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Chicks don't want to use heat plate

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Our 2 week old chicks used our Premier heat plate for the first week or so (primarily to sleep in and then they were up and about during the day, occasionally going under the heat plate for a bit of extra warmth), but in the past few days they barely use it.  They have been sleeping all together at night (but not under the heat plate) and are pretty active and chipper during the day, using the plate very sporadically.  The temperature in the coop at night ranges from high 50s to mid 60s (this is about the same as when we first got them)- this is about the same temperature as week one.   I've adjusted the height a bit to accommodate their growth and have one side that is lower than the other.  


The chicks are energetic, growing and seem healthy.  But I am worried that they are not using the heat plate?  Should I be?  And if so, how to get them back under the plate at night?  Maybe I need to make the height even higher (is there a recommended height for 2 week old chicks?

post #2 of 8

Heat isn't something like dietary nutrition that chicks need for development. Instead, heat is something you provide so they can self regulate their body temperature. Since they lack feathers for insulation, they lose body heat according to the ambient temperature. If it's warm, they lose less body heat, cold, they will lose body heat quicker.


So you provide a heat source for them to re-heat their bodies as they lose heat. Since your ambient temps are fairly mild, the chicks need very little heat. With the heat plate, they are far more able to adjust their heat needs and wean themselves off heat far sooner than with a heat lamp which heats a much larger space.


So what's happening is your chicks are weaning themselves off heat in splendid time. Continue to provide the heat source for them, and leave it up to them when and how long they use it.

post #3 of 8
How hot do you have the plate? It sounds like they find the plate too hot, can you turn down the temperature?
post #4 of 8
I have 2 1\2 weeks old chicks and went through the same thing with the Brinsea brooder. It's similar to what your using. I did raise the height and now more go under to sleep but the larger girls sleep together in a pile still or in front of the brooder. Like you I was concerned but figured if they were cold they know how to get warm. They have been fine. Thank God, so maybe it's too warm for them?
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

@ Farm wife - no, there is no adjustment.  It's actually only warm right under it, so I don't believe it's too hot.  I went out just now and raised it up a bit more, which will hopefully encourage them to sleep under it if they want.

post #6 of 8
I see, I have not used the hot plate, only a hot pad. I just assumed they came with adjustable temperatures.
But the others are correct, your birds sound like they are very content.
post #7 of 8

Your chicks are probably feathering out much quicker than chicks you may have had in the past under a heat lamp. Since the hot plate heats only the space underneath, the chicks are getting the full benefit of cooler ambient temps, and that encourages feather development, thus they don't need as much heat now that they're feathering out.


Your chicks are probably not in need of heat much at all during the day, and probably use it only at night when it's cooler, and you're not seeing them.


Unless you're afraid you aren't getting your money's worth out of the heat plate unless the chicks use it more, it's really a very good thing your chicks aren't needing it as much. It means they are developing at a very good pace. They will be ready for the coop in record time.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys! I'm thrilled if they don't need it smile.png just wanted to make sure I am keeping them warm enough as its my first time having baby chicks and we put them in an outdoor coop But theur wings are feathering out and they were using the heat plate a bit today so that's all good news. Plus I took them on a chick field trip to the greenhouse today - nice and warm!
Edited by RBGChicks - 5/1/16 at 4:15pm
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