Beware: Brooder Fire
I created this page as a warning to others. Be extra careful with your chicken brooder. High heat, loose pine shavings and wrestless chicks (kicking up shavings and knocking things over) are a dangerous combination!

Early in 2012, I started our Spring chicks in our "chick brooder" converted from an old rabbit hutch. Usually I line this with straw and heat them with a 500 watt brooder lamp. This year, we thought we would try pine shavings as these don't mat down as much as straw and are easier to clean up. I think this was a fateful mistake. When I woke up in the morning I was greeted with disaster! The entire brooder had burned to a crisp.

I think the chicks may have knocked the lamp over and/or kicked up a pile of shavings underneath it. I guess it then caught fire, and burned everything. The heat was so intense, the both the aluminum cover on the lamp and the glass from the lightbulb melted to almost nothing. Only the ceramic lamp base was left (above in the middle). The fire spread to the nearby leaves, but luckily must have put itself out. Obviously none of the chicks survived. There are a couple of lessons here. Be very careful with brooder lamps and don't get complacent like I did. Keep your brooder lamp securely attached and far away from the bedding. Also, I was very lucky in that the brooder was outside. If it was inside or closer to the goat barn.... I could have really had a disaster. Keep your brooder a safe distance away, or invest in a really good smoke detector if you are going to raise chicks in your house (basement, garage, etc.).
Site Map