How do you keep chicks warm without a heat lamp?

The week we moved into our house was the last week that Tractor Supply had chicks for sale at their stores. It was mid-April and I really wanted some chickens to start our homestead.  My husband did not.

One day that week I came home with 12 chicks, a heat lamp, and food and water dishes for them.  My husband was working nights at the time at the time and didn’t know that I was bringing them home. 😀

I told him for his birthday I was getting him a chainsaw and that is why I was going there.  He gets home in the middle of the night to see this glowing red box full of little baby chicks.

agriculture animal baby beak

Photo by Achim Bongard on

I was so excited for him to see my master plan.  He gets home he was not happy.  Whoops!

So a couple days go by and our house doesn’t seem to be keeping a charge very well. I hadn’t really thought about how our house can’t really take that much of a drain on the batteries from a heat lamp that pulls 250 watts.

So needless to say I “killed” my house.  Apparently letting the batteries die in a solar house is the worst thing you could do to for the system.  I had to find a more efficient way to keep my chicks warm.

Here is what I came up with.

First, since its Maine and the heat was still on in April, I put them in front of my heater.  I threw a bottle filled with hot water in with them to help them keep themselves warm, for when the heater was off.

When they got to large for the box they were in I could no longer keep them in front of the heater sooo I had to come up with something else.

Next, I actually brought them into my basement which was right around 68 degrees, and I put the warm bottle in with them.  But, after a couple weeks they no longer really used the bottle and used each other for warmth.  So that came out as well.

The cool thing about the chicks not having a heat lamp is they grew their feathers really quickly and they were able to go outside a lot sooner than if they were in the heat lamp.  My chicks went outside once it was no longer getting below freezing at night which was probably the 2nd week in May.

Try it let me know if it helps any.


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