5 Ways To Keep Chicks Warm Without A Heat Lamp (2023)

Raising backyard poultry sometimes means you will be starting from day-old chicks.

These young birds don’t have enough feathers to help them regulate their body temperature. Hence, you should learn how to keep chicks warm without a heat lamp.

Some people have successfully used heat lamps. But if they are powered by electricity, then it means you will have problems when living off the grid.

Heat lamps consume a lot of electric power, which is limited if you are not connected to the utility system.

In this post, we will discuss the alternatives to heat lamps. You can still keep your chicks warm all year round without the mother hen or the heat lamps.


  • Why Chicks Need You to Help Staying Warm?
  • 5 Alternatives To Heat Lamps for Chicks
    • Insulation For Housing of the Chicks
    • Using Hot Water Bottles And Fleece
    • Heating Plate Brooder Plate
    • Heated Pads
    • Sock Filled With Hot Rice
  • How Long Do Chicks Need A Heater?
  • FAQs
    • Can chicks survive without a heat lamp?
    • When can a baby chick go without a heat lamp?
    • Is it bad to hold baby chicks?
  • The Final Sentences

Why Chicks Need You to Help Staying Warm?

5 Ways To Keep Chicks Warm Without A Heat Lamp (1)

Birds are warm-blooded animals that can keep their body temperature constant regardless of environmental conditions.

They use their feathers for heat insulation, the same way you need a wooly jacket for winter.

In chicks, the feathers are underdeveloped. They cannot keep themselves warm. So, you will need to provide warmth if they are not with their mother.

Mother hen uses wings to keep the chicks warm. To raise chicks, you need a warm room to emulate the hen.

The temperature required in the chicks’ room is reduced as they grow and develop wings. That prepares them to survive without it when they are fully grown.

The table below outlines how the temperature is gradually reduced over the six weeks that chicks need to be supplemented with artificial heat.

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(Video) Raising Chicks Off Grid Without a Heat Lamp [Prep 365: EP60]
Chick AgeTemperature
0-7 Days95°F/35°C
Week 290°F/32°C
Week 385°F/29.5°C
Week 480°F/26.6°C
Week 575°F/24°C
Week 670°F/21°C
After 6 WeeksReady for Outside!

5 Alternatives To Heat Lamps for Chicks

5 Ways To Keep Chicks Warm Without A Heat Lamp (2)

Heat lamps need electrical power to run, which many may not access when living off-grid.

Some can potentially cause fire, which doubles the risk when used. Fortunately, there are five alternatives to heat lamps, which include the following:

  • Insulation for housing of the chicks
  • Using hot water bottles and fleece
  • Heating plate brooder plate
  • Heated pads
  • Sock filled with hot rice

Each method listed can keep chicks warm until they are ready to regulate their body temperature. But how do you go about it? Here are the details!

Insulation For Housing of the Chicks

Insulation simply means keeping the chicks’ pen warm by not allowing cold air. The heat generated is retained within the coop. You can do that through the following:

Line The Box With Mylar

The outside of a sizable box is lined with mylar. This box is then placed over the chicks, where you had prepared for them.

That preparation involves using straw, feathers, paper, or other natural materials for bedding.

The box lined with mylar should have enough ventilation holes and an entrance that allows the chicks to access food and water. After feeding, they come back to the insulated box for warmth.

Bedding With Fleece

5 Ways To Keep Chicks Warm Without A Heat Lamp (3)

Apart from creating the mylar-lined box, you can simply use the bedding with fleece. Fleece is a synthetic material with perfect heat insulation properties.

You just spread it on the floor to form the bedding. It will help retain heat from the chicks’ bodies and prevent them from getting cold.

Using Hot Water Bottles And Fleece

You will need a plastic gallon container and fill it with a warm temperature. You can mix boiling water with tap water at room temperature in the ratio of 1:1 to achieve perfect warmth.

The next step is cutting sizable strips of fleece and draping them on the outside of the container.

Remember to tightly close the container to maintain the water temperature. Your chicks will enjoy the warmth between the fleece and bottle.

Heating Plate Brooder Plate

This commercial product can help you keep up to 32 newly hatched chicks warm. It also uses electricity, but it is more energy-efficient and safe.

(Video) Raise baby chicks - NO HEAT LAMP NEEDED!

