An Updated Review by an Actual User of Radiant Heat
Raising baby chicks in winter… we’re all set in our ways. Especially me, but right now I’m practicing what I preach about not keeping chicks in the house and using the Brinsea EcoGlow brooder in an outside shelter. Radiant heat certainly has its qualities, just not in every situation. Here’s why…
There are many valid reasons for using radiant heat instead of a heat lamp, and for the most part, I agree with them all.
It’s pounded into our head to avoid heat lamps being they’re a fire hazard, no argument there. It’s also true that pasting up (poopy bums) is less likely to occur when using the Brinsea brooder. Another good point is radiant heat is more like being under the mother hen. But, the Brinsea does have limitations to its effectiveness.
The Downside, (but not a deal breaker)
Using radiant heat is compromised in temperatures below 50 degrees. In other words, it doesn’t offer sufficient heat for chicks when they need it most. So considering the fact we shouldn’t keep chicks in the family living space, and heat lamps are a fire hazard that should be avoided… what to do? Every article on keeping baby chicks specifies the importance of keeping their environment at 95 the first week, then dropping the temp by 5 degrees each week until they are fully feathered.
I realize there is constant controversy over the proper way to raise baby chicks. Our family has been raising chicks for three generations. My grandmother kept her chicks in the basement near the furnace, and my mother in the kitchen behind the wood stove. I’ve kept them in a box in a spare bedroom with a heat lamp, then in the laundry room, and later in the garage. But today these practices are criticized. I’ve tried to comply with what today’s health officials consider safe chick-rearing, and here’s my conclusion and solution.
I’m currently using the Brinsea Ecoglow20 brooder for my 6-day-old chicks in an outside draft free 8×10 insulated shed. The outdoor temperature is 43 degrees. Taking into consideration that the Brinsea brooder only provides enough warmth for chicks in temps above 50 degrees, I see only one solution… a heat lamp. Securely hung above the brooder box at a height to keep the interior heat at 60. Ok… truthfully more like 70.
Do I like the Brinsea EcoGlow? Definitely, wouldn’t be without one. However, I don’t feel it’s the perfect solution with all the capabilities of kicking good ol’ fashion chick rearing practices to the curb.