In this series, I’m going to break down the five most important parts to setting up a quality brooder for chicks.
In part one, information was given to hopefully help you choose your brooder, now a heat source needs to be chosen. There are some exemplary options out on the market today. Most of the newer technology is working with inferred technology. The new technology has been influential in removing a huge portion of the fire hazards associated with brooders. Let’s walk through the top options available on today’s market. While many of these options may seem costly up front the energy savings alone make them worthwhile. Especially for those who use them multiple times a season year after year.
Standard Heat Bulb and Lamp
For many years these have been the go-to heating choice for chicks. Ranging in price from $7.00 to $10.00, they are the lowest in upfront cost. You will need to buy a 250w heat bulb for around five dollars each. The bulbs don’t seem to last long. So, multiple bulbs may need to be purchased each year. More than one lamp may be needed depending on the size of the brooder. Hot to the touch they can easily burn skin as well as little chicks. Secure the light using the included clamp as well as extra clamps to help prevent fires.
Prima Heat Lamp is safer than traditional metal lamps, more versatile, and durable. The heavy-duty plastic shield keeps animals from damaging the bulb, making them very robust. Best of all no more burns from grabbing the lamp when its on! Although safer than standard lamps, proper precautions still need to be in place to avoid a fire. Keep the lamp a minimum of 20” from the chicks at all times. Also, check that the bulb is tight and secure periodically. The lamp is priced at $37.00, bulb not included.
These radiant heaters are very efficient using a fraction of the electricity of typical lamps. Ecoglows uses 20 to 60 watts depending on the size versus the conventional 200 to 250 watts. Considering the brooder’s heating source is on 24/7, this is an important long-term saving. They are not a fire hazard which makes them safer than other heater options. Ecoglows are a more natural approach for the chicks, the warmth underneath is indicative of the heat chicks would acquire when raised by a hen. It will not overheat the chicks, therefore, the chicks grown under Ecoglows are less susceptible to pasty butt. The legs are adjustable so it can grow as your chicks grow. Ecoglow 20’s regular price is $94.99 on sale now for $79.99. Their 50 model’s price is $189.99 on sale now for $159.99.
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K&H’s Thermo-Chicken Heated Pad is another great heating option. K&H’s high-quality products have been around for many years. Thermostatically controlled to ensure the optimal temperature is maintained. Known for reliability and affordability it places them amongst the best. Thermo-Chicken Heated Pad is extremely energy efficient, they use low wattages of 25 to 40 watts depending on the unit. Lay them flat or hang them to keep chicks warm and cozy. Prices range from $49.99- $79.99 depending on the size chosen.
Sweeter Heater is another infrared heater option, intended to heat the animals underneath not the surrounding environment. Fully sealed, therefore, no burns to the birds and no dust can build up within the unit. The surface temperature measures between 160-180 degrees. Raising or lowering the unit determines the temperature under it. Made right here in the USA with a full three-year warranty. A proud family owned and operated business. These units do not come cheap but the quality and ratings they earn speak volumes. Ranging from $107.00 to $192.00 depending on the size one chooses.
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So, which option is best? It depends, how often you plan to use the heater and your budget. I myself have always used the traditional metal heat lamp and bulb up until this point. However, after doing all the research and speaking with the companies for the last few weeks I’ve decided to take a different route this year. I will definitely being purchasing a prima heat lamp, this safer option will be replacing the old style ones we have. We use the lamps for everything around here brooders, kiddings, and working on equipment. I’m also leaning towards the addition of either the Sweeter Heater (love that they are made in the USA), Ecoglow, or Thermo-Chicken Heated Pad. My deciding factors come down to energy efficiencies, safety, and possibly other uses. If I go with the Sweeter Heater or Thermo-Chicken Heated Pad I can potentially use them during kidding season for the goats as well. My budget restraints seem to be pushing me more towards the Thermo-Chicken Heated Pad. On the other hand, I really like the Ecoglow, so many choices! Which heat source will you pick?
*I have no sponsorships or affiliations with any of the corporations in this article.