Surviving A Power Outage With Young Chicks

by Meghan H

Published February 10, 2020

One minute the lights are on and the chicks are all snug as little bugs in the brooder. But a storm is brewing and the next minute, just like that, no power! Now, what are you going to do?

You may have experienced a power outage with a brooder full of chicks or maybe you want to become prepared for the worst. In my neck of the woods, power outages are very common. Since we brood chicks throughout the year, I’ve dealt with this issue in the past. Below are ideas and suggestions on how you can prepare for an outage.

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chicks in a brooder wrapped in insulation power outage
  1. Generator– Having a backup generator always comes in handy especially if you are in an area that experiences several outages. Several places like Amazon, Lowes, and Home Depot carry small portable generators. 
  2. Insulation– Insulation is a great way to keep the brooder warm. You can wrap the outside of the brooder with insulation. Be sure not to get the insulation on the inside of the coop because the chicks would more than likely peck or eat at the insulation. 
  3. Blankets– Blankets can act as a great source of insulation. You can also wrap the outside of the brooder with blankets to keep the brooder warm.
  4. Fireplace or Woodstove– Some of you may have a fireplace or wood stove in your home. Move the brooder as close to this area as possible so that the chicks can stay warm. 
  5. Bedding– Adding additional pine shavings or straw will also aid with keeping the chicks warm. 
  6. Burn candles– Burning candles is one way to generate heat. You will want to make sure your brooder is in a small confined area where the candles are burning. BE VERY CAREFUL if using this method!
  7. Close doors– If your chicks are in a specific room, it is recommended to close all doors this will help retain the heat in that area. 
  8. Instant hand warmers These are great for keeping chicks warm however if you use these in the brooder, use caution. I would recommend lining the bottom of the brooder with the hot hands and then placing a towel or some form of padding/cover over the hot hands. You will want to place a thermometer in the brooder to make sure you do not overheat. Check out the link for the reusable hand warmers we found on Amazon!
  9. Vehicle– If you are out of options and the chicks are becoming chilled you might want to consider warming up the car and letting them stay in there for a while. Yes, you may use gas however you will provide some type of warm environment for a short period of time. Alternatively, using an inverter hooked to your vehicle’s battery or 12V outlet will allow you to power a brooder lamp without the engine running constantly.
  10. Friend’s house– If the power is going to be out for a couple of days you may want to consider having a friend whose power is still on and willing to house your chicks.
powering a chick brooder light with a car Meyer Hatchery

In the first few weeks of life, it is crucial that the chicks are in a temperature-controlled area, free of drafts, etc. The minimum temperature of your brooder needs to be 95 degrees. For every week of life, you can drop the brooder temperature by 5 degrees. Once the chicks are completely feathered you can remove them from the brooder and put them in their coop. In the winter months, if the chicks are young, you may want to keep them in the brooder longer.

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