Savvy Tips Guru

The Essential Guide to Heat Lamps for Baby Chicks: How Long Do They Need Them?

when to remove heat lamp from chicks

Lately, more and more people are getting into poultry farming. What starts as a hobby for some can easily grow into a full-scale business, especially if you have the space and resources. Poultry farming involves taking care of birds like chickens, ducks, turkeys, and geese. These birds are not just easy to look after but they also give you fresh eggs, and they don’t cost much to maintain.

One great thing about having birds is that you can increase your number of birds by hatching their eggs. This is a smart way to grow your business without spending a lot. Next, we’ll talk about how to raise little chicks right from the moment they hatch, focusing on the importance of keeping them warm with a heat lamp.

How to Hatch and Care for Chicks

Hatching chicks is a fun and rewarding experience, but it does require some careful planning and attention to detail. Here’s how you can start this exciting adventure and keep your baby chicks healthy and safe.

First off, if you’re hatching chicks, you’ll either need an incubator or a broody hen ready to sit on the eggs. Using an incubator means you have to manually adjust temperature and humidity, and remember to turn the eggs several times a day. It’s all about creating the perfect, cozy environment for those eggs to develop into chicks.

After the chicks hatch, they’ll need quite a bit of care. One of the most important things to remember is that baby chicks can’t keep themselves warm. Normally, a mother hen would do this job by keeping her chicks close under her wings. Without a mother hen, we need to step in and help keep these tiny birds warm, which is where a heat lamp comes in handy.

The Role of a Heat Lamp

A heat lamp provides the warmth that a mother hen would normally give. This warmth is super important for the chicks’ survival during their first few weeks. Without it, they can get too cold, which can lead to sickness or worse.

Here’s what to keep in mind when setting up a heat lamp:

  • Placement: Hang the lamp high enough to warm up the whole brooding area, but not so low that it could overheat or burn the chicks.
  • Temperature: Keep the area under the lamp at about 95°F during the first week. Then, lower the temperature by 5°F each week as the chicks grow bigger and start to regulate their body temperature more effectively.
  • Watch the chicks: Look at how the chicks behave. If they’re crowding under the lamp, they might be cold. If they’re avoiding it, they could be too hot. Adjust the lamp’s height as needed.
  • Safety: Ensure the lamp is securely attached to prevent any risks, like fires.

Raising chicks from eggs to healthy chickens is rewarding, but it does take some work, especially when it comes to ensuring they stay warm and well.

How to Set Up Your Heat Lamp Area: Step-by-Step

Pick the Right Heat Lamp: First, you need a good heat lamp. Some come with a way to adjust the height, which is super helpful for controlling the warmth.

  1. Make It Secure: Safety first! Make sure your lamp is attached securely so it won’t fall over or drop.
  2. Find the Right Spot: Start with the lamp about 18 inches above the brooder floor. You might need to adjust this to get the temperature just right.
  3. Check the Temperature: Use a thermometer to check the temperature on the floor under the lamp. Aim for about 95°F to start with, then go cooler by 5°F each week until chicks are comfy at room temperature or they have all their feathers.
  4. Watch Your Chicks: The best way to know if the warmth is right is by watching your chicks. If they’re all bunched up under the lamp, they’re probably cold. If they’re avoiding the lamp or look like they’re too hot, then it might be too warm. They should be moving around happily if the temperature is just right.
  5. Give Them Space: Make sure there’s enough room under the lamp for all the chicks but also space for them to move away if they get too warm. This helps them control their own body temperature.
  6. Adjust as They Grow: Your chicks won’t need as much heat as they get bigger. Raise the lamp a bit every week to lower the temperature gradually.

How long should chicks stay under a heat lamp?

One common question from those who are new to raising chicks is, “How long do my chicks need the heat lamp?” It’s important to get the timing right to make sure your chicks grow up healthy. Here’s a direct answer and a simple guide to help you know when and how to adjust the heat.

Chicks typically need the warmth of a heat lamp until they’re about 5 to 6 weeks old, which is when they usually have all their feathers. This can vary a bit depending on what type of chicken they are and the temperature of their environment. The main goal is to gradually make it cooler each week until the chicks don’t need extra warmth anymore.

Simple Heat Schedule for Chicks:

  • First Week: Keep it at 95°F under the lamp.
  • Second Week: Turn it down to 90°F.
  • Third Week: Now, go to 85°F.
  • Fourth Week: Lower it to 80°F.
  • Fifth Week: Drop it to 75°F.
  • Sixth Week: If they have all their feathers and it’s warm enough where they are, you can start to take away the heat lamp.

When should I stop using the heat lamp?

You can take away the heat lamp when your chicks have grown all their feathers and seem comfortable at the brooder’s normal temperature, which should be around 70–75°F by the fifth or sixth week. Watch how they act to help decide if they’re ready. If they’re moving around easily, eating well, and not huddled together, these are good signs that they might not need the lamp anymore.

Always think about the weather and where your chicks are staying. If it’s colder, they might need the lamp a little longer. The best approach is to keep an eye on your chicks and make changes based on what they seem to need for comfort and health.

Getting the hang of using a heat lamp for your baby chicks is important. It’s not just about keeping them warm; it’s about giving them what they need to grow strong and healthy from the start. Think of the heat lamp as the warmth they’d get from snuggling under their mom.

Knowing how to adjust the lamp’s heat and figuring out the right time to stop using it are key parts of taking care of young chicks. Doing this right helps your chicks grow up into happy, healthy chickens. Remember, the effort and care you put in early on make a big difference in their lives.


  • Diane Silva

    Diane is a travel enthusiast, content creator, and master storyteller, capturing her adventures through captivating blogs and engaging vlogs. With a passion for the great outdoors and a love for literature, she brings a unique perspective to the travel world. Whether she's exploring hidden gems or discussing the latest trends, Diane is your go-to source for all things travel and beyond.