Brinsea EcoGlow 20 Chick Brooder Review
Brinsea is one of my favorite brands by now. Active since 1976, they have forty years of experience in chicken breeding related products. With a strong focus on innovation they have some of the highest quality products available. In this review I’ll check whether the Brinsea EcoGlow 20 chick brooder holds up to that standard.
Brinsea EcoGlow 20 usage
Brooders are used for the first four weeks after the hatching process. During this time the little chicks are still very vulnerable, and neat an external source of heat. Common other options include using a brooder hen or a 250 Watt lamp. However, not everyone has a brooder hen available all the time, especially not if you are hatching many chicks at once. Lamps can be used for brooding as well, but they are often more dangerous and eat a lot of energy away, making it the least ecologically friendly option. And neither are those lamps too friendly for your energy bill.
Brooders like the EcoGlow 20 are specifically designed to be safe, high quality, and energy efficient. They are definitely better than using lamps or the like, and the best option without doubt if you don’t have access to a brooder hen.
Brinsea EcoGlow 20 capacity
The Brinsea EcoGlow 20 is designed to brood up to 20 chicks at a time. 20 one day old chicks will work perfectly, but if you are planning to brood them for four weeks, it may get very crowded. If you have a chicken breed known for large chicks that grow fast in the first four weeks, it might be better to stick to 16 chicks maximum.
Brinsea EcoGlow 20 temperature
The temperature of the Brinsea EcoGlow 20 is very reliable. The brooder warms up nicely, but doesn’t get too hot. It’s safe to put your hand directly on it, and chicks can touch the EcoGlow without burning. The EcoGlow mainly works with radiant heat (Wikipedia link), which means that the air itself doesn’t heat up as much, but instead only heats up the first solid object that it comes in contact with. Much like sunshine doesn’t heat the air but only the things that lie in the sun. This leads to a very comfortable area for the chicks.
It is important to give the chicks some room to move away from the brooder if they feel that that is necessary. That way they can cool off a bit if they feel too hot. The easiest way to allow this is to put the EcoGlow in a box about twice the size of the EcoGlow itself, allowing the chicks to roam around freely within the small area.
Lastly the Brinsea EcoGlow 20 comes with a limitation, which is that the room in which the brooder is placed should be at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit. As such, the brooder is mainly meant for indoor usage. It is possible to use the brooder outside, but only if your local climate permits it.
Brinsea EcoGlow 20 power consumption
The Brinsea EcoGlow 20 uses about 14-20 watt on average. The power consumption is dependent on the room temperature of where you use the Brinsea EcoGlow. If you are using it inside an already pretty warm room the usage will be 14 watt or less, while if you use the EcoGlow in a room that is 50 degrees Fahrenheit (recommended minimum temperature for usage) the power consumption will be about 20 watt.
Compared to using a 250 watt lamp, the electricity savings are worth about 10-15$ for a four week period. Besides being ecologically friendly, this may save you some money in the long run. If you are brooding chicks all the time, the EcoGlow 20 will have paid for itself in a little over half a year.
Brinsea EcoGlow 20 design
The EcoGlow 20 is made ABS, one of the sturdiest plastics there is. ABS is also highly hygienic, although due to being plastic it can feel a bit flimsy. The height of the heating element can be adjusted, there are three levels total. The lowest level may not be low enough for zero day old chicks, in which case you may want to put some wood shavings beneath it. If after four weeks the chicks are too large for the highest level you can raise the heating element further my placing some bricks below the legs.
Some chicks quickly learn that it is great fun to jump on top of the EcoGlow. This is entirely safe, and doesn’t result in any risks. It looks pretty cute as well. What looks less cute is the manure they may leave on top. If your chickens jump on top regularly, I strongly recommend cleaning the top off every 1-2 days. Just wiping it with a wet towel should be enough.
The best part of the design when compared to using more conventional 250 watt lamps is that the EcoGlow 20 doesn’t explode. Conventional heat lamps have the tendency to explode occasionally. If you are lucky some of your chicks die, and if you are unlucky you were standing next to it. (Seriously, never stand close to heat lamps. Always turn them off first). The EcoGlow doesn’t work with high watt lamps, and thus has no risk of exploding.
Overall the design is extremely reliable, although the height adjustment and the manure issue are minor inconveniences.
Key spec overview
- Capacity: 20 chicks
- Size: 12 x 8 x 8 inch
- Weight: 3 pounds
- Temperature control: excellent, fully stable, no burn risk
- Power consumption: 14-20 watt average, depending on room temperature
- Material: High quality ABS
The Brinsea EcoGlow 20 is yet another high quality product from Brinsea. It does exactly what it says it should, and it is surprisingly energy efficient. The energy savings of the EcoGlow 20 will pay for the device in 7-9 months if you use it constantly. If you don’t mind cleaning chicken manure once every 1-2 days, the design is very solid. If you do mind, the design is just okay.
Compared to the competition, such as the Premier Chick Brooder (Amazon link), the Brinsea EcoGlow is relatively cheap. While usually Brinsea products come at a 100% premium, the price difference for brooders is not that big. The Premier Chick Brooder is one of my favourites, so feel free to check out my Premier Chick Brooder review. Do keep in mind that the Brinsea EcoGlow 20 is meant for indoor use, or at the very least somewhere where the temperature is over 50 degrees Fahrenheit. When using it under the proper conditions, the brooder does its job perfectly.
I would recommend the EcoGlow 20 for anyone who wants to regularly breed little chicks. The energy savings are superb, and the EcoGlow is an overall solid product. However, if you are looking to brood only a few chicks once, you may want to look at cheaper options such as the Philips Heat Lamp (Amazon link). If you may have more than 20 chicks at a time, check out the bigger version. The Brinsea EcoGlow 50 (Amazon link) can hold up to 50 chicks at once, and would be an excellent choice.
Looking to breed a few little chicks more than thrice? I believe the EcoGlow 20 may be the best choice for you. Check the Brinsea EcoGlow 20 on Amazon