What wattage bulb to get

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by kirghizstan, Feb 22, 2015.

  1. kirghizstan

    kirghizstan In the Brooder

    Sep 19, 2014
    Mass, USA
    I've seen recommendations for bulbs that range from 60 watts to 250 watt heat lamps. I'm getting 6 chicks and using a 110 qt plastic tub. I was thinking depending on the bulb I could use a flexible neck desk lamp I already have.

    So what bulb do you think will do the job? Or should I just buy a few different bulbs (only have led and cfl bulbs in the house) and see what works (i'm just lazy and didn't want to go through the hassle)

    Thanks for the help
  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    First, a plastic tub is not an ideal brooder as it limits ventilaation and holds heat, and is often too small very quickly. By 4 weeks they will need at least 2 sq ft of free floor space -- as an estimate.

    Really, the only way to tell is try different bulbs and see what temp you get. Every setup is different. In a plastic tub in an indoor brooder, I would try a an ordinary 75W or 100W bulb first. Those 250W red bulbs are often too hot, especially indoors.
  3. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Judy's right on all counts. Rethink the plastic tub as a brooder. You can get nice, cardboard boxes new from Lowes or used from an appliance store, and they make way better brooders because they're more versatile. As the chicks grow, you can even "add on", taping another box to the first one and cutting a pass-through into the common wall.

    Let me offer a bit of advice here. If possible, and you decide to chuck the plastic tub and go with a cardboard box, find a nice table to place it on and cut a side access into it so you can handle the chicks from the side. They will be far more likely to be tame and trusting than chicks raised in a top-access brooder. If it's pets you're shooting for, a lot of us adore our lap hens, a side access brooder is the best way to achieve that objective, because chicks have an instinctive fear of being approached from above. Think hawks and owls.
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  4. kmartinez

    kmartinez Chirping

    Jan 9, 2015
    those red 250 watt bulbs heat a room, no joke. My spare room was hot the whole room was easy to keep at 80 degrees... I couldnt ween my babies under 80 degrees unless i took the bulb which i had to this week. They 5 weeks old at the end of this week hopefully their run is completly done and they can go out. I also wouldnt spend the money on a big plastic tub they will outgrow it very quickly.

    cardboard box or coroplast I favor coroplast because it cleans up good however it costs about 8 bux a sheet at lowes
  5. dheltzel

    dheltzel Crowing

    Nov 30, 2013
    Pottstown, PA
    I always use plastic storage containers for the first week or 2. You want to avoid drafts. A 60 watt bulb is more than enough for 6 chicks. Use a hanging reflector that you can adjust the height on easily, and set it very low at first (maybe 4 inches from the floor of the brooder to the bottom of the bulb). After 2 or 3 weeks, you can move them to a more ventilated enclosure.

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