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Brinsea EcoGlow Chick Brooder Review

Brinsea EcoGlow BrooderVery rarely do I meet a product that is so game-changing that I feel the need to blog about it, but Brinsea's EcoGlow Brooder is going on my list to recommend to anyone raising chicks by hand.  The idea is simple --- rather than keeping your chicks warm using a light on top of the brood box, you introduce a raised heat pad that the chicks nestle underneath like they would under a mother hen.  The EcoGlow brooder uses a tenth of the energy of a traditional brood light and there is no danger of catching your litter on fire if the brooder falls to the ground.

The safety and energy factors are why I bought the EcoGlow brooder, but in practice I found even more to love.  In my limited experience with raising chicks under a brood light, the chicks have an odd sleep schedule, struggling to stay awake all night then keeling over a few at a time for power naps.  Brinsea's brooder has no light (except a tiny indicator LED on top to let you know it's working), so the chicks all nestle down together in the evening to rest and spend most of the day working their food and water, stopping by the brooder for a warm-up as necessary.  Our chicks under the EcoGlow brooder seem to spend more time foraging in the day and less time napping, and they just sound happier --- no troubled peeps at all, just contented chuckles.

Poop on brooderThere are only two very minor downsides I've discovered with the EcoGlow brooder.  First, very young chicks tend to nestle down under the brooder and not come out at all for the first several hours.  This can be disconcerting if you're a new chicken mom and are worried about your flock, and you don't get to watch the cute chicks sleeping.  The other minor problem is that within a few days, your chicks will figure out how to hop on top and will spend some time roosting (and pooping) up there.  As our poop-free chicken waterer attests, deleting chicken poop from our lives is one of our goals, and I'm not relishing cleaning the brooder before the next batch of chicks.  Still, those minor inconveniences are worth putting up with to keep our chicks healthier and happier.  We won't be going back to the brood light anytime soon.

The brooder costs $60 plus $16 shipping and you might as well get it straight from Brinsea since no one else sells it any cheaper.  The Ecoglow 20 is big enough for 20 chicks and is what we have, but I've read that the 50 chick brooder ($130) will be coming out soon if you raise larger batches.  I'd skip the $20 "enclosure panels" since you can get the same effect by cutting some cardboard to make a barrier enclosing your chicks for their early days.



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It is funny you mentioned the chicken litter catching on fire. This actually happened to me when I was using a brooder light to keep my young chicks warm.

http://weekendhomestead.net/posts/chicken-coop-light/

As the chicks got a little bigger and more mobile, they ended up knocking my light down. When it came into contact with the wood chips, it was hot enough to start a fire.

Thanks for discussing this brooder that prevents that problem.

Comment by RDG mid-morning Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

Scary! That's never happened to us, but we did have an incident two years ago where the blowing ran tossed some droplets on the face of a heat lamp, and the combination of hot and cold made the bulb shatter, leading to cold chicks.

Oh, and now that I think about it, I'm wrong, we did almost start a fire once. I guess I blocked that out... :-)

The one addition to this review that I'd add after a year of use is --- pay attention to the temperature limits. 50 degrees Fahrenheit is the absolute minimum. I've read you will have better luck by putting a sheet of styrofoam under the brooder in extreme cold, but haven't tried it yet.

Comment by anna early Monday morning, March 5th, 2012

I use Contact paper on top of the clean EcoGlow prior to use, which makes subsequent clean-up for the next batch of fluffy-butts a breeze!

I hope this helps. :)

Kathy Shea Mormino The Chicken Chick http://www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

Comment by Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick Saturday afternoon, January 12th, 2013
When I had a mother hen with chicks-I noticed that she would take them back into the nest box at night--so chicks under a heat lamp are awake anytime of day or night-so they do not have a regular sleep cycle-this brooder sounds great-creating a more "natural" state-plan on buying the larger one--HHH Ranch
Comment by Vicki Silvius Monday afternoon, March 11th, 2013
Vicki --- I think you're totally right that this brooder is more natural for the chicks. I suspect that's why they peep so much less than they used to when we raised them with a light!
Comment by anna Monday afternoon, March 18th, 2013






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