrap the silver hood in 1/4" hardware cloth around the light as added security in case a light bulb breaks no glass shards can get through. Using heat lamps is allways a very tricky deal so you have to give it some extra thought. I have recently bought a 5' round natural gas brooder light heater combo with a thermostat, it's very big and is designed to be used to brood very large numbers of chicks, maybe 300 or so and suspended from above, I am giving the mounting of this some serious thought to avoid a catastropy.

    I am glad nobody was hurt, materials can be replaced.

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