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Q: How can I keep my brooder warm during a power outage so my baby chicks don't die?


Making sure your baby chicks stay warm in a power outage is one of the worries of chicken keeping! You do't want anything to happen to your babies.

mille fleur chicks

Our customer Lee C. in Vermont had a great suggestion:

She wrote: "I lost power due to hurricane Irene for about 15 hours. The storm hit Southern Vermont very badly, and I was unable to take the chicks anywhere to get power for their infra red lamp. What I ended up doing was heating water for hot water bottles on our grill.I then dropped the water bottles into my son's old tube socks (to keep the chicks from being scalded) and put the hot bottles into our chick 'nursery.'At first the chicks retreated from the strange monsters... within a few minutes, the chicks investigated and cuddled up to their new pseudo-mamas.I got up at 2:30am to reheat the water bottles and the chicks made it to morning when the power returned. They are all doing just fine."

Other customers have suggested (carefully!) using canning jars filled with hot water, if you don't have a hot water bottle. If the water is excessively hot, be sure to wrap the jar in a towel to prevent the chicks from accidentally burning themselves.

This may also help with fertile egg incubation in a long outage... but maintaining an appropriate temperature and humidity level will be extraordinarily difficult, to say the least. Chicks can move closer to or further away from a heat source, but your fertile eggs can't, so with fertile eggs, please be sure to use this option only as a last resort in a long outage.