The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Heat lamp brood coop safety

chick close call

We had a close call today. The electricity went off, which prompted Anna to make some adjustments to the do it yourself table top brood box to keep the heat in. Once the juice came back on I went out to set the light back up, not knowing the new upgraded light can not be closer than 18 inches from anything flammable.

Fast forward about 20 minutes and I'm smelling smoke. Luckily I got there in time to remove the smoldering wood chips and adjust the lamp accordingly.

The chicks are fine, and I learned a valuable lesson about heat lamp safety.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Sure glad it worked out okay.
Comment by HeatherW Fri Mar 26 20:35:57 2010
I was away from the farm at the time, and I nearly had a heart attack when I came home and smelled smoke! Luckily, Mark had the problem under control. :-)
Comment by anna Fri Mar 26 20:55:17 2010
A few years back one of our neighbors house burnt down. The owner was away for Christmas and a heat lamp was being used in a shed for some animals...Straw bedding + Animals + heat-lamp = burned shed + Burned house. It was dreadfully cold -10F and windy (40 mph) Thanks to the heroic efforts of the VFD, it was limited to just her house. Wildfire in Colorado is nothing new...even in the dead of winter.
Comment by Moontree Ranch Sat Mar 27 15:49:27 2010
They seem to be remarkably dangerous things. I'm surprised we haven't come up with a better solution by now (and one that doesn't waste some of its energy making light!) I'm envisioning some kind of mother hen replica, a bit like a tea cozy, that just heats up the interior space. The chicks could go huddle under there, then go out and eat and drink. Maybe I'll get Mark to make me something like that for next time.
Comment by anna Sat Mar 27 16:12:33 2010

It does seem strange that nothing better has been invented. I'm using a lightbulb at the moment too. Incandescent bulbs are no longer available for sale here in Australia, so we don't have long to find something better!

I have a heat mat for my fermenter - I'm thinking it might work well. It's sealed and looks to be damp-proof. Perhaps it could be used underneath some sheets of newspaper, with some kind of mini-tent over the top, to provide a warm cozy little spot for the chicks to sleep. I'll have to experiment!

Comment by Darren (Green Change) Mon Mar 29 17:49:50 2010

They don't sell incandescent lights at all? Wow! Quite a step up from where we're at. :-)

Mark was thinking along the heating mat lines too. He was thinking of folding it into a sort of dome shape, maybe putting aluminum foil or something on the top to reflect heat back in. I could see how we might need a heating mat on top and one on the bottom to get them warm enough. If you try it out and find a solution, please do let us know!

Comment by anna Mon Mar 29 19:00:43 2010

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