With the hobby of hatching chickens becoming increasingly popular, the variety of brooders and heat sources available to keep your baby chickens warm can be very intimidating. Some people use normal globes, some use ceramic globes, some use reptile heat lamps, some use a cold brooder (no direct heat source) and some purchase from overseas.
This frequently asked questions page aims to clarify for our reasons for using, recommending and selling only one brand of brooder equipment – the Brinsea EcoGlow Safety range.
What is an EcoGlow Brooder?
EcoGlow brooders are a height adjustable heat source which allows you to keep up with your chicks growing needs. Being a heat only source (no lights), the EcoGlow brooder allows your chicks to grow more naturallay and have sleep cycles which aren’t inhibited by bright lights shining on them 24/7.
The actual heal pad is safe for human touch so rest assured that your fluffy little babies can huddle up underneath without getting burnt. Much like the body heat from a Mother Hen, the chicks will move under or away as their needs dictate. To be most effective, it should be set up out of draughts, so a box with high sides is perfect. I compare the radiant heat from the brooders and draughts to be similar to being at the Footy when it is windy. You can stand under one of those large industrial bar heaters but if it is windy you will still feel very cold. We have also used rabbit cages with towels over one end at night with great success.
Why use an EcoGlow brooder?
EcoGlow brooder units are suitable for up to 5-6 weeks, when most poultry are fully feathered and able to live independantly. At this age, they should not require any further heat source and with adequate housing, they are able to live outside and maintain their body heat quite well.
Traditional reptile globes and ceramic heat bulbs can chew through huge amounts of power, using anywhere between 75-200 watts of power per bulb. EcoGlow brooders are fantastic energy savers in comparison, using between 16-60 watts of power at peak periods. Far and away the safest on the market, with the 12v transformer also. Recommended for draught free environments, a box with high sides is absolutely fine…
With more chicken lovers coming together on forums and Facebook groups, the incidence of fires using other heat sources is much higher than originally thought. Although honestly, you can’t really be surprised when you think of something that is on 24/7, in an isolated location, combining heat with flammable bedding sources?
How do EcoGlow brooders work?
This great little video from ‘hornespointhomestead‘ is entitled ‘Chicks taking a nap under the Brinsea EcoGlow 50’ and shows a typical setup for raising chicks. The one main difference is the presence of an EcoGlow brooder instead of a ceramic or reptile bulb being used. EcoGlow brooders are a radiant heat source so chicks can safely have their heads touching the heat pad without burning. As the chicks grow larger, they will also jump onto and sleep on the top of the brooder.
Notice that Hornespointhomestead they have done as is widely recommended, which is that the front end is higher than the rear so the chicks can snuggle in as deep under that they need (much like they would with a broody Mum). I love this, as I think it is a more natural setup. It also doesn’t provide a light source, so the chicks experience a more natural growth cycle as they don’t have a light shining on them 24/7 for weeks on end…
Gorgeous happy little chicks and undoubtably a happy and relaxed poultry owner who sleeps soundly, knowing her chicks have the best and safest setup available.
How much power do they use?
The EcoGlow 20 chick only uses an amazing 16 watts of power – substantially less than conventional reptile or ceramic heat globes. The EcoGlow 50 chick uses up to 60 watts of power. Given that brooders need to be on all day, everyday, the savings on your electricity bills are huge!
Which size is best for me?
This handy-dandy comparison chart breaks down the important bits for you for quick decision making…
EcoGlow 20 chick
EcoGlow 20 chick is really only appropriate for up to 10 chicks standard sized. When you think how quickly these chicks grow (and if you are new to brooding chicks, trust us, they grow *really* quickly) it can be quite a squeeze for any more than this number. We have taken a picture of an small EcoGlow (yellow border) compared to an A4 piece of paper (blue) to give you a real idea of size. This unit measures 30cm wide x 20cm deep x 20cm high.
It is also height adjustable at three preset levels. To make the lower level lower, we just snuggle the side (legs) into the bedding material. If you need it higher, put a couple of lengths of wood under the legs to stop it from settling into the bedding material. Maximum height is approx. 20cm tall.
EcoGlow 50 chick
For any more than 10 standard chicks in one brooder area, we recommend choosing the larger EcoGlow brooder unit, being the 50 chick size. There is no difference in the fundamental design as the 20 Chick, but this model has fully adjustable legs that you ‘wind’ to determine height. This enables you to put one side higher on the 50 chick brooder to allow for snuggling under – this allows the chicks better heat regulation.
Measuring 56cm wide x 40cm deep x 23cm high, I have taken a photo of the 50 chick brooder below with three sheets of A4 paper over the box. Take a few centimetres off the end though, to allow for the cord/plug in the box. It’s still pretty big though 🙂
With so many brands available, why should I buy the EcoGlow brooder?
As with all great ideas, there are (in our opinion) inferior copies of brooder equipment available on the market. That’s just how it works with anything now-a-days. When asked why should we use this product compared to others, we simply point out that our Brinsea EcoGlow brooder has an Australian (three pin) plug which is set at the factory and has therefore passed stringent quality assurance testing. You also won’t need an adaptor to change a foreign plug. We have also heard that the leg design is superior on the EcoGlow as it is much sturdier and needs less ‘fiddling’ to get it right.
And more importantly, it comes with a full 2 year Australia-based warranty. No other brands will give you that piece of mind… Yes you may save a few dollars if you get a cheaper knockoff from Ebay, or even the same model direct from the UK… but if something goes wrong will you really send it back to them? Or can you even send it back to them? Or is it now just landfill?
Can it only be used for chickens?
The Brinsea EcoGlow is suitable for all breeds of poultry, including ducks and quail. Some customers have told us that they have put contact (assuming clear but no reason you can’t use any) on the top of the yellow platform to enable easier cleaning between broods.
Do you give discounts to larger orders?
A discounted price is available for single transactions of a minimum 4 units, of any size combination. Normal postage and handling charges from Australia Post apply. Contact us for prices.
Any other hints/tips?
We have raised chicks outdoors in Melbourne, which is still pretty chilly at night, with huge success. The only thing we have done is put a towel over the end of the rabbit cages to provide more of a barrier against draughts… You may also need to check that the chicks know where to sleep and they will need to be taught/moved to under the EcoGlow heat pad.
The top can get messy as the chicks will grow and find that they are warm on the top of the brooder also – some customers have said that they have put contact on the top before first use and find it much easier to clean.
I have another question…
If we haven’t answered all of your questions in relation to these fantastic brooders, feel free to contact us with your question and we will certainly get back to you with an answer as soon as possible…