Temperature Chart and Guide for Baby Chicks

Baby chick under the lamp to regulate temperature

When raising baby chicks, the proper temperature needs to be maintained. Given the sensitivity of these young birds, you must be careful not to overheat or underheat them.

Simply put, you need to keep your chicks in an environment that is neither too hot nor cold. However, this can be challenging if you do not know the ideal temperatures that will work best for them.

Fortunately, this article offers a handy baby chick temperature chart to help you out. Some tips on setting up a brooder will be shared here as well. Let’s get started!

Temperature Chart for Baby Chicks

A bunch of baby chicks up close

Maintaining the correct temperature for baby chickens is crucial for their health and survival. Specifically, it should fluctuate between 65 and 95 °F, varying depending on their age.

To give you a better understanding, the following is a baby chick temperature chart:

Age of ChicksIdeal Temperature
0–1 week old93–95 °F
(33.9–35 °C)
1–2 weeks old88–90 °F
(31.1–32.2 °C)
2–3 weeks old83–85 °F
(29.3–29.4 °C)
3–4 weeks old78–80 °F
(25.6–26.7 °C)
4–5 weeks old73–75 °F
(22.8–23.9 °C)
5–6 weeks old68–70 °F
(20–21.1 °C)
6 weeks and above63–65 °F
(15.6–18.3 °C)

The table above provides a guideline for the temperature requirements of chicks at different stages of growth. All in all, make sure you follow these ranges to ensure your newly hatched chickens get the best care possible.

How Do You Know If Your Baby Chick Is Too Hot or Too Cold?

If you’re new to raising baby chicks, you may be wondering how to tell if your little birds are too hot or too cold. Luckily, there are only a few signs that you need to watch out for.

Heat stress in chicks can be detected by the following indications:

  • Staying away from the heat source: If your baby chickens consistently fail to approach their heat source, they may be feeling too warm.
  • Wings outstretched: A chick trying to cool down might stretch its wings out, making an attempt to release body heat.
  • Agitation: Overheated chicks can become restless, showing signs of discomfort.

On the other hand, below are some signals that could indicate cold stress in young chickens:

  • Huddling together: When chicks are cold, they’ll cluster together, seeking warmth from each other.
  • Decreased activity: Cold chicks tend to be less active, moving slowly and showing less interest in exploring their surroundings.
  • Puffed-up appearance: Since chicks can’t regulate their body temperature yet, they will have a puffed-up look when they are cold.

If you catch any of the above signs in your young chickens, take immediate action to fix the problem. Always remember that their overall well-being depends on proper temperature settings.

Tips to Keep Your Baby Chicks Warm

Brooder temperature controlled by lamps

For those who are having trouble keeping baby chicks warm, there are several tips that can help. Here are some of them:

  • Maintain optimal brooder temperature: The brooder’s temp should align with the chicks’ age. Start with a warmer setting during their first week and decrease the temperature gradually as they grow. This will ensure the baby fowls remain cozy and safe throughout their early days.
  • Use a reliable heat source: Investing in a dependable heat source ensures consistent warmth. Whether you’re using heat lamps, chicken brooder heaters, or heating plates, make sure they’re of good quality.
  • Draft-free environment: Cold drafts can quickly make chicks uncomfortable and harm their health. Hence, ensure your brooder is placed away from windows, doors, or any area where sudden gusts of cold air might intrude.
  • Proper bedding: The right bedding material can also influence the brooder’s warmth. Materials like straw or wood shavings are excellent choices. They provide insulation, keeping the floor warm and comfy for the chicks.
  • Prepare emergency heat sources: In case of power failures or heating equipment malfunctions, having backup heat sources like hot water bottles or heat packs can be a lifesaver.
  • Regular monitoring: No matter how well you’ve set things up, regular checks are still vital. Thus, monitor the temperature frequently and observe the chicks’ behavior. When they show signs of being too cold or too hot, note that adjustments should be made immediately.

Newborn chickens are sensitive critters that require a lot of upkeep and attention, particularly when it comes to maintaining the right temperature. So, follow these tips to ensure your little ones stay warm and healthy.

Setting Up the Brooder for Baby Chicks

Setting up the perfect brooder for baby chicks ensures they have a safe and comfortable environment during their first few weeks of life.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you provide the best start for your chicks.

