What temperature is adequate warmth per age for chicks?
The right way to set up the brooder temperature is commonly misunderstood. While most people understand that chicks need to be in temperatures according to these temperature guidelines, they aren't exactly sure how to properly set it up.
95°F week 1
90°F week 2
85°F week 3
80°F week 4
75°F week 5
70°F week 6
After 6 weeks chicks can graduate to grow out pen. Learn more here.
What is misunderstood is how to set that up and the why you shouldn't keep the whole brooder at those temperatures directly under the heat lamps at all times.
The wrong way to set up heat lamps is to have the brooder completely covered under the light/direct heat.
If the ambient temperature without direct heat is in accordance to the chart, the chicks will be fine. Such as a room kept at that temperature through heated air circulation like central heat.
However, if you just place direct heat on the chicks this will lead to heat exhaustion and death even if the air temperature in the brooder is set at the correct temperature in the chart.
For this reason, chicks need a cool spot to get away from the direct heat. So, the heat lamp should only cover 1/3 of the brooder no more. You should also keep food and water in the cool spot of the brooder and never under the heat lamp as that forces them to keep going under it which would lead to dehydration and also heat exhaust, or they won't eat as often as they should avoiding the heat.
Also make sure they have plenty of room to sleep without being crowded in the cool spot too.
Why does the heat lamps covering all the brooder cause harm if the brooder temperatures match the chart? Let's use 1 week old chicks as the example for this question and answer: