I raised my first five chicks last fall with the Mama Heating Pad. The brooder was set up in my house and it was a great success. Now, I am raising my second set of chicks. I am using the Heating Pad again but this time I am raising them in the coop with the other birds. Everything is going well. They are in a cage in the coop. They are just over two weeks old now. When I am home I let them out in the run. They absolutely love that. My hope is that this will make integration easier. So far it has been fine. The big girls do not love the idea. Even though the chicks have been out in the run for a week now my older hens still chase them and scream at them. Some times it seams pretty violent but there has been no blood and the chicks have not been hurt. They have plenty of safe areas to run to.
At two weeks they have feathered out quite a bit. I don't think the ones I raised in the house were as feathered at two weeks. The heating pad has been set to 2 for the last two nights. We may have a drop in temps next week so I might have to bump it up a notch, we will see. So far, the only down side I can see to raising them in the coop and letting them run around the in the run all day is that they are very independent. They are nowhere near as personable as my first batch. I try to handle them as much as possible but they are a little skittish. With my first batch, in the fall, they would get very excited to see me. They would all hop up on my arm, preen for a while, then go to sleep on me. These new ones will hop on my hand for a second or two if they are in their cage. If they are in the run? Forget about it. There are too many way more interesting things to do. They don't come running to me and are sort of a challenge to wrangle back into their cage in the evening. I guess this is the trade off. I am hoping that when they are grown they will at least not be afraid of me when I approach them. My older girls come running when they hear the screen door and they will follow me around the yard. Once the new ones are big enough to hang out in the yard with them I hope they will pick up these traits as well.
These pictures were taken four days ago (about two weeks old). They are even more feathered now.