Originally Posted by lalaland
I have the 25 chicks in a hoop coop, covered with a billboard tarp. THe brooder is sitting on an overturned stock tank, because I didn't want to get on my hands and knees every morning to deal with feed and water,e tc. So, it is about4 1/2 ' above ground.
It gets hot! the air temp in the hoop coop on the floor of the brooder was easily almost 90. I am trying to roll up the tarp up the sides to get some more air flow, but, the brooder has those 12' sides - so no draft at all. Having a little pasty butt (3 or 4 chicks out of 25, which I am attributing to the heat.
They are only 5 days old.
I have the heating pads on high at night - it was 44 degrees this morning. I lowered them to medium (only three settings) this afternoon when the sun came out and things were heating up - I would say 20 or so of the chicks stayed out of the MHP all afternoon, but a few were snoozing in there.
THink the sun and the hoop coop are adding a complication with lack of air flow. I am a little worried about the work week when I leave when it is 40 0r 50 degrees, out, and when it gets too hot in the coop by noon and I am gone....
Was it 48 degrees outside or was that in the brooder this morning? If it was in outside, you'd be surprised at how long a covered hoop coop holds heat, so it was probably warmer than that in the brooder. I agree with you - it's too warm. You don't need to turn the pad to High at night - there are 25 of them and they put out body heat in addition to what the heating pad is giving them. You can leave it at medium, pull the pad up higher, and see how they do. If you going to leave that billboard tarp, then during the day, turn MHP off completely.
If you can, I'd remove that billboard tarp. It's warm enough now. I know lots of people use them but this time of year it's really too much. We took our plastic off and got our landscape fabric tossed up over the hoop. Keeps most of the rain out, (rain runs right off the curved surface) provides shade, and air can circulate through. Warm air flows up and out instead of running into a solid barrier and just hanging there. There are two types of landscape fabric - the black one that looks kinda like black fabric particle board, and one that is black on one side and brown on the other, and it has tiny perforations in it. That's the one we use. I have 6 week old chicks that are fully integrated with the adults and have been for a couple of weeks, and I have 2 week old chicks (including granddaughter Katie's 7 Silkies) in the brooder pen. The brooder is just a wire pen within the run, with MHP at one end.. Our overnight temps are still in the upper 40s, low 50s and they are doing well. They can handle a little nip in the air better than overwhelming can't-go-anywhere-to-escape-it heat.
Finally, I know it's hard when you have limited mobility to tend chicks. So some kind of upright wire pen would get the chicks down low to the ground where it's cooler and save your back. Just partitioning off one little part for their use would make a world of difference for you and for them. I use a dog's x-pen. One side opens and I can walk right in.
*** Aand, I got a phone call while I was typing this and didn't get back to it right away. I see @Beekissed has offered you her usual good advice as well. I just love her "wings" on the outside but I'm afraid with our average 45 - 50 mph summer breezes the whole run would be found in Cleveland!