Right before the hatch, we ordered two of the Brinsea EcoGlow20 Brooders. I had heard of this product last year, but didn’t feel it was very necessary. That is, until we had a very close call with a barn fire caused by our chick heat lamp. Then we put it on the list of things we really needed to buy, and asap.
It is a pretty simple product, there is the heat element, the power cord, and two legs that have 3 different height levels. It is very easy to use, you just plug it in, make sure the orange light on top is lit, and use it. There is no checking temperatures or adjusting things. You just start with it at the lowest height setting on the legs and move it up as the chicks grow. The chicks had no problem knowing exactly how to use it and where to go.
We got two of the 20s, instead of 1 of the 50, so that we would have the ability to use them in separate locations, or together, whichever way we needed it. We were very glad we did because with Little Chick in isolation for a few days we needed the two for separate areas. And now both are in the one brooder with all 23 chicks. I guess technically we could probably get away with just one in the brooder, since it is said to brood 20 chicks and we are barely over that, but I like having two just to be sure. And the bigger the chicks get, the less will fit under it, though the less they will need it.
At about 1 1/2 weeks of age, we raised one brooder up to the second height level and left the other low. Most of the chicks are preferring the higher one at this point, so we will move the other one up in the next few days. We are mostly keeping it low for Little Chick, since it is so much smaller than the rest, but I think she is ready now, at over 2 1/2 weeks old.
I must admit that the first few days of the chick’s lives I used the heat lamp, in addition to the brooder. Why? Because at first we use newspaper in the brooder until our chicks figure out how to eat and what is food. Then we add shavings. Right after hatch the chicks were a little too small to be able to touch the heat of the brooder from the flat surface of the newspaper. And from what I have read it is important for them to be able to actually make contact with the underside of the brooder. We tried building up a little hill with towels under the newspaper under the brooder, but I was still worried. So we used the heat lamp AND the brooder, but once they were all on shavings and we could build the shavings up a bit under the brooder we took away the heat lamp. I don’t know if this was necessary, but it is what we did.
So how do we like the Brinsea EcoGlow20 Brooder? We LOVE it. It is easy to use and easy to maintain. It uses less energy and is SAFE and wont start a fire. Another thing we love about it is that it doesn’t heat up the whole room. We brood the chicks in our mudroom, and this summer with the heat lamp set up over the brooder it was making that whole room SO hot. But the brooders don’t seem to make much difference at all to the temperature of the room as a whole. I must admit too, that before we bought it I read reviews and people were saying that the chicks were quieter and seemed calmer and more content with the brooder. I thought that was silly. But it is true. The chicks are definitely quieter. Definitely. Which leads me to believe they are more content. Maybe because it is natural instinct for them to get underneath their mama for heat and the brooder serves that instinct. The kids have, fittingly, been calling them the “electronic mamas.”
I do want to say something important to anyone thinking of getting one. Put some sort of contact paper or something over the top of it. The chicks get up on there and poop and I think it would be pretty hard and not very fun to clean after them doing that for weeks. I put Press N’ Seal on the tops of ours and it is working great. I fully expect to be able to pull it off no problem at the end of this.
I would definitely recommend this product. I think it serves its purpose well and is worth the cost if you plan to brood more than just one round of chicks over the years.