Boy, you said a mouthful there, @COChix! I swear sometimes if you sit real still by the brooder you can hear them growing!
I took the time to read back a few pages and see what everyone is doing. I'm seeing a lot of stuff that maybe is making the system a little more complex than it needs to be. I know that the entire Mama Heating Pad cave configuration seems too simple to work safely. But it's just that simplicity that makes it work so well. Too much fussing makes raising chicks this way almost as stressful on chicks and owners as the other brooder system with the lamp. So relax, set up your cave with the heating pad on the inside of the frame with bungee cords to prevent chicks from getting caught in the wires, and enjoy the experience of "being" a broody hen! That's the only change I'll be making since my first heating pad raised chicks. I've never had one get caught, but others have. Bee recommends doing it this way and there are very few people I have more faith in when it comes to raising chickens. So I plan on putting the pad inside the frame rather than draped over the top, and slipping the entire assembly in a pillowcase. Should be all you need to do to raise happy and healthy chicks!