Hopefully no-one will ever need this, but just in case :)
Several times recently I have had to keep chicks in small cat carriers. It's been two chicks each time, and that was the only space I had available. In the larger brood spaces, I have a back up light fixture, in case a bulb does not live up to it's labeled hours.
Anyway, I had found two wet, cold, abandoned chicks, and wasn't set up for them at all. So, I filled a soda bottle with hot water and wrapped it in a washcloth. Dried them as best I could, and snuggled them next to the bottle as a heat source while the light warmed up their new home. The carrier has a top door, so works well with a light fixture on top. Anyway, they seemed to do better, so I left them in the set-up. Two days later, I found that the (new) bulb had gone out during the night. I was sure they would be dead, or at least badly chilled. Fortunately, the water in the bottle had stayed warm. The chicks had burrowed in next to it, under the washcloth. I thought it was a good thing I'd put it there, under the light. The light had been enough to keep the water warm.
I did the same set-up for the new twosome. And again, the bulb went out. Again, the bottle stayed warm long enough for me to get the problem fixed.
I do use a new bulb each time, but it's become hard to find "quality" 100 watt regular light bulbs. The ones I have don't last long :(
I've foud the energy effiecient bulbs to be useless in providing warmth. That's why I said "regular", but guess I should have said "old-fashioned inefficient non-coil" ;) Those I usually find are made in China. Don't last.
I'm so glad to have found this thread! I am brand new to chickens and have had my three little chicks for about three weeks now. At the recommendation of the farm stand where I got the chicks, I started with a 250W heated white bulb for a "mere" $11. Are two weeks it burned out during the night and left my chicks cold. Luckily, they survived with no problems. The second bulb I bought (another $11) was a red 250W heated bulb from Home Depot. It burned out after one day. Is this normal? Why are these bulbs blowing? I put a regular 60W incandescent in there with them tonight. They are almost 5 weeks old and have most of their feathers so I think that should be warm enough, but I'm annoyed about the expensive heat bulbs being virtually useless.
I actually have a heat bulb I've never used. I've only used 100 watt "conventional" bulbs. I don't think it's normal for any bulb to burn out after one day, but the package should list the number of hours you can expect. The only thing I can think of is that maybe the fixture wasn't up to handling the wattage? I think mine are rated for 250, but I'm not sure.
I'd definitely return the HD bulb. I know that's wrong *G*.
Thanks, Cat. I had the first bulb in a shop lamp rated for 60watt bulbs so that may be what got the first bulb. For the second bulb, I upgraded to a brooder lamp rated for 300watt so that one is a mystery. I'm not sure if a traditional bulb would be warm enough for this area; at least not when they are really little. We are still getting into the low 50's at night.