The electric power heats the underplate, radiating heat to the chicks below it.

The brooder plate stands on four, allowing the height to be adjusted. By doing so, you will be able to regulate temperature.

Brinsea Products Ecoglow Safety 1200 Brooder for Chicks


5 Ways To Keep Chicks Warm Without A Heat Lamp (4)

Brinsea Products Ecoglow Safety 1200 Brooder for Chicks Or Ducklings, Yellow/Black

  • Brooder for warming up to 35 newly hatched chicks or ducklings
  • Safe 12 volt radiant-heated underside for producing uniform temperature and minimizing power consumption with no risk of fire
  • Easy adjustable Height settings for accommodating various chick sizes

Heated Pads

This device keeps chicks warm when they lie on it. Some people like it on the wall so that the heat can be radiated outwards.

Heated pads are beneficial for their low energy consumption. They are rated just 25 watts. Even if you have a large flock, you can buy many heating pads to ensure sufficient heat in the room for the chicks.

(Video) After Hurricane Ian | Late Upload | How to keep your chicks warm without a heat lamp or Electricity

K&H Pet Products Thermo-Peep Heated Pad Tan Petite 9 X 12 Inches


5 Ways To Keep Chicks Warm Without A Heat Lamp (5)

K&H Pet Products Thermo-Peep Heated Pad Tan Petite 9 X 12 Inches

  • OUTDOOR WARMTH: Perfect for peeps and chickens, our heated chicken pad is specially designed to keep chickens and peeps warm when sitting or lying on the pad
  • VERSITALE: Chicken heated pad is for indoor or outdoor use and with the pre-drilled hole can easily be mounted vertically or horizontally in your chicken coop to provide your flock with warmth
  • DURABLE: Peck resistant features like rigid ABS plastic construction, steel encased capped cord and rounded edges make it perfect for large flocks and baby chicks

Sock Filled With Hot Rice

Fill several pairs of socks and fill them with hot rice. This setup can remain warm for several hours, keeping your chicks warm.

Chicks will huddle around the socks to get the warmth they need. The number of units you need depends on the size of your flock. So, adjust accordingly.

Pro Tips:

Baby chicks are heavily affected by the chilling moisture and draft, especially in winter. Keep them warm to enhance their health.

(Video) Keep Chicks Warm WITHOUT POWER (57)

How Long Do Chicks Need A Heater?

Chicks need a heater as long as their feathers are not well developed. That can take up to six weeks, after which the birds can be allowed to survive on their own.

You should observe the chicks for the first few days to confirm that they are okay after withdrawing the heat source. Otherwise, you may need to reintroduce it.


Can chicks survive without a heat lamp?

Yes. Chicks can survive as long as they are free from cold and draft. There are alternative ways of keeping chicks warm apart from the heat lamp.

A heat lamp is known for its ease of use and reliability, but only if you have electricity to power it.

When can a baby chick go without a heat lamp?

Baby chicks can survive without a heat lamp or any other heat source when they reach 6 weeks old. At this time, feathers are fully developed to insulate them against heat loss.

Is it bad to hold baby chicks?

No. You can hold your baby chicks but with clean hands. They are still vulnerable to diseases, which spread through our hands and shoes.

A foot bath for disinfecting the shoes is necessary, and entry into the kitchen house should be restricted.

The Final Sentences

Don’t be worried about your chicks if you don’t have access to utility power.

(Video) 3 WAYS to KEEP your CHICKS WARM • Heat Sources for Brooding Chicks

You can still keep them warm using the alternative methods mentioned in this post. Just don’t burn them if you are using any of these methods.

Thank you for staying at the Em Offgrid. Please share our article with your friends, and don’t forget to check our previous and upcoming posts.


Can a baby chick survive without a heat lamp? ›

Chicks don't actually need a heat lamp. A heat lamp is easy because you just set it up, turn it on, and walk away. But they don't need it. In fact, the lamps are actually a bit too hot for chicks.

What can I use to keep chicks warm? ›

Using a heat lamp, preferably one that emits 250-watt infrared heat, is your best bet for keeping chicks happily toasty.

How long can baby chicks go without heat? ›

If home temperatures range around 75 degrees, you won't need a heat lamp past week four. But in barns or garages, which may run 60 degrees, chicks need supplementary heat until they are fully feathered at six weeks of age. Consult the chicken heat table when determining if your chicks still need a lamp.

