Chick Heat Lamp Vs Heat Plate?

Chick Heat Lamp Vs Heat Plate?

May 27, 2024angelique van zuylen

If you have been humming and harring about which type of heating option to get for your chicks then you have come to the right place! 

A heat lamp is the stereotypical heating source you see used when raising chicks, ducklings, quail, geese, etc. Many beginning homesteaders use them. but in recent years the New Heating Plates have been created and now people are questioning which one is actually better?

Heat Lamps 

Heat lamps are generally made from a heavy duty Aluminum material, they can be suspended from the roof or ceiling with a chain (which most should be supplied with) or on a stand at least 40-50cm from the ground.

You can choose from a variety of Bulbs such as Infrared, Clear or ceramic bulbs.

Ceramic bulbs are a great option as they let out no light only heat.
This is great for chicks as constant light can cause them stress.

We recommend ceramic or infrared as white light can cause the chicks to peck at one another from stress and too much constant light.

Heat Plates

A Heat Plate is a rectangular or square plate that simulates a mother hen keeping chicks warm beneath her feathers. Plates have 4 adjustable legs for easily raising and lowering the plate as your chicks grow. 

Heat plates provide warmth for your baby chicks as they grow. Set your chick heat plate up by putting in the four height adjustable legs and plugging it in securely.

Adjust the legs of your Heat Plate to a height where your chicks can comfortably stand without their head touching the heat source.

As your chicks grow you’ll adjust the legs to be higher and higher away from the ground. Keep an eye on your setup because baby chicks grow quickly!

With a plate the heat radiates from the top of the device providing a similar effect to that of a brooding mother hen sitting on her chicks.

Are brooder plates safer than heat lamps?

Yes! A chick Heat plate is safer than heat lamps because the surface temperature of the plate only reaches 51 degrees Celsius presenting a lower risk than a Heat lamp. A heat lamp has a light bulb that if fallen off its base is very hot and can start a fire very quickly!

To put it in easier words a heat lamp runs at approximately 250 watts compared to 14 watts for a Heat Plate. Not only does this make a chick brooder plate less hazardous but they’re far more energy efficient.

10 Pros of a Heat Plate:

  1. Simulates a mothering, broody hen
  2. Provides chicks with the natural stages of development
  3. Doesn’t produce any extra light or unneeded heat
  4. Allows for domestic fowl to adjust to the natural day/night cycle by eliminating unneeded brooder light
  5. High efficiency, saving $ on the electricity bill!
  6. No bulbs to replace!
  7. Each leg is adjustable to accommodate the runts of the flock
  8. The chicks can safely touch the warm side of the brooder plate without being burned (like touching the mama hen’s belly!).
  9. Less risk from pasty butt due to dehydration or overheating
  10. Suited for tropical, moody climates 

5 Pros of a Heat Lamp:

  1. Often more inexpensive than heat plates.
  2. Readily available at local farm stores in case of emergency
  3. Can be used on other livestock if needed (babies who need extra warmth, etc.)
  4. Easier to use when raising large amounts of domestic fowl (20+ birds)
  5. Can reach more square footage when utilizing a very large brooder

6 Cons of Heat plates:

  1. Since the chicks are developing quicker you have to stay on top of adjusting the legs
  2. If you’re raising a large number of domestic fowl you might need more than one plate or a larger one
  3. They’re more expensive than brooder heat lamps (although they’re a one-time purchase!)
  4. The cord is a little awkward coming out the side (also not that big of a deal)
  5. Not the best for outside brooders in extremely cold climates
  6. Will require additional supplemental heat or protection if your brooder is outside and exposed to the wind/breeze.

13 Cons for Heat Lamps:

  1. They get very hot very quickly making them an extreme fire hazard. Hot lamps + bedding = FIRE
  2. Since the lamps get so hot you have to be careful to protect young children, animals etc from coming into contact with them.
  3. Since there’s a continuous light your young fowl aren’t able to adapt to a regular wake and sleep cycle as they should.
  4. Since the brooder heat lamp is so bright keeping the flock inside is hard unless you have a spare room…or don’t mind a BRIGHT night light
  5. Additionally keeping them in the barn or hen house also provides light for any other animals roosting and resting.
  6. Aggression can be triggered by continuous light.
  7. Some say constant light exposure to young fowl can delay development.
  8. The bulbs eventually burn out and have to be replaced
  9. The bulbs are glass so if the lamp falls for some reason you could have a dangerous, unfortunate mess to clean up.
  10. They’re bulky and difficult to store away when needed
  11. They’re not ideal when using a plastic tub for a brooder (heat melts plastic)
  12. Chicks can overheat quickly if they can’t get away from the hot lights
  13. Chicks can be burned if they come into contact with the heat lamp.

So to conclude as far as raising chicks moving forward I have officially converted to a heat plate lover along with most other backyard breeders and would highly recommend them! They’re easy to clean, energy-efficient and height adjustable.

Heat Plate Vs Heat Lamp



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