I know that those who have Sweeter Heaters really love them, and for very good reasons. Since the goal is healthy chicks, and since there are so many really good options out there as far as Eco-glows, etc., it does make a person wonder why anyone would want to use a simple heating pad. That's a pretty good question, and a very fair one.
My reason for preferring the heating pad cave setup has little to do with the logistics of heating. If I was just interested in that, I could use just about anything, even a space heater cranked up. What I'm trying to do, and what all the other folks who have tried this are trying to do, is duplicate a broody hen as closely as possible. With all of their virtues, the thing that bothers me most about heat plates in general is that they are are hard, and they are wide open. Yep, that's it. (Well, that and I frankly just can't afford all of those other options.)
The heating pad is a soft heat - that is to say it's a heat source that also happens to be soft. It drapes all the way down the sides of the metal frame, forming a cave. A mother hen doesn't stand on her tiptoes and let the chicks just sit there in the open air space between her and them - she covers them. Light is excluded. Stimulation is excluded. It's a dark, peaceful, warm, secure place under there. And that's what we are trying to duplicate with the heating pad cave.
Does everyone have to like it? Heavens, no!! Truth be told, when I originally started the thread on using Mama Heating Pad in the brooder instead of heat lamps, I wasn't trying to "convert" anyone. I'm still not. I suggest it because I believe in it, but I certainly won't shove it down anyone's throat. I was simply saying, "Hey, this is what I did, this is who I copied (Patrice Lopatin and Beekissed), this is how I did it, and this is why I continue to use it." I never in a million years expected the response this has received, and I never imagined that so many people were as disillusioned with the conventional ways of raising chicks as I was.
So by all means, if someone is more comfortable using any other method to raise their chicks, they won't get any arguments from me. What works best is what works for them and for their chicks, be that a heat lamp, Sweeter Heater, or EcoGlow. I have learned that a lot of "chick raising" boils down to confidence, and you simply have to have confidence that you are doing the right thing for yours. When you have that, your chicks are calmer because you are calmer. And you can relax and enjoy the entire process. For me that just happens to be providing my chicks with an environment that duplicates the way a broody raises her chicks.
Edited by Blooie - 2/7/16 at 8:25pm