Can I use a heating pad to keep chicks warm? ›

Chicken Heated Pads are great for use during the first stages of life for mandatory heat requirements especially in winter. Place the heated pad in the brooder. It helps keep the heat in and gives the chicks the perfect temp to sleep.

How do I keep my chickens warm without a light? ›

Cover the ground with straw, hay, or wood chips to keep your chickens' feet off the cold ground. Use the Deep Litter Method to generate heat naturally. Build a sunroom or add windows to allow the sun to warm the coop. Provide extra food.

How cold can chickens tolerate at night? ›

Chickens can survive quite well with temperatures down into the teens. In fact, if you place a thermometer in your coop overnight, you will likely find the temperature has been maintained in the thirty to forty-degree area. Each chicken has generated enough heat to keep themselves and their flock mates warm.

How can I tell if my chicks are warm enough? ›

If they huddle together under the heat lamp, they are too cold. If they scatter away from the heat lamp and avoid the area directly under it, they are too warm. If they are evenly and randomly spread throughout the brooder, they are just right.

What happens if chicks get too cold? ›

Chicks will die far quicker than chickens when they're cold. You must get them warm as quickly as possible. If I have an incubator running at the time, I like to pop the chick inside as it'll instantly begin to warm them. Alternatively, one of the easiest ways is to use your own body heat.

How do you warm up a cold chick? ›

Hypothermia First Aid

Rub hands briskly together to warm them and enfold the chick, allowing the chick's beak to rest where your thumbs join so he can get air if he should begin breathing. Use this method to transport chicks to a more appropriate heat source.

Should baby chicks sleep in the dark? ›

Baby chicks kept with their mother do not need light at night, and get warmth from their mother. However, new chicks hatched without a hen do need warmth, and they also need a little light at night. Typically, chicks who are not with their mother can get both warmth and enough nighttime lighting with a heat lamp.

Why are my baby chicks chirping loudly? ›

If your chicks are chirping loudly, there is a good chance they are voicing discomfort. And most often, the temperature is the culprit. When chicks first leave a warm bath after birth, they are highly sensitive to the temperature with their limited feather-coat and new environmental change.

What do baby chicks like to play with? ›

Tetherball Toys: Chickens love to peck, and if what they are pecking moves, so much the better. Hang an edible treat from a chain or rope into the coop, and let them peck at the makeshift tetherball, chasing it around as it moves. A head of lettuce or cabbage, several apples, or melon rinds are all great options.

How do I keep my chickens warm at night? ›

To help small coops retain heat, cover them with blankets or tarps during the coldest months. In a huge coop, you might lower the ceiling or erect temporary walls to shrink the space occupied by your chickens. Finally, provide a warm, dry floor with biodegradable bedding.

How warm do baby chicks need to be? ›

The temperature under the heat lamp, or comfort zone, should be 95 degrees Fahrenheit and adequate room in the brooder should be available for the chicks to get out from under the heater if they get too hot. After week one, gradually reduce heat by 5 degrees Fahrenheit each week until reaching a minimum of 55 degrees.

How do you make a hot water bottle for chicks? ›

Hot water bottles-Good old fashioned hot water bottles will stay warm all night. Put the hot water bottle in a cardboard box big enough that the baby chicks can get in it and huddle near the hot water bottle if they get cold.

How can I keep my chickens warm in the winter without a heat lamp? ›

Here are seven steps to help ensure your birds are protected from cold weather.
  1. Minimise drafts. ...
  2. Keep your coop well ventilated. ...
  3. Use the 'Deep Litter Method' ...
  4. Use sunlight to trap heat. ...
  5. Make sure your chickens can roost. ...
  6. Make them a sunroom. ...
  7. Protect against frostbite.

Can chickens survive winter without heat? ›

Chickens are quite hardy and can tolerate temperatures below freezing, but they prefer a warmer climate. The ideal temperature for chickens is about 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit. During winter weather, you'll need to take some precautions to ensure your chickens are comfortable despite the cold.

How do you keep eggs warm without electricity? ›

To warm the eggs, place candles in jars, light them and place the jars under the box that covers the incubator. Be careful not to put any flammable material closer than a foot from the top of the candles to prevent fires. The heat from the candles can easily keep the eggs above 90°F until the power returns.

