My goodness....busy morning here on the MHP thread.....easy to tell that chick season is coming up. The enthusiasm is contagious and I can't wait until my hatching eggs get here!
Originally Posted by muddyflipflops
Well after a night of insomnia, i decided to research all things chicken !!! Upon googling I stumbled upon this site and oh how blessed that I did. This site is amazing, I gave in and joined the "byc family"!! Our new babies are due to hatch March 1-8. I ordered them from a hatchery about 45 mins away, so we will drive and pick the little ones up in person. These will be our first batch. We have most of our coop ready for them, we just have to build the outside area, along with their nesting boxes, and all their roosting post. I am getting our chick box ready @blooie and @aart already my two favorite people on here!!! I was of course going w the heat lamp just because that's all I have seen but was already worried about the lamp being hot around my kids, fire hazards, not to mention the electricity the things use... Now well that is so gone now !!! I am starting my mama heating pad this weekend !!!!!! I have read so many ideas through out this thread !!! Being mostly a "crunchy mama" anything natural I am all for and the fact the the little chicks feel like they are near a mama ben I LOVE!! my first step is trying to decide what to make move out of.... I had a question for @aart... I seen that you made a flat board for your hearing pad, am i correct that you lay your heating pad directly over the board? If so does plenty of heat radiate through the board to the chicks? Do you then cover it with towel then hay or shavings like others have done? I have seen cylinders, wires, cake racks, etc... I was worried about the holes and the chicks getting stuck... Also @blooie I read you no longer use sealing wrap...do you just wrap it in a towel now? I have also seen puppy pads which we have plenty of !!! They seem even easier then paper towels; will the chicks eat or peck at the plastic lining.... ? Thank you guys so much along w others on this site providing so much info to the newbies like myself ( my parents have chickens so I have indeed been around chickens for years but now my little family has land time to start our own
)... Look forward to hearing from all !!
@aart uses her heating pad flat on an oven rack and it has worked very well for her. I prefer to use a frame because I like the arch in it - brings the pad all the way down the sides as well as across the top. I have chicks who like to snuggle along the sides of it, too. I also like it because it is dark under there, like Mama Hen. There really isn't a wrong way - folks are using it like @aart and others use it like me and get equally good results.
I just use a bit of fence formed into an arch for the frame. I can raise it, or just smoosh it down closer to the chicks if they need more warmth. For the first few days, they like that heat right at their backs. Yep, chicks can get caught in the wires, although having raised Scout and three batches of chicks I've never had it happen. I think @azygous did have that happen, but honestly with so many wonderful folks using this sometimes the names sorta blur together. @Beekissed puts the heating pad on the INSIDE of the frame and holds it in place with bungee cords - I think @lazy gardener does that too. I do use the Press 'n Seal over the towel if they are in the house for fast and easy cleaning, but when I'm raising the chicks outside I discovered that was just too much work. The beauty of this system is it's total simplicity and I can't see complicating it, so outside now I just wrap the heating pad in an old pillowcase, drape the wrapped heating pad over the frame and then pile the straw over top, around,and under it. I can't remember what page it is but there are pictures of Bee's set up with the heating pad inside the frame. I'll see if I can find it and then edit this post with a link.
I've never used puppy pads but others have. So I can't answer your question about that. Somebody said they tried them and their chicks pecked it apart, but again I can't remember who. Most folks haven't had any complaints. Me, well, if the chicks are inside on pine shavings I just cover it with paper towels until they learn where their food is so that they aren't trying to eat the shavings. I also use large flake shavings as they are a little less likely to eat 'em. You do have to remember that I no longer keep any chicks in the house past their 24 hour arrival/inspection time. I keep them in the first day to make sure they know how to eat and drink, and that none are suffering from shipping stress, then they go out to the run into their pen.
Originally Posted by dyorto
I live in Michigan and I had 3 chickens last year that I raised with the light, but I'm looking to get 6 more this year and am really interested in doing the heating pad method after reading all these great posts. Is there a link to the instructions on how to create one and what type of heating pad to use?
On the second page of the thread there is a link to the correct heating pad.
I found the same one in the smaller size at Walmart. Make sure you look on the box and see that it has a "stay on" function - a setting that you can switch on so the pad doesn't go off every couple of hours. And just recently @henless found a Sunbeam heating pad that can not only stay on, it can turn itself back on in the event of a power outage - I'll be looking into that one! Here's that link:
She tested that "turn back on" function and it worked perfectly.
There are no real "instructions" for how to do this....just use your common sense and you'll be fine. The beginning pages of the thread are loaded with photos and videos and those will help a lot. Some of the things that have been used for frames are less successful. You won't run into that if you just remember that the chicks need the heat close to their backs that first week or so and use something without a super high arch.
Remember everyone, that your dues to the Broody Brigade are due when you get your chicks! Those dues are photos....but we do accept videos too!
As promised, here is the page of the thread with Beekissed's heating pad setup on it!
Edited by Blooie - 1/23/16 at 10:01am