Originally Posted by chooklover10
Can you use it from day one? Or are the chicks to young and need more heat?
Well of course I have to wait until the chicks don't need moving from the incubator into some other box that has food and water, but the timing is based on how much their cheeping annoys me in my bedroom. Which is just a few days I guess. The last batch I recall fixing up a heater for them indoors, so I guess there were just a few weeks for them, but I guess I'll be able to give you a good answer because I have some hatching tomorrow tonight and the next few nights and then maybe in a week later (somewhat disastrous incubation this time with eggs going in at different times and I think that caused the die-off in some of the smaller eggs.)
I do want to make a proper low energy substitute for a heat lamp. Heat lamps are far too primitive and wasteful, and hard to get in some places like here. I have a decent few thermostats so I'll add some 1 - 10 watt heat elements into a rag chicken (forget what it is called, the thing chicks can hide under to keep warm, it's fluffy).
There is very very little heat needed for the fridge though, it keeps the majority of heat in, radiant heat from the chicks is virtually trapped inside. The cold that gets in powers, and I guess super-charges, the ventilation in comparison to nests of things like burrowing Owls. Of course chickens, like parrots, will just nest in random cavities without worrying about stuffiness.
As a rule, I would say if you have a tunnel that is a bit larger than the animal, then it could wind into the fridge and block exposure to the cold outside. If there are a few chicks, and so long as they have food going into them and poop coming out of them, then they regulate their own heat pretty well. I DO put food inside of the fridge, and water, and a light to see them both by, for the chicks, so I guess there is less to worry over exposure-wise.
If you don't want to give them heat, I would make sure that they have a good bundle of cloth or towel with a lovely cavity inside of it, inside the fridge. Food, water, and light inside so they don't get exposed to the cold and a bit of a turn inside the door to stop direct exposure, then I doubt that they'd be unhappy with the fridge 'cavity nest' under any conditions.
Though I guess I like to get the little critters to know their parent, me, for a bit longer than just a day. So I probably keep them inside, close to me, for a week or two generally.
I'll keep you posted on this next batch.