Can chickens see in the dark? ›

However, chickens do not have night vision. They can't see in the dark. But chickens can sense whether it is light or dark through the pineal gland. The pineal gland sits above her midbrain behind her eyes, and allows a chicken to sense daylight as well as the changing seasons.

How do you insulate a chicken coop? ›

Spray foam is an excellent insulation material for chicken coops because it is durable, easy to apply, and provides good insulation against the cold. Spray foam is excellent for sealing big gaps and hard-to-insulate areas, but remember that it is important to make sure that the chicken coop can get some fresh air in.

How do you winterize a chicken coop? ›

Steps for Winterizing Chicken Coops
  1. Check the coop for cracks and repair any holes to prevent drafts.
  2. Add extra shavings for insulation, and clean out regularly.
  3. Provide heat and lighting when necessary.
  4. Offer a nutritious diet higher in fat.
  5. Clear out snow when necessary.
  6. Lock chickens up at night.
21 Sept 2022

How do you know if a baby chick is too cold? ›

The chicks will be silent and you may notice them panting and heads drooping. If the brooder is too cool, chicks will huddle together directly under the heat lamp. They will be noisy, a sign of distress.

Do chicks huddle together to sleep? ›

Yes, baby chicks like huddling together when sleeping. They usually do this to keep warm at night since it is extremely cold at night. Baby chicks will, however, stop huddling together when sleeping after a few weeks because they will grow feathers over time.

Why do chicks huddle together? ›

Baby chicks huddle together when they're cold, which can cause smothering or suffocation, so check your chicks regularly to be sure they are comfortable. Raise the height of the lights as they grow, because their need for artificial heat will diminish as they grow feathers.

How do you know a chicken is happy? ›

High energy: Healthy chickens are social, curious and should feel energized to freely move throughout the coop, run or backyard. A lack of movement, low head carriage and overall depressed appearance may be a sign that something is wrong.

How do you revive a dying chick? ›

Try adding 1 teaspoon sugar, molasses or honey to 1 quart of water. This sweet energy boost is great for the first few hours, then you'll want to switch back to plain water. FOOD For lethargic chicks, try feeding them raw egg yolk. This will provide the nutrients they need to begin eating on their own.

Can you give baby chicks a bath? ›

A wet chick is quickly chilled and vulnerable to illness. Only bathe the part of a chick that is dirty. Minimal bathing will also minimize stress and preserve the bird's natural body oils that keep its feathers in top condition. Use lukewarm water to bathe a chick, ensuring the water is neither too hot nor too cold.

Why are my chicks chirping so loud at night? ›

When your baby chicks start chirping so much and loudly, there are good chances your birds are cold. Baby chicks chirp when they are cold to voice their discomfort. If they are chirping while huddling together, it is apparent that the temperature in their brooder box or their enclosure is way too cold.

Can you overheat baby chicks? ›

Overheated chicks can dehydrate, will grow slower because they're eating less and become stressed, making them more likely to get sick. To get the brooder house to the correct temperature it's important to heat the area—including bedding, feeders and waterers—at least 24 hours before the chicks arrive.

Can 4 week old chickens tolerate cold? ›

Chicks are still growing during weeks 4 and 5 and aren't quite ready to go outside yet, until they are fully feathered. Prevent crowding by ensuring 1–2 square feet per bird. The temperature should now be between 70–75°F to help the chicks get ready to move outside.

How do you calm a baby chick? ›

Calming Skittish Baby Chicks~ - YouTube

Should chicks have food all the time? ›

After you start feeding you should monitor your chicks and see how often they need feeding. Never withhold food for long periods of time once you start feeding them. You should feed them enough so that they finish all that you give them without leaving any lying around for the rats to find later.

How do you make a lonely chick happy? ›

If possible, you should keep it in the house so that it can interact with you and your family in the absence of fellow chickens. It also helps if you have toys for them to play with, just like you would with a cat or dog. Toys involving food can be great fun for them.

How do you bond with chicks? ›

Ways to Bond with Chickens
  1. Begin the Bonding at an Early Age.
  2. Spend Time with Chickens.
  3. Find the Ideal Time to Interact with Chickens.
  4. Be Aware of the Different Chicken Breeds.
  5. Be Gentle When You Hold a Chicken.
  6. Give Your Chickens Treats.
  7. Chickens Need to Know You're Their Caretaker.
  8. Create a Normal Cleaning Routine.

