How to Safely Heat Your Chick Brooder

Chicks under a heat lamp with a 250 watt red heat bulb
Chicks under a heat lamp with a red 250 watt bulb.

Knowing how to safely heat your chick brooder is extremely important. Every year there is another news story about a barn or home burning down. Often it is due to a heat lamp falling or being set up improperly. It could be a life or death situation for your chicks, livestock, and even for your family. So let’s look at how to properly use a heat lamp and what other alternatives you may use to keep the chicks in your brooder warm.

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8 comments on “How to Safely Heat Your Chick Brooder

  1. Lorrie

    Hi thanks this is so useful. We live in a subtropical climate and are keeping chicks indoors. The temperature doesn’t go below 16 degrees at night outdoors and is a bit warmer indoors. I’m reluctant to use a heat lamp due to fire risk.
    I considered your idea of a seedling mat but it will be a bit too big for our brooder as I can’t find any small ones. We are raising a handful of chicks to be our chickens and don’t plan to have any more after that so we don’t want to spend a fortune.. Do you have any suggestions please?

    1. Lisa Lombardo Post author

      Hi Lorrie,
      I’m glad that this has been helpful! I used to have a Brinsea EcoGlow Brooder and it worked really well for 2 or 3 years. They are a little pricey. If you are keeping them in the house, you can use an incandescent light bulb but make sure it is set up safely and they can get in and out of the warm spot.

      I have seen several sizes of the seedling heat mats so you might be able to find a smaller one on Amazon. You should allow a fairly good sized brooder box to allow the chicks room to get in and out of the heat. So I wonder if the brooder is big enough?

      I usually use a large plastic storage tote that is about 14″ wide and about 28″ long and that has plenty of room for a dozen chicks or so until they are ready to go out in the insulated brooder room in my barn.

      I hope this has been helpful! Best wishes with your little chickies!

        1. Lisa Lombardo Post author

          Perfect! I have an ad for a 2 pack of seedling mats…they are 9.5 x 20″…you don’t have to order these…but that size works well in my brooder box. Be sure to put a towel over the heat mat if you use one because some of them can get a bit too warm for chicks if they sit right on the mat. You can also raise the heat mat so they can go underneath…check out my post about my redneck brooder box for photos of how I do that.

          PS: Lorraine…I am in the process of moving my articles to my other website…The Self Sufficient HomeAcre. So this article will be moving soon. I hope you’ll visit me there! Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. WT Abernathy

    Just came back from the feed store, and chicks are in:) We certainly don’t need any more ladies, but there’s broilers and Orphingtons that are tempting- Maybe we’ll do a small broiler flock to start the season in our second chicken run. A conversation with Wendie is in order-
    Cheers for a great share!

    1. Lisa Lombardo Post author

      Hi WT,
      I really like raising my own meat chickens…definitely a worthwhile project. Let me know if you decide to start some 🙂
      Thanks so much for stopping by!


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