What Watt Brooder Bulb


10 Years
Feb 26, 2009
New to all this, trying to get set up. I bought the red warming bulb and holder at the feed store, got the red one
but it's 250w
isn't that too hot to have anywhere near the baby chicks?
I see them laying on the top screen or clipped to the door of a dog crate but that looks way too hot to me
did I get too strong a bulb?
I will measure the temp before chicks but wonder what watt bulb I should have


Rhymes with 'henn'
11 Years
Jun 14, 2008
South Puget Sound
I've got a 250w bulb right now. You can always move it back from the chicks. They'll let you know if they're too hot/cold by managing how close/far they are to the heat source. Sometimes mine sit right under it and at others they're more on the periphery.

Remember that too hot for you isn't too hot for them. They need 95 degrees for the first week and -5 degrees each week thereafter.


10 Years
Feb 26, 2009
ok, thanks very much
Eggs should arrive today so I will have something new to obsess over.

~*Sweet Cheeks*~

10 Years
Mar 12, 2009
Medford, Oregon
Based on what I had read on this site, 4 wks ago when I got my day old chicks, I kept the 250 watt red heat lamp at a distance and angled so the spot the lamp hit was 95' for the first week and have raised it to lower the temp by 5' each week.

My brooder is plenty big enough so the chicks that feather out quicker can spread out and the slower and smaller ones will hang out directly under the light longer.

Some folks will recommend you start the chicks out at 80-85' rather than 90-95'. I tried lowering the temp in the beginning but they would all huddle directly under the light telling me they were cold.

If you have a large enough brooder, use two heat lamps in case one goes out.

I had one go out last week and was happy to have the second one in there. I have a stock tank that has a rounded top lip with hardware cloth (wire) bent over the top to cover so no place on the brooder itself to attach the lamps, so I have two metal folding chairs folded standing up right behind the stock tank that I clamp the lamps to. I then wrapped the plug wire around the backs of the chairs so if the clamp gave way the lamps wouldn't fall down onto the hardware cloth.


Hilltop Farm
12 Years
Nov 18, 2007
My Coop
I use a 60 watt incandescent bulb in my brooder lamp. I also have a wireless digital thermometer to check the temp. The thermometer has an alarm on it so if it gets below what ever temp I set it for the alarm will go off. Whatever wattage bulb you use the main thing is to keep the temp close to what it should be. I start mine at 95 degrees the first week and lower it 5 degrees per week. There are pictures on my BYC Page.


Chicken Slave
12 Years
Mar 19, 2007
Brick, NJ
cmom - I just checked out your page. Nice pics of your place! And I have to say - what a great idea using the spanish moss for the nesting material.


Staff PhD
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
13 Years
Jan 25, 2007
Everett WA/Corvallis OR
As long as they are acting warm enough you can use what ever bulb meets that requirement.

When I brood outside in 30-40F weather, I use two 100W bulbs, inside I use one 100 for the first week and since it's attached to a dimmer switch, I just turn it down.

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