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Brooder Chicks vs. Mama Hen Chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mtngirl35, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. mtngirl35

    mtngirl35 Songster

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    I have raised chicks in a brooder and I have let broody hens raise chicks. My question has to do with heat requirements. I have watched chicks raised by a Mama Hen run around for hours in cool temps without getting under Mama for warmth and I have seen chicks sleep out from under Mama when the night-time temps are in the low 70's. And these are very young chicks that haven't feathered out yet. But the chicks I raised in a brooder seem to need high temps or they cheep and huddle up. It seems to me that the brooder raised chicks need more heat. Can anyone tell me why?
     

  2. duluthralphie

    duluthralphie Chicken Wrangler extrodinaire Premium Member

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    Give the brooder raised ones a chance to get away from the heat and they will.

    Move their feed and water away from the heat to force them to get out of the heat.

    Tey are being lazy and enjoying the heat is all, I move the water and feed on mine when it is 30 degrees outside...They learn to eat and drink fast. They scamper back to the heat..LOL
     
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  3. mtngirl35

    mtngirl35 Songster

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    Yeah, I keep the water and feed on the opposite end of the brooder from the light so they will have to move around. But if the temp drops a few degrees they raise a fit. They seem to be way more sensitive to temp changes than chicks raised by a hen and they nap a lot more, too.
     
  4. duluthralphie

    duluthralphie Chicken Wrangler extrodinaire Premium Member

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    Interesting. I let them chose the temp they want. But if they are going to eat they will have to leave the heat.

    Too much heat seems to make pasty butt, IMHO.
     
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  5. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Free Ranging

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    Try the Mama heating pad method, I think you will be happier with that. I have not had any broody raised chicks, but this last batch I used the heating pad. First day they did huddle underneath the pad to get warm/acclimated from being shipped - thereafter they spent their days out from under the pad, except to just get a quick warm-up. Nighttime temps dropped into the 40s the first couple of weeks in the building they were in - I still found them out from under the pad early in the mornings. They went completely outside at around 3wks - temps dropped to the mid 30s - chicks still did not use the heating pad, except for a quick warm up on windy days. They also seemed to feather in more quickly compared to those previously raised under a heat lamp. Another advantage of the heating pad is they have a better sleep cycle compared to having light 24/7.
     
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  6. mtngirl35

    mtngirl35 Songster

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    I'll give the heating pad a try next time. Right now I have 13 chicks with one of my hens so I probably won't get any more until Spring. I really don't like heat lamps because I'm afraid of a fire but my hens either go broody when I don't want any more chicks or I'm wanting chicks and can't find a broody hen to save my life. I lost a few hens to old age and a dog killed 6 more in February. So I was down to 3 hens and no rooster. I have been waiting since April for one of them to go broody and finally Mean Mama did. I bought her some day old chicks 2 days ago and they are running wild in the nursery coop with her. I'm so excited! I love to step out into the yard and have a heap of chickens come running my way! Luckily the neighbors who owned the chicken killing dog have moved away. None of the other dogs in the neighborhood bother the chickens. At least I had 3 hens left, though. A neighbor a few houses down lost their entire flock to that dog.
     
  7. debid

    debid Crowing

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    I switched to the heating pad this past batch too and no way would I go back to a lamp. I never saw a panting chick even once and they didn't do weird things like falling asleep in their food. As the sun started to set, they loaded their little crops and tucked in for the night just like the big chickens next door.
     
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  8. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Crowing

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    I have witnessed that behavior too between heat brooded and hen brooded.

    One year I inadvertently had both going...some feed store chicks in the artificial brooder and hen hatched chicks under a momma.

    My hen hatched chicks do as you say...run around in sub-freezing temps with nary a care. They feather faster, mature quicker, and overall are simply hardier.

    My feed store artifically lamped chicks suffer as stated...pasty butt, panting, but screaming if the heat is taken away. I personally wonder if the 24/7 light scrambles their brains. It definitely lowers their resistance as trying to transfer artificially raised chicks to integrate with hens often doesn't work well. Momma is willing but the silly chicks don't know to go to her for warmth and sit huddled to freeze. It's crazy.

    So back to thinking somehow the 24/7 artificial heat lamp (along with the unnatural egg incubation and hatching) somehow scrambles their instincts.

    I've not tried the heat pad method, but it sounds as close to a natural hen setting you can get without the hen.

    LofMc
     
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