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Sitting here a nervous wreck while chicks are at home unsupervised

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Some of you may be familiar with my recent posts since I'm brand new to the world of baby chicks.  After learning a hard lesson about heat lamps and losing one of my eight chicks, I decided to move to the mama heating pad.  After another learning experience and getting the chicks used to their new cave, I woke this morning to 7 happy chicks that stormed out of their cave about a minute after I turned on the light and made a mad dash to the food dish.  They were cheeping and hanging out on top of the cave while the kids and I were getting ready to leave.  They weren't huddled up as if they were cold, but the occasional loud cheep had me somewhat concerned, so I placed them all back into the cave to make sure they understood that is where the warm spot is.  They found it last night no problem as I turned out the light and watched them get nestled in.  

 

Now I'm sitting here at work being a nervous wreck about whether they are ok or not.  This is the first day they are truly unsupervised at home since my wife had to work today as well.  Debating on whether I should drive home at lunch to check on them since it's about a 25 minute drive, or if they will be fine until my wife gets home around 3.  Should I be concerned, or should they be fine since they made it through the night with no issues?  None of them seemed to be stressed at all this morning, so I'm fairly certain I finally have the setup dialed in.

 

Here they are at the food dish after bum rushing it when I turned on the light this morning.  

 

post #2 of 9
They will be fine. Unless you've had a power cut they will know where warmth is. I have recently brooded a few batches of chicks in quick succession and the anxiety goes quickly. The heating pad definitely beats the heat lamp for low stress.
post #3 of 9

I couldn't agree more!  They will be just fine.  I brood mine outside from the start, so I'm only out there during chore time and to gather eggs from the Bigs.  The Littles do just great.  They are spending their time doing exactly what they'd be doing with a real broody hen - they're running around exploring, taking in this big new world, finding little tidbits of missed food as they dig through the bedding, and learning that they are chickens.  We tend to treat them like divas at times, which does them a great disservice when we take them from this protected, hovered-over brooder life they are used to and thrust them into a great big outdoors that they don't understand and don't like one little bit at first.  So allowing them to do all the things they would do with Mom, and giving them the ability to regulate their own comfort is a huge leap of faith for us, and a huge gift to them.

post #4 of 9

If you have done everything you are supposed to do, provided the warmth, the water and food and the have the warm and cool zones to roam around in, they will be fine.  My new little ones have been home in the brooder now for just over 24 hours.  Put them in yesterday morning, settled them in and came to work.  They are doing well and eating like little piglets.  I am anxious to get home to check on them, but I don't worry about them.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you both for helping me feel more at ease.  I honestly don't know how I never heard about the MHP while doing my research prior to getting my chicks.  Not once did I see any reference to this setup which seems to be safer, easier, and better than the heat lamp setup.  I will definitely do my part to help spread the word to anyone who is starting out.  I just wish I had heard of it prior to getting started.:he

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by knightgang View Post
 

They are doing well and eating like little piglets.  

Mine have been chowing down too.  I didn't know little chicks could eat so much. I had to refill their container yesterday after only having them for two days at that point.  I imagine I need to introduce chick grit this weekend as they will be a week old.  At least that's what I've read in my research.  Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on this.  They are on Manna Pro medicated starter crumbles right now, so hopefully I haven't already screwed up by not having grit in there for them?

post #7 of 9

I have 33 in my brooder.  For that reason, I am sticking with the heat lamps.  The brooder is good size so they can roam into different temp zone areas.

post #8 of 9

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robblob View Post
 

Mine have been chowing down too.  I didn't know little chicks could eat so much. I had to refill their container yesterday after only having them for two days at that point.  I imagine I need to introduce chick grit this weekend as they will be a week old.  At least that's what I've read in my research.  Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on this.  They are on Manna Pro medicated starter crumbles right now, so hopefully I haven't already screwed up by not having grit in there for them?

I just raised 19  that are now about 20 weeks old.  Chick grit may be a good idea, but I did not know about it.  They were on starter/grower crumble until about 16/17 weeks and I moved them to layer feed for about a week then to my own blend.  Now, at 16 weeks, they started free ranging the back yard, but I have not offered them grit.  They are very healthy birds.  Feeding crumble to the chicks, I am not sure now necessary the grit is.

 

Not sure that helps, but offering it to them certainly can't hurt.

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robblob View Post
 

Mine have been chowing down too.  I didn't know little chicks could eat so much. I had to refill their container yesterday after only having them for two days at that point.  I imagine I need to introduce chick grit this weekend as they will be a week old.  At least that's what I've read in my research.  Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on this.  They are on Manna Pro medicated starter crumbles right now, so hopefully I haven't already screwed up by not having grit in there for them?

Nope, and as long as they are eating just chick starter they don't need grit.  Grit is only when you start feeding them foods other than starter.  Me, I'm kinda of the school that puts a big clod of dirt into the brooder, soil, roots and all, when they are about 4 days old.  At first they act like you dumped an alien being in there and that being is going to eat them alive.  But soon they wander over, start exploring it, and they are in love!  They scratch in it, they dig in it, they take in the little sand particles in it, and as they break it all down they dust bathe it the remnants.  It also boosts their immune systems and prepares them for the ground they'll be exposed to as adults.  Win, win!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by knightgang View Post
 

I have 33 in my brooder.  For that reason, I am sticking with the heat lamps.  The brooder is good size so they can roam into different temp zone areas.

Mama Heating Pad is great, but it isn't appropriate in all  situations.  I try to make that real clear.  Now, that said, we do have some folks who have upwards of 30+ chicks and they simply butt 2 pads side by side over a larger frame.  But you've got it covered since yours have some cool zones.  Cooling is actually critical to their development!  If you like what's working for you, then by all means, stick to it!  MHP is a good system but it sure isn't the only way!  ;) 

 

Edited to add: @Robblob  One of the things I like about MHP is that they get day/night cycles from the start.  They aren't eating 24/7 - at night they go to sleep and sleep all night through.  Sure helps save on some food!


Edited by Blooie - 4/8/16 at 9:14am
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