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How to Make a Heat Lamp for Chicks

| Updated September 26, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Reflector

  • Clamp

  • 250 watt infrared heat lamp bulb

  • Hanging thermometer (optional)

Chicks need to be warm to grow and to thrive. Once they are out of the shell, chicks should be placed in a brooder kept around 95 degrees for the first week of their lives. Making a heat lamp for the brooder is a simple task. However, a heat lamp should be used with care to prevent chicks from overheating and to prevent fires from starting.

Select a reflector lamp. The reflector should have an adjustable neck and a built-in clamp.

Insert the infrared bulb into the reflector.

Clamp the reflector to the brooder. Clamp it at one end, rather than at the middle, to give the chicks somewhere to go if they get too hot. Ensure that there is no wobble, either from side to side or up and down.

Plug the heat lamp directly into the wall socket. Set the lamp height to approximately 18 inches above the surface. Observe your chicks to ensure they are comfortable. Adjust the height of the heat lamp as needed.


  • Choose an aluminum reflector that has a porcelain socket for the bulb. Plastic sockets are likely to melt with prolonged use.

    A heat lamp reflector without a clamp can be hung by a chain above the brooder.

    Use red-colored bulbs, for your chicks’ safety. Chicks will pick at an injured chick if they see blood. Colored light reduces the probability of them being able to see wounds on other chicks.


  • Avoid getting the heat lamp too close to any bedding, which may catch fire.

    Always have an alternate means of securing the heat lamp in place, to prevent accidents.

    Chicks can overheat rapidly or become chilled. If your chicks are panting, gradually raise the heat lamp until they stop. If your chicks are huddling together under the lamp for warmth, gradually lower it until they start moving around in a normal fashion.