How to Raise Baby Chicks without Heat Lamp?

For first few weeks after hatching, chicks don’t develop feathers and their bodies aren’t capable of keeping them warm internally.

So, they need external source of warmth to keep them healthy and comfortable.

Experts say that you should maintain 95F of temperature in initial few weeks.

You should try to mimic the natural conditions under a mother hen’s brood patch.

Ideal temperature promotes metabolism, digestion and contribute in overall health of chicks.

Not providing enough temperature can lead to hypothermia and weak immune system.

Using broody hens is undoubtedly one of the most natural and stress-free methods for raising chicks. But, if you’re starting your homesteading life, then obviously you won’t like to purchase brooding hens.

Instead, many people opt to raise 50-100 chicks at once, providing them with the ideal temperature for optimal growth. This method is cost-effective and commonly practiced.

Now, if you’re living an off-grid lifestyle, you don’t want to waste electricity on heat lamps.

Given that you’ll likely be utilizing solar energy for other essential tasks and can’t afford to drain batteries on heat lamps, especially when there are alternative methods available for brooding chicks without relying on them.

With a little care and paying close attention, you can brood a healthy flock without using heat lamps.

Importance of Maintaining Ideal Temperature

For chicks to thrive, maintaining a consistent temperature in their brooder is crucial. Ideally, chicks in the first week need temperatures around 95°F (35°C) at the warmest point, gradually decreasing by 5°F (3°C) each week until they reach 70°F (21°C) by eight weeks old.

Chicks that are too cold will huddle excessively, become lethargic, and struggle to develop properly. Conversely, chicks that are too hot will pant, spread their wings, and may even die from overheating.

How to Raise Baby Chicks without Heat Lamp?

raising chicks without heat lamp

Now that we understand the importance of temperature, let’s explore some alternative brooding methods:

  • The Power of Insulation: Location is key! Place your brooder in a draft-free area, away from walls or windows that might conduct cold. Line the brooder with thick towels, hay, or wood shavings to trap heat. As the chicks grow, gradually reduce the amount of bedding to allow for better ventilation.
  • Hot Water Bottles: Budding Body Warmers: Fill sturdy hot water bottles with hot (not boiling) water and wrap them securely in towels. Place them on the brooder floor, creating a warm zone for chicks to snuggle under. Remember to replace the water as it cools to maintain warmth.
  • Rice Socks: A Crafty Comfort: Fill clean socks with uncooked rice and sew them shut. Heat the rice socks in the microwave for a few minutes (be sure they aren’t scorching) and place them under towels in the brooder. Like hot water bottles, these need to be reheated periodically.
  • The Huddle Effect: Brooder Buddies: Chicks instinctively huddle together for warmth. This natural behavior can be a huge help in brooding without a heat lamp. Start with a smaller number of chicks to encourage huddling and adjust the brooder size as they grow.

Monitor your baby chicks regularly it does makes the difference

While these methods provide warmth, chicks are still vulnerable. Here’s how to ensure your feathery friends stay comfortable:

  • The Thermometer Tells the Tale: Invest in a reliable thermometer to monitor the temperature in different areas of the brooder. Chicks will naturally gravitate towards the warmest zone, so adjust the placement of heat sources as needed.
  • The Twice-a-Day Check-In: Chicks can’t regulate their body temperature well in the first few weeks. Make it a habit to check on them at least twice a day, paying attention to their behavior. If they are huddled excessively, chirping loudly, or appear lethargic, they might be cold. Conversely, chicks panting with their wings spread are likely too hot. Adjust the heat sources or ventilation accordingly.

Important Tips to raise chicks successfully

  • Bedding Basics: Chicks love to explore and peck. Choose chick-safe bedding like pine shavings or commercial chick crumbles that are easy to clean and won’t irritate their delicate respiratory systems.
  • The Crucial Chick Feeder and Waterer: Chicks need constant access to fresh, clean water and chick starter feed. Place feeders and waterers on a stable surface outside the warmest area of the brooder to prevent chicks from getting too wet or chilled.
  • Darkness is for Sleeping: While chicks need some light to see their food and water, avoid bright lights in the brooder. Aim for a dim environment at night to encourage restful sleep.
  • A Gradual Goodbye: Don’t rush the weaning process. As your chicks grow feathers and become more efficient at regulating their body temperature, slowly decrease the amount of supplemental heat. They should be fully acclimated to ambient temperatures by eight weeks old.


Raising chicks without a heat lamp requires a bit more attention, but the rewards are worth it! With a well-insulated brooder, clever heat sources, and close monitoring, you can successfully brood a healthy and thriving flock of chicks, all while staying true to your off-grid lifestyle. Remember, a little extra effort goes a long way in ensuring your feathered friends get the warm start they need!