  • Choose the right container: Your brooder container should be sturdy and large enough to house the chicks comfortably. Common options include plastic tubs, large cardboard boxes, or specially designed chick brooders.
  • Install a heat source: As established, baby chicks require warmth to thrive. Heat lamps, brooder heaters, or heating plates can be used for this purpose.
  • Use appropriate bedding: Bedding helps in maintaining hygiene and providing warmth. Wood shavings or straws are typically used, offering good insulation and easy cleanup.
  • Ensure good ventilation: Proper ventilation is necessary to provide fresh air and prevent ammonia buildup. Therefore, make sure that the brooder is well-ventilated but without creating drafts that can chill the chicks.
  • Provide space: As chicks grow, they’ll need more area to move around. In other words, a spacious brooder prevents overcrowding.
  • Use shallow dishes for food and water: To prevent the chicks from drowning or getting stuck, utilize shallow containers for food and water. These should be easy to clean and refill, encouraging hygienic feeding habits.
  • Follow the chick temp chart: It’s essential to adjust the brooder temperature as your chicks mature. Begin at around 95 °F during the first week and reduce it by about five degrees each week. This will help the chicks acclimate to normal environmental temps.
  • Place a thermometer inside: To accurately monitor the brooder’s temperature, place a thermometer inside, ideally two inches above the floor level.
  • Implement safety precautions: Safety is paramount when setting up a brooder. So, you should ensure the heat source is secure and won’t fall into the brooder, cause fire, or injure anyone.

Setting up a brooder requires careful planning and regular monitoring. By following the guidelines above, you’ll create a nurturing habitat that promotes the healthy growth of your baby chickens.

If you are more of a visual learner, watch the following clip to find out how to set up a brooder for your chicks:


Selecting a Heat Lamp for Your Chicks

Baby chicks in a brooder

As a poultry expert, I can’t stress enough how pivotal the right heat lamp is. Through a series of tests, I settled on a perfect pairing: the Bulbmaster’s R40 Red Reflector bulb and the Woods’ Brooder Lamp with Bulb Guard.

The Woods’ socket offers a clamp for easy setup and is ideal for a 250-watt bulb. Meanwhile, the Bulbmaster’s R40 bulb, with its 250-watt capacity and 6,000-hour lifespan, minimizes the hassle of frequent replacements.

Note, however, that using a heat lamp without proper ventilation can cause respiratory issues in your flock, fire hazards, and other problems that could lead to real damage. Thus, use it carefully.

How to Measure Temperature in the Brooder

For accurate temperature measurements in the brooder, invest in a thermometer. Place it about two inches above the brooder floor to get a precise reading.

Observing chick behaviors in the incubator can be helpful, too. An example of how baby chickens respond to changes in temperature is shown below:

A diagram that shows how baby chickens respond to changes in temperature
Image credit: terriewilder / Pinterest

As you can see, if a group of chicks are huddled under a heat source, they are cold; yet, if the same group is far from this warmth, they are hot.

Furthermore, baby chicks clustered away from the source of heat signal drafts. However, if they are spaced out evenly inside their enclosure, that would indicate that the temp was just right.

For a more detailed explanation of how baby chicks react to temperature extremes, check out this video:

Are My Chicks Too Cold Or Too Hot?

Frequently Asked Questions

Baby chicks huddled together

How Do You Keep a Baby Chick Warm Without a Heat Lamp?

If you need to keep baby chicks warm without a heat lamp, consider investing in a chicken brooder heater. It’s specially designed to provide consistent heat.

Alternatively, hot water bottles can be a temporary solution. This method, albeit tiresome since you have to keep checking on them constantly, helps keep the young chickens warm through the night.

Another thing you can do is to make sure your brooder is draft-free. In order to accomplish this, cover all gaps, cracks, and holes with weatherproofing materials to keep cold air out.

How Cold Can Chickens Tolerate at Night?

Adult chickens can endure temperatures down to -25 °F at night. However, note that baby chicks are more sensitive and shouldn’t be exposed to temperatures below 65 °F.

Can I Put My 5 Week Old Chickens Outside?

If your five-week-old chickens are fully feathered, they can go outside. Yet, it’s generally safer to wait until they’re at least six weeks old. This ensures they’re better prepared for the outdoors.

Do Chickens Need a Heat Lamp at Night?

Chickens don’t need a heat lamp at night if the surrounding temp is close to what they require. Yet, it can be helpful to use heat lamps or other heat sources during cold or snowy conditions to prevent them from freezing.

Final Thoughts

In raising robust and healthy baby chicks, understanding the vital role of temperature can’t be overstated. For one, keeping them warm from when they hatch to their first weeks of life is critical to their survival.

This begins with setting up an appropriate brooder, ensuring it’s equipped with a reliable heat source, proper bedding, adequate space, good ventilation, and sufficient lighting.

Once you’ve got everything set up correctly — and your chicks are settled in — support them with a consistent temperature that ranges from 65 to 95 °F. This can be achieved using a heater or other means of artificial warmth.

Note, though, that regular monitoring goes hand-in-hand with this approach. You’ll need to take note of any signs that your chicks aren’t getting enough warmth or are getting too much.

Do you have any thoughts on the baby chick temperature chart? Please feel free to leave a comment below!

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