Brand New Chicken "mama" looking for input

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Sioranth, Mar 29, 2017.

  1. Sioranth

    Sioranth Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 28, 2017
    Brandywine, MD
    Hey everyone! So, I'm embarking wholeheartedly on this chicken adventure. Today, I picked up 1 Lavender Orpington, 3 Ameraucana, and 3 Australorps. I am using my old reptile cage and red lamp (current temp is about 88.5 so I need to readjust the lamp height/angle). The floor of the cage under the shavings is actually stone tile. I have a water dish filled with glass stones/marbles and the water just above the level of them. The top of the cage is all wire mesh for ventilation.

    Does this setup look okay to everyone? Anything that might be good to change or redo? I know it's important to keep everything super, super clean, including the chicks. Should I elevate the water dish a bit to keep shavings out and keep it cleaner longer? Should I add some "mini roosts" like small branches on the ground level for them?

    Also, they are actually not huddled under the lamp. They are all fascinated with the temperature probe hanging there and keeping banging it around like a tether ball. lol

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  2. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    I think the stone tile under the shavings might be acting like heat sink and warming the brooder from the bottom up as well as the top down. That lamp is my biggest concern (I hate those things with everything in me and won't have one within a hundred miles of here) and all I can say is that I hope to goodness it's anchored more securely than just with that clamp. It could be you have additional things holding it up but I'm just going by what I see, and what I see is a fire waiting to happen. Sorry, but it does scare me. The most important thing to do with heat lamps is secure, secure, secure, and when you think you have it secure enough secure it some more. [​IMG]

    Clean and chicks aren't going to go together no matter how fastidious you try to be. Otherwise all you are going to get done is cleaning the brooder. So don't stress over it too much, toss some dry right in on top of the soiled when you can, and let 'em be chicks. Lots of us, me included, toss a clump of sod in the brooder with them and let 'em have at it. They love it. They peck at it (getting little bits of grit at the same time) they climb up on it, they scratch in it, it exposes them to the ground they are going to be living on in a few weeks, and when it's broken down they dust bathe in it. Healthy and a great boredom buster.

    Having it up high like that and open in the front is a really good idea, not only so you can see them but so that they can see you approach. Chicks have a natural fear of things coming at them from above out of nowhere, so big monsters appearing at the brooder and plunging their hands in will cause a fright reaction that is hard to overcome.

    Chicks put out dust...a lot of dust. More dust than you can possible imagine. And there's chick dander mixed in that makes up some of that dust. So you want to be prepared for that as well. All in all, aside from that heat lamp clamped on like that and the fact that they aren't going to fit in there for long, it looks like a good setup.

    I haven't raised chicks inside now for a long time. I start them out in the coop and that's where they stay. We live in Northern Wyoming and during spring chick season here we can get down into the teens and twenties with snow. They do fine out there - in fact they do better than they do in the house, then having to gradually start turning down the heat, then gradually get them used to the dark, then a major move to outside. So they are tougher than we think. Common sense will be your best friend on this great adventure - when in doubt think to yourself, "If they were being raised outside with a Mama Hen, what would she (or they) be doing. Good luck!

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/yes-you-certainly-can-brood-chicks-outdoors

    And welcome to BYC~ So glad to have you.
     
  3. Sioranth

    Sioranth Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 28, 2017
    Brandywine, MD
    Thank you, Blooie! My husband actually rigged up the lamp like that (what can you do? lol) and I've since moved it because it wasn't warming the brooder enough anyway. I agree with you that those lamps can be very dangerous! I used to use cheaper lamps for my reptiles, like the Zoomed ones, and I actually had "almost fires" but it wasn't from the bulbs. The wiring coming out of the ceramic element actually became brittle from the heat, and eventually there were sparks and pops and oh my! I have since switched to using ones that have the wires insulated from the ceramic housing to make that less likely to happen and I keep a very, very good eye on them. I appreciate your concern!

    I'm not too worried about the dust. With 5 dogs in my house, three German Shepherds and two double-coated breeds, there is never a lack of "stuff" floating around on my floors. I could spend an entire day vacuuming and turn around and find dog fur on the floor. lol Plus, we've had 7 kids grow up in this house (down to just 3 now!) and so I've grown used to "constantly cleaning." :)

    I'm still building my coop but we live in Maryland and it's already in the 70s here during the day and we don't really have "winter" most years, so I expect that once they get too big for the brooder I'll be moving them outside anyway as the coop should be finished by then. Thanks for the link!
     

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