Chicks already have a natural process of keeping themselves warm and they usually do it with the help of their feathers. Their feathers trap heat in them when it is cold outside. But in warm weather they widespread their feathers to release heat from their bodies.
It is suggested that they stay around 95˚F. No matter what is the weather outside, the temperature around the chicks should be maintained around a specific given temperature.
Keeping chicks during the summer months can be easier than in winter because your house may be too hot. If the home temperature is around 75 degrees, you will not need a heat lamp for the last four weeks.
If the temperature in barns or garages is up to 60 degrees, the chicks need extra heat until they are fully feathered when they are six weeks old. Touch the chicken temperature table when you decide if your chicks still need a heat lamp.
Source of Heat
But how do you increase the temperature near chicks if it’s already cold outside? Well, you do it with the help of heat lamps. But you have to be careful with it, it is important that you keep it pivoted and it is not shining on the entire place where you have kept your chicks.
They still need a place where light does not shine as this helps them to cool down when it gets too warm in there.
When it is Required
Heat lamps are usually required when chicks are 8-10 weeks. During these weeks, most chicks grow their feathers which help them protect from cold temperatures. But sometimes, growing new feathers depends upon the breed as well. For example, meat chickens develop layers and grow feathers faster than laying chickens.
A heat lamp is preferred as a safe heat source, but still overuse or wrong use of it can result in dangerous and harmful consequences. Many people stop using heat lamps as the chick enters 8 weeks which is fine if the feathers are grown. It is just fine to let them go outside. But if the temperature goes falls down during the night and it gets super cold, it’s better to use a heat lamp.
How to be Safe
Apart from all the benefits heat lamp has of keeping the chick warm, it can still prove to be dangerous. You may have heard about different situations where a fire started due to heat lamps. It cannot be said that fires can be 100% avoided, but if heat lamps are secured properly the risk of fires reduces.
Usually, a heat lamp comes with clamps but these are not strong enough to hold the bulb properly. Clamps are not the secure way and you don’t know when the bulb detaches from the clamp and falls over chick bedding or pine chips, resulting in a fire. So, most people tie bulbs with a strong rope to make them more secure
Where to Get Them
Heat lamps can be purchased at feed or pet stores. Many experts recommend red bulbs because they are not as bright as clear ones, allowing puppies to have a natural day/night cycle. Red bulbs also encourage chickens to gather. Reptile bulbs are not hot enough; 250w varieties are highly recommended.
Always use lighting fixtures specifically designed for heat bulbs, as heat and wattage can damage an artist’s desk or lights. Secure the lamp properly; if it falls on the brooder, the results get worse. Also, place bulbs at least two meters from inflammable materials.