Originally Posted by Blooie
Thanks, OH....I appreciate that very much. You know that I'm a firm believer in Mama Heating Pad. I prefer it over even the Eco Glow, not only because of the setup costs but because it's not open all the way around like the EG and I think they get much more of that darkness they need. They also seem to run into MHP when they get spooked, because they are hiding under it like they would under a hen, whereas under the Eco Glow they are still just as "in the open." What you said about dehydration and bug development in their systems makes perfect sense, and I wonder if it's not a combination of the two in my case because I brood outdoors in the run where the adults have been running around all of the time. I also like to toss a clump of sod in the brooder pen every so often for the same reason...early exposure to the substrate they'll be living on full time when they are bigger. Well, that and they love to dig and scratch at it and take dust baths in the dirt they knock off it.
That said, I'm always quick to say that MHP isn't the only way to raise chicks. If that were true we wouldn't have so many chickens raised very successfully under lamps, right? Like you, I respect very much the fact that each owner has to decide what will work best in their situation. MHP isn't right for all situations, and it does take a huge leap of faith to try it that first time.
I'm glad you don't get offended by me. I can certainly see the advantages of the MHP, who knows one day I may make the leap.
I brood later in the season so I don't run my lamp much, chicks get outside on the warm grass all day, I turn a big plastic bucket on it's side in the sun and it becomes a hot spot for chicks to sit in, so maybe that's my version of the heating pad.
I also get sod clumps and dandelions in for them to peck at and to acclimate them to my soils organisms.
I personally think people have troubles with heat lamps because their brooder are way too small and they are using the 250 watt bulbs in the house, which I never use, too hot. As well as they just leave them in the brooder the whole time. Chicks get bored after the first week or two and are mentally ready for some stimulation in the great outdoors.
For smaller set ups the heating pad would definitely work better. I brood larger groups sometimes, too many to fit under a hen or single pad.
I don't brood in the house ever, I have a nice building that I do it in, sunny, warm and a perfect situation.
And finally, I haven't seen any negatives to using my light. I have often wondered about the light on always, but mine seem to seek it out like it's a momma, and cry when it's not there.
I always enjoy learning new stuff and reading about your heating pad has been one of them. Thank you.