Why do you put a mirror in a chicken coop? ›

Mirrors: Adding reflective objects to the coop will entertain chickens as they watch or chase the dancing lights or interact with their own reflections. Hanging old CDs or small mirrors out of chickens' reach is a good option, or mount a sturdy mirror to a pole or post where they can see it.

Do baby chicks need attention? ›

Baby chicks are definitely a handful; they are quite fragile and need a lot of care and attention, so it's extremely important to have everything in place before your baby chicks arrive.

Can chickens stay in the coop all day? ›

So yes, chickens can stay inside their coop all day as long as they have everything they need for the entire day, including light. If your coop does not have windows you can put in lights and a timer, but that often requires running electric and many people don't want to do that outside.

What is deep litter method? ›

What IS the Deep Litter Method? (aka: Built-Up Litter System) Deep litter is a method of chicken waste management that calls for droppings and bedding material to compost inside the chicken coop instead of being cleaned out and replaced regularly.

Do baby chicks sleep a lot? ›

Week 1: Sleepy Babies

Like any baby, a chick sleeps a lot. Make sure they have clean food and water, and don't expect much action.

What do 1 day old chicks eat? ›

STARTER FEED, Day 1 to 18 weeks (Chicks)

Day-old chicks through 18 weeks old require starter feed, aka starter crumbles, containing 20% protein. Starter feed contains the highest percentage of protein a layer will ever consume, which makes sense given their astronomical rate of growth in the first few months of life.

Can baby chicks eat rice? ›

Rice could be consumed by little chicks. However, it is not advisable to be part of their diet. If the little ones should consume rice, it should be cooked and given sparingly. We shouldn't forget that rice does contain items that could be bad for chickens in large amounts – for example, sugar.

What can I use for Chick water? ›

Use warm water and vinegar or other poultry-approved sanitizer. When choosing a waterer for your chicks, make sure to select one with a drinker that is easy to clean. A fount that's hard to clean won't be sanitized as often as it should be. DON'T make chicks travel far for their water.

Can you put a hot water bottle in with chickens? ›

Re: hot water bottle for my feathery friends

yes as above replys,as long as the coop is draft free and dry they will be fine,i kept my serama in an outside run last year and will do the same this year and i had no problems.

Can you use hot water bottle as brooder? ›

There are many different heat sources available for brooders: Hot water bottles can be used but temperatures fluctuate a lot and they must be regularly refilled, even at night.

› a-week-by-week-... ›

After baby chicks are hatched they ingest their yolk sac for up to 72 hours. This provides them will all the nourishment they need during this time, which allow...
There's so much confusion and stress for chicken keepers about how to keep baby chicks warm safely. Heat lamps are deadly dangerous, routinely overheat chic...

How to Keep Baby Chicks Warm

https://www.southernstates.com › farm-store › articles › h...
https://www.southernstates.com › farm-store › articles › h...
Because it is essential that new chicks stay warm without overheating, it's a good idea to prepare their brooder at least 24 hours before their arrival. Sel...

When can a chicken go without a heat lamp? ›

Ideally, chicks will not require a heat source when moving from brooder to coop. If the temperatures outside remain above 65°F and the chicks are at least 6 weeks old, they can move into the coop without supplemental heat.

How cold is too cold for chickens? ›

Warm weather chickens should not be kept at or below the forty-degree mark, although short periods of a few minutes outside to stretch their legs is okay if you have the time to herd them back into the coop before they freeze.

How long can baby ducks go without heat? ›

Ducklings need supplemental heat until they are 6 weeks old or fully feathered.

What temp is too cold for baby ducks? ›

While ducks are incredibly more winter cold hardy than chickens, they can only comfortably tolerate 45-degree temperatures before illness or frostbite could occur. Ducks can waddle about down to temperatures of 20 degrees before seeking shelter or being in danger of frostbite to their legs and feet.

Can baby ducks survive without a heat lamp? ›

Ducks do not need extra heat after they develop feathers. Generally you start the heat lamp at 90 degrees and reduce the temperature by 5 or 10 degrees each week until you reach 70 degrees. If they do not seem to need heat, demonstrated by crowding away from it, you can get rid of it.


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