Chicken Heat Plates: Choosing the Best Heater for Baby Chicks

Keeping your chicks warm for the first few weeks of their life is one of the essential ways to keep your chicks happy and healthy. Chicks need an environment with temperatures between 95 and 100 for the first week of their life and a decrease of 5 degrees each week until they are feathered out. While chickens are generally cold hardy, you chicks need extra heat to thrive. In this article, we will look at the best heater for baby chicks based on our years of experience raising chicks.

We’ve tried several heaters over the years and feel strongly that a heat plate (also called a brooder plate) is the best option for the health of your chicks and general safely. You can read more details on exactly how to keep your chicks warm and use a heater properly in our article: How to Keep Baby Chicks Warm or you can see our list of the Best Baby Chick Supplies.

If you are looking for recommendation for a chicken coop heater for your larger hens, see our recommendation for how to heat your coop in the winter.


My Favorite Chicken Heat Plate

Below you can see lots of options and reviews for the best heater for baby chicks, but if you are looking for a quick answer to your question about the best chick heater, we recommend using a HEATING PLATE. There are several option you can purchase that all get great reviews. We recommend the heater from Chick Cozy We’ve used a few other items from this store including an automatic chicken door and a coop heater.

You can see more options for chicken heat plates for your brooder by scrolling down.

Types of Chick Heaters

While we recommend heat plates there are a few other options for keeping your chicks warm. Here are a few common options:

  • Heat Lamps: Traditional and widely used, heat lamps emit warmth from a suspended bulb, providing a broad area of heat for baby chicks. We do not recommend heat lamps although we did use them for a few years. They are a cheap option, but pose a significant fire risk.
  • Chick Plate Heaters: Mimicking the warmth of a mother hen, chick plate heaters offer a safe and even radiant heat source distributed across a flat surface, reducing the risk of cold stress.
  • Infrared Brooder Heaters: These heaters emit infrared radiation, efficiently warming the chicks and surrounding area while minimizing energy consumption. These are sometimes built into pre-make chick brooders.
  • Electric Hen Heaters: Designed to resemble a hen’s body, electric hen heaters offer a cozy and enclosed space for chicks to gather, promoting natural behaviors like nesting and roosting. Like the heat lamp there is an added risk or burns and fire as the heater gets very hot.
  • Heat Pads: Placed beneath the bedding, heat pads provide a gentle, localized heat source, creating a warm spot for chicks to rest and regulate their body temperature. This can be a bit hard to regulate but can be a good option for warm environments.

What are Chicken Heat Plates?

Chick plate heaters are relatively new heating solution for baby chicks and provide them with the necessary warmth for the early weeks. These heaters function by utilizing a radiant heat source embedded within a circular or rectangular plate. The plate distributes the heat evenly across its surface, mimicking the natural warmth provided by a mother hen.

As the chicks gather around the plate, they absorb the radiant heat, reducing the risk of cold stress. One of the significant advantages of chick heater plates over traditional heat lamps that they don’t get hot to the touch and have a much lower risk of fire. Unlike heat lamps, which pose a fire hazard and can cause accidental burns, chick heater plates operate at lower temperatures and eliminate the risk of direct contact with hot surfaces. I also appreciete how easy these plates are to use and adjust to you can have different amounts of heat in the brooder to meet all the chicks needs.

Looking for more information about Raising Baby Chicks – check out our online course through the Modern Homesteading Academy.

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Factors to Consider When Choosing Chicken Heat Plates

Choosing a chick heater plate is generally easy as they are mostly similar. Here are a few things to consider, but generally most of the plates are similar and do a good jub for raising a few chicks for laying backyard eggs.

Size and Capacity

Chick heater plates come in various sizes to accommodate different flock sizes and housing setups, ensuring optimal warmth distribution for all chicks. Most of the plates work best with 3-20 chicks, although you can find some large ones for up to 50 chicks.

Temperature Control and Adjustment

Some of these plates offer precise temperature control and adjustment, allowing poultry farmers to maintain ideal conditions for chick growth and development. If your plate doesn’t adjust the temperature, you can generally adjust the height of the plate to change the temperature in the brooder.

Safety Features

Equipped with safety features such as low-temperature operation and insulated surfaces, chick heater plates reduce the risk of accidental burns or fires.

Durability and Construction

Look for heat plates that are durabl and can withstand the rigors of daily use in poultry farming environments. I alo like the plates that are domed on top to keep the chicks from climbing (and pooping) on the top of the heater plate.

Energy Efficiency

With energy-efficient designs, chick heater plates minimize electricity consumption, resulting in cost savings over time. Since plates are more expensive than heat lamps- this is important to consider.

Price and Budget Considerations

While initial costs may vary, chicken heat plates offer long-term value and efficiency, making them a worthwhile investment for poultry farmers of all budgets. This is also one place weprefer not to skimp and save as the cost of a fire from a heat lamp would far exceed the cost of a brooder plate!

Top Chick Heater Plates

In addition to my top choice for a chick heater plate ( we recommend the heater from Chick Cozy). There are several other high quality heaters on the market

RentACoop Chick Brooder Heating Plate 

This is a 10×10″ Heating Plate with Anti-Roost Cone for up to 15 growing chicks with adjustable height settings from 1-7″. Featuring adjustable legs and an Anti-Roost Cone, it ensures cozy warmth and cleanliness, making it the perfect solution for raising various poultry species. This is a highly rated heater and I really like the cone on top that helps keep it clean.

K&H Pet Products Thermo Chicken Brooder

This is a good heating plate for up to 15 chickens. What I like about this brooder heater plate is that there are several methods to adjust the heater including the height of the heater and the angle.

Kufika Chick Brooder Heating Plate

This is the first brooder heater I purchased. I like this – it is a good, cost effective option and straightforward to use. I found the legs very easy to adjust. My only complaint was that the chicks liked to jump on top of the brooder plate and poop and it made a bit of a mess.

Tips for Using Chicken Heat Plates Safely and Effectively

  • Proper Placement and Installation: Ensure the Heating Plate is placed on a flat, stable surface away from drafts and direct sunlight, providing a cozy and secure environment for chicks to thrive.
  • Monitoring Temperature and Adjusting as Needed: Regularly check the temperature under the Heating Plate using a thermometer, adjusting the height settings to maintain optimal warmth for chick comfort and health.
  • Maintenance and Cleaning Tips: Keep the Heating Plate clean by wiping it down with a damp cloth regularly and ensuring the area around it remains free of debris to prevent potential hazards and maintain hygiene standards.
  • Ensuring Chicks Have Access to Food and Water Near the Heater Plate: Position feeders and waterers within easy reach of the chicks, encouraging them to eat and drink regularly for proper growth and development, while ensuring they stay warm and cozy under the Heating Plate.

Final Thoughts on Using Chicken Heat Plates

This has been one great additional supply to raising chicks and has given me an increased peace of mind. After switching from a heat lamp to this brooder plate I have a much high level of confidence when raising chicks and don’t worry about the risk of fire.

Chicken Heat Plates
The Best Chicken Heat Plates

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