Nothing ever goes as planned, that is inevitable. We have established that multiple times on this blog. I think you’ve gotten the point, but I just thought I would reiterate, once again.
We had planned to have several large batches of Icelandic chicks this Spring and Summer, but between predator attacks and everything else going on here, we had to take a step back from breeding Icelandics this year. In the meantime, I had been dying to try the Brinsea Products Inc. Ecoglow. We brood inside during the Winter months, and I did have a small batch of Icies due. Brinsea was kind enough to send us not one, but TWO of their Ecoglow50 brooders. Little did I know, I wouldn’t be able to use both of them this year, but maybe next. I hope!
Things were crazy around here and the last thing I wanted to do was deal with chicks. But more so, I had absolutely no desire to mess with a heat lamp in the middle of Winter while we were out and about. I had enough on my plate worrying about the woodstove, add a heat lamp to it? No thanks.
The Brinsea brooders came just in time — 2 days before hatch day. There was an instant sigh of relief and out of the box the brooder came.
It. was. huge.
Brinsea listened to my request and sent me their largest brooders, which would completely come in handy for 40+ chicks. Unfortunately, I only had a dozen chicks in my incubator at the time. The big hatches were not due until this Summer. But, none-the-less, I was going to try this baby out! I couldn’t wait.
So now, it’s time for the Pros and Cons. Yes, there are both. As with any product, nothing is perfect. But that doesn’t mean we don’t love the product. We LOVE this product. But I offered to give an honest review of the product, and I will do just that (as with any product review).
- I didn’t have to worry about a heat lamp catching my house on fire. With that said, we have never even had a “close call”. We have always screwed the heat lamp to a secure area in our basement. At the same time, there was always that “fear”.
- It was easy to assemble. I really didn’t even have to read the directions, but I did anyway. It was easy and painless. My style!
- The chicks loved it. It gave them that feeling of security that they needed, and they only had a heat source when necessary. It didn’t “fry” them with harsh heat, and they weren’t bothered by being under a light all day every day. This was really important to me, and I felt much better about it!
- It is easy to clean. Really really easy to clean. With a warm cloth and some white vinegar, I was able to clean it up and sterilize it in a jiffy.
- It is adjustable, making the heat adjustments less stressful on the chicks. As the chicks grew, the brooder grew. Whenever I would clean their tub out, I would slightly adjust the brooder so that it was raised a bit more. The process of taking them off of the heat lamp was more stressful than raising the brooder over the course of a couple of weeks.
- The power cord is really long. YES, thank the Lord. Honestly, as simple as this seems, it was my favorite feature. We all know that our chick brooding tubs and containers are never conveniently located near a plug. That’s always how it seems to go! I was able to plug the Brinsea brooder in a plug no where near their brooding tub. I was doing a little happy dance, because I absolutely loathe extension cords.
- It can easily fit 50 or more chicks. It was way too big for my mere 12, but it would definitely be a life saver with large hatches that we had planned this year.
- I couldn’t see the chicks. And that’s just a personal preference. I like to be able to see the chicks, and for my chicks to see me when I am walking around and doing chores near them. However, the first 48 hrs of a chicks life are extremely fragile. If I wanted to make sure they were all healthy and happy, I had to pull the brooder up off of them, which sent them into crazy mode, which they eventually got over.
- I couldn’t tell if they were warm enough. While I rid myself of the worry that the heat lamp would burn my house down, I gained the new fear that my chicks weren’t warm enough. Clearly, they all survived, which means they were warm enough. Their behavior ensured that they were happy. But it is hard to measure temperatures with the EcoGlow because the temp needs to be taken at the closest level to the brooder (top). The concept is that the chicks feel some heat off of the brooder, but the bulk of the heat comes from direct contact, which is also known as radiant heat. Therefore….my next issue….
- I couldn’t tell if the brooder was low or high enough. I know, now I just sound like a ditz. But I didn’t want them to be uncomfortable. After a few days, I got the hang of it. So this isn’t really a “con”, but just something to not stress about. You’ll get it!
- It can’t be used in cold temperatures. The EcoGlow is not sufficient if the room you are brooding them in gets below 50 degrees. It cannot be used in temps below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that it also cannot be used outdoors in unpredictable weather — be it Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter. In VA, our Spring days might be in the 80’s, but we’ve had Spring nights (and some Summer nights) get well into the 40’s. This also means that it can’t be used in our basement during the Summer months, because our basement gets quite cold (close to 50 at ground level on concrete) when the woodstove is not going. This is a big issue, and honestly the only deal breaker for us, because many times we brood outdoors with large batches of chicks, or indoors in the Summer. This is simply user specific, because of the way we run things here. I will be extremely excited and the first on the list should Brinsea come out with an outdoor brooder.
Amy K. Fewell is an author, family herbalist, entrepreneur, homesteader, and homemaker. Living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, her and her family live a natural homesteading lifestyle where they promote self-sufficiency and liberty. Amy is the founder of the Homesteaders of America organization and annual events. You can discover more on this website and at homesteadersofamerica.com