How Long Do Chicks Need A Heat Lamp?
In poultry farms or backyard poultry houses, heat lamps are essential fixtures.
Newly-hatched chicks cannot regulate their body heat. Hence, a heat source is critical for their survival.
How long do chicks need a heat lamp? Learn this and more as you scroll on.
This kind of lamp is used more for its heating function than its lighting component. Heat lamps are useful for keeping pets and animals warm and healthy. They are inexpensive and available.
Unlike most incandescent lamps that run at 100 watts or lower, heat lamps are at 250 watts and even more. They come in a ceramic base, not plastic, to avoid melting from too much heat.
To know if the heat lamp fits your needed output, looking at its efficiency, as indicated in the retail package.
A 250-watt heat lamp with 10% lighting efficiency produces 25 watts of light and 225 watts of heat.
However, the actual temperature produced by your heat lamp is also relative to the temperature of the area where you will use it. Also, the actual heat output may be slightly higher if heat and light are concentrated in a single area rather than being emitted in all directions.
Although heat lamps are proven useful, there are also some drawbacks. First, a heat lamp is a fire hazard. With its heat, it can also burn pets especially if it is not installed at a safe distance.
To make sure that it is safe and suitable for your desired condition, make all necessary adjustments when installing it. Also, always check with a thermometer as heat can affect animal behavior.
Using Heat Lamps In Poultry Raising
Let’s discuss the main point of this article: how long do chicks need a heat lamp?
Newly-hatched chicks will need supplemental heat to keep their brooder box warm for about four to six weeks. Remember, chicks need to stay warm 24/7.
However, the length of time and when to use a heat lamp for chickens also depend on outside temperatures.
If you are raising chicks in winter or cold weather, they will need a heat source for at least six weeks.
Baby chicks need higher temperatures in their earliest stage. You can start between 95o to 100o. This should be the temperature at the bottom of the brooding area.
Then, you can reduce the temperature by 5o each passing week until they grow feathers. Remove the heat lamp when the temperature inside the brood box matches outside temperature.
Alternative Heat Sources
Are there other ways how to keep baby chicks warm without a heat lamp? Yes.
Some farmers do not use a heat lamp for their chicks for safety purposes. Also, they believe that heat lamps tend to keep brooder boxes very warm for the baby animals.
Before putting alternative heat sources, make sure that you build a well-insulated, off-the-ground nest for the chicks. You can use straw bedding, paper, and feathers. Ideally, chicks will huddle together to keep themselves warm.
Hot water bottles are a good alternative to keep chicks from the cold. Put these bottles in the brooding area so chicks can snuggle against them to keep warm.
Also, you can place milk gallons filled with hot tap water inside the brooding area. Drape the gallons with polar fleece flaps where chicks can hide away from the cold—just like mama hen’s wings.
These alternative heat sources are also economical as they do not require electricity.
How long do chicks need a heat lamp, or do they really need one at all? The answer is up to you. The most important thing is to keep your chicks warm until they have adapted and ready to join the flock.