Originally Posted by csneill
So after lurking on this forum the last couple days & trying to read as much as I can I'm going to make the MHP today for my 7 wellies that I got on Monday. Basically I think I need a frame, a heating pad, something to secure the heat pad to the frame press & seal & possibly a pillowcase to go around it all to keep any babies from getting stuck in the frame- does that all sound about right? I'll send pics when I get a set up. Also looking forward to getting these babies outdoors before the 'required' 6 weeks or whatever they say! 😀
Yep, you have the gist of the MHP brooder. The P&S is just to reduce the amount of chick poop you have to wash off the pad cover (the pillowcase or whatever you have used to make sure there is no way the chicks can get between the pad and the frame). If you have the cave covered with straw or shavings or whatever, I don't guess there would be a lot of poop on the cave cover.
The "required" period to go outside is "they don't need supplemental heat once they are fully feathered" which is usually by 4 weeks. With MHP, they can be outside from day one because you aren't trying to heat a large volume of air as you do with heat lamps. I can see keeping them in the house for a few weeks if you get them when it is sub freezing outside. Not for them but for us. Who wants to go out to sit and watch the new "chick TV" episodes when you are freezing your butt off? This time of year, any excuse to get outside (at least for those of us that have winter) is a GOOD thing.
Originally Posted by Serenashome
Well thanks to the great advice about the putting the MHP into a pillowcase so they can't get their little heads stuck in the wire frame from @Molpet we now have an updated version of our MHP.
We slid the frame and mat into a pillowcase, I slip stitched the bottom of the pillowcase to the wire frame so the pillowcase doesn't sag and placed a fresh towel on top.
Update on temp: The plant seeding mat we are using is holding at 95 without issue. They go right under it and come out to eat and play just like they should. All in all this has been a fabulous success. Our results (so far) appear to be exactly the same as @Blooie which is what we were hoping for as a best case scenario.
I cannot express how much I appreciate all the thoughtful advice and ideas we have taken from you all!
Are you measuring 95F on the pad or the air in the cave? If the latter, you might want to turn the pad down. As you know this is a "contact heat" method, not an "ambient air" method.
Originally Posted by Blooie
Having them inside for a week and then putting them outside will probably do nothing for skittishness. I'd say just spend more time with them out there, moving quietly and letting them come to you. @azygous is particularly good at having her outside chicks becoming very friendly, so I hope she'll chime in here.
I agree. Our first chicks were bathtub in the house heat lamp raised (this was pre MHP era) and were no more friendly (probably because the 5 fingered monsters that came in from the sky were SCARY) than the broody raised ones. For some reason tiny little prey animals fear BIG animals, I don't get it
All my birds are of a varying degree of "friendly". They will all come for treats but only some come REAL close to see what I am doing (which means "maybe the big ugly chicken will stir up some worms or other bugs for me to eat"). If you hope for "lap chickens", I suspect sitting down in their area with treats will be your best bet. But don't expect they will necessarily think you should be holding them. Like cats, some yes, some NO!!!!!!