HELP!! Brooder too cold : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

We are having some rather unseasonably cold weather here in Minnesota. (highs in the 40's - lows in the 30's) Our 25 chicks are due to arrive Thursday. Yesterday we turned on the 250 watt heat lamp in the coop - an 8X8 garden shed type structure. By 8 PM it hadn't gotten above 75 degrees right under the light! Anyone have experience in trying to heat a brooder in cold weather? Or do we just have to give in and bring them in the house for a while?

-- J Flynn (, April 29, 2002


We've been getting freezes here, too. Chicks came just as the weather got cold again! (of course) I'm using infra red 250 watt bulbs hung 10" above the floor. They are comfortable (not crowding) but they are feathering out faster than the batch we raised last fall in the house. Infra red bulbs heat the birds, not the air, so air temp is irrelevant (as long as one poor chick doesn't make it into the heat zone).

-- sue (, April 29, 2002.

Hi J, I've been there. You might try to lower the ceiling some even if it's with a sheet or blanket. Suspend it as close as you think you can safely and not touch the light. Just a little protection would help a lot. Personnally we almost always start them out in the house. We can watch them closer and see to their needs a lot sooner if something happens. We usually keep them in for two weeks befor the feather dust starts then put them under the brooder. That lowers the brooder temperture by 15-20 degrees. And anyway have you ever observed the mother hen with her chicks. This fall we had a hen hatch chicks in Sept. and it got quite cold she doesn't set on them the entire time they scratch around amd only warms them when chiller but not all the time. Enjoy you chicks. Linda

-- Linda (, April 29, 2002.

I would bring them into the house for a while. All our birds are given about week in the house to get started - simply because it is easier to keep an eye on them for eating and drinking and other problems.

The plastic storage totes work great. Just use one of those clip lights on the corner and use an appropriate bulb (usually 75 or 100 watt to start off). We use shavings in the tote and put down a paper towel and sprinkle food on that so they can find it easier.

If you really don't want them in the house the tote outside with the cover set over part of it to hold heat in will work or a leaky water tank also makes a great brooder - just put a scrap piece of sheet metal or plywood over part of it to hold the heat in.

Hope this helps some. Did you get some of that snow this weekend?

-- Trisha-MN (, April 29, 2002.

J, Our friends up "North" where it is seriously cold insulate their poultry house with hay or straw bales stacked all around it, ceiling high. and lay straw and hay on the roof and cover with tarps. don't know if this would work for you? It keeps the poultry house very nice with the heat lamp, and if they get a really "deep freeze", they just add another lamp, keeps the babies nice and toasty. Hope this helps, I know it is a worry. Good luck with them, LQ

-- Little Quacker (, April 29, 2002.

I use an old stock tank, (not a huge round one, but a smaller oblong one)it works great. If it gets really cold, I can cover the top with a piece of plywood to keep the heat in better.

-- Patty (, April 29, 2002.

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