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Too Cold?!?!

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I just got 9 new chicks from my local agway (was 8 but they gave me an extra chickūüėĄ) . I am using the mama heating pad in a dog crate in my living room. There's no auto shut off setting and it is on the highest switch. When they came home I put them in there and they quickly found the heat and went to sleep. When I woke up they weren't out either and the food hadn't been touched. When I lifted the towel up they were all huddled in a ball under the cave. This is probably a really stupid, paranoid question but is it too cold and is that why they aren't coming out to eat? Do I need to show them how or will they eventually come out for themselves?
post #2 of 3

It's new.  Chicks, like adults, don't do "new" well at all.  Without seeing your setup, it's hard to say if there's an issue there.  Sometimes in the beginning people tend to arch the frame of their cave too high, more like a tunnel than a low cave.  Chicks like the heat right at their backs.  Mama heating pad doesn't work by heating the entire space the chicks are in - it heats the chicks directly.  Think of it as a broody hen without feathers.

 

If they were in a feed store environment, they had hot lights on them 24/7 - now suddenly it's dark and chilly away from the constant heat source.  "Whoa, what happened???  I ain't moving from this spot."  This isn't something we want because they can pile up and the chicks in the middle can suffocate or get trampled. So the first thing I'd do is gently reach your hand under there and herd them out, just to make sure they are all moving alright.  Then see to it that they can find the food and water.  Do that a few times a day until they start moving in and out on their own.  Most people don't have to "train" chicks to Mama Heating Pad - they pick up on it almost instantly and start seeing to their own comfort.  But every once in awhile a group comes along that seem to need more help.  Sometimes it's an issue that we can fix by slightly changing the setup.  Other times it's just one really stubborn chick and the rest follow his/her lead.  

 

If you want to wander over to the Mama Heating Pad thread and post some pictures your setup and ask questions, there are lots of really great people there who are ready and willing to help.  Some have had the same experience you are seeing, and their input can be invaluable. They'd actually know more how to address your concerns than I do because this isn't an issue I've had.  Now, that doesn't mean you are doing anything wrong - it just means that I've been lucky and haven't run across a stubborn batch of chicks that don't seem to "get it" right away.  I'm sure sure somewhere along the line, I will!  :idunno

 

Photos can help a lot. I see that this is your first post, so you may need to post several more times before you are "allowed" to post pictures.  This is pretty standard for BYC in their efforts to reduce spam, so don't panic!!  You can still post over on the thread and explain what's going on then after a few more posts your pictures can be posted.  In the meantime we'll offer you whatever advice we can!  We want MHP to work as well for you as it does for us!!  

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/956958/mama-heating-pad-in-the-brooder-picture-heavy-update

post #3 of 3

If you bought them as day-olds, they won't have an appetite for food until the third day since they will still be absorbing their yolk sack. When I brought home my one-day olds a month ago, they just ate sand the first day and barely touched their food the second, but by day three, katie-bar-the-door! I couldn't keep the dish full!

 

Check out Blooie's thread and make sure you have the cave frame at the proper height. It should be touching the chicks' backs. And make sure the covering comes down on all but the front so there aren't any drafts.

 

Why not just move your chicks out to their coop and brood them there? They will feather out quicker and have way more room. And much more fun. The heating pad system is ideal for outdoor brooding. Check out my article linked below my post to see all the benefits to it for you and your chicks.

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