How long a day do chicks need?

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How long a day do chicks need?

Postby Marigold » Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:39 pm

My quail chicks are kept warm by a dull emitter heat lamp, and their brooder is on the landing under a window, so they get good daylight between about 8-30am and 4-30pm, ie 8 hours ATM. I've been extending this with a daylight-spectrum low-energy bulb in a table lamp above the brooder, and this comes on from 7.30a.m. until 8-30, and from 4-30 until 7-30pm. So in total they're getting 12 hours of light and then 12 hours in which to sleep in preparation for the exertions of the day, ie eating, drinking, pooing and scattering mess everywhere.
Is this about right? How much light do you give your chicks, if you don't have them under a red light 24 hours, for heat?
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Re: How long a day do chicks need?

Postby Chuck » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:00 am

Don't know anything about quail but I like to give chicks 12 & preferably 14 hour light a day to simulate the long summer days.
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Re: How long a day do chicks need?

Postby Philcott » Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:39 am

I'm afraid mine make do with whatever light is available at the time of year. I do supplement their daytime light however, by having a light on above them from about 8 in the morning through to dusk in the afternoon. That way they learn to go to bed as the light starts to fail. :)
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Re: How long a day do chicks need?

Postby chrismahon » Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:03 am

We give ours a 12-14 hour day to simulate Late Spring daytime length, which is what they would get naturally. As soon as I turn the heat light off and switch to the dull emitter they go quiet and fall asleep in moments. About a week before they go outside they are moved by a window and get daylight hours only and just 24 hour heat from a dull emitter.
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Re: How long a day do chicks need?

Postby svickery » Thu Feb 16, 2012 6:30 pm

Sorry - complete beginner here. My incubator has 1 week to run and I am just setting up the box and lamps. I borrowed all my kit from a neighbour and he said the red light was to stop the chicks attacking each other - reading this thread I am guessing that the red light is used to give heat without 'light' so the chicks can rest at night ? They will be in a well lit room so will have normal daylight coming through the window.
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Re: How long a day do chicks need?

Postby Marigold » Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:06 pm

The red light does give the necessary heat, but it also provides light 24 hours. that's why many people prefer to heat the chicks with a dull emitter lamp, ie a ceramic bulb which just gives heat and no light. Alternatively you can use an electric hen, ie a sort of heated 'roof ' for the chicks to get under, like they would under a mother hen. The advantage of this is that the chicks can have as many hours of light as you like, ie you can supplement daylight with a table lamp and low-energy bulb and then they get a proper night's sleep in darkness and learn about day and night without being over-stimulated. My query when I posted this thread was about how many hours of light they needed in relation to hours of darkness.
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Re: How long a day do chicks need?

Postby chrismahon » Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:23 pm

Hi Svickery. Red lights are really a commercial producer thing, where chicks are crammed together in minimum space and cannibalism is a boredom /stress problem, the idea being that the red light makes blood less obvious so the chicks are not drawn to it so don't eat their siblings. I do put our new hatchlings under one for 24 hour days for a maximum of 7 days (white is too bright for young eyes) then they go onto day and night as described. For day I use a high efficiency 175W white heat light, for night I use an 80W dull emitter (ceramic outer that only emits head and no light at all) set much lower. What I will do is get an electric hen. They use far less power (saves big electric bill and pays for itself in couple of hatches) and if the chicks get cold they will go under it during the day and at night will sleep under it, just like a real mother hen. Day will initially be a small light bulb ( because chicks are kept in draught-free warmer area for first 3 weeks or so with insufficient natural daylight) and then will be natural daylight (near a window). Then 6 -8 weeks they go outside into a rearing unit (rabbit hutch and run type thing) with no heat at all (unless its cold).
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Re: How long a day do chicks need?

Postby svickery » Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:19 am

Thank you for very helpful info - have just ordered electric hen so I can provide darkness at night.
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Re: How long a day do chicks need?

Postby Hanlills777 » Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:09 am

I don't have any other kind of bulb other than a red one which seems to have a high and a low setting, will this be a problem with them thinking it's daytime all the time?
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Re: How long a day do chicks need?

Postby chrismahon » Sat Feb 18, 2012 8:27 am

It's not ideal Hanlills as it goes against their nature. They do need nightime which gives them time to rest. They will fill their little crops and continue growing at night but don't have the stress of falling asleep and being constantly woken up. I'd get an electric hen and small white light and use as described above. Less electricity too, so best for the planet.
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