Brooder & Heat --having issues

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by 9281022, Apr 18, 2016.

  1. 9281022

    9281022 Out Of The Brooder

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    Okay, kinda freaking out a bit...let's ignore the fact that I am a little on the neurotic side for the moment...oh and I am new too.

    First & foremost I made a mama heating pad because I liked the fact that they could snuggle under it & heat lamps scare me. I've had it on all day and the sand underneath is not really warm. Is that normal? I have it about 2.5/3 inches hanging above. (is this even tall enough for them anyhow!?) The pad is laying on chicken wire & has a hand towel on top. Friday I put a puppy pad on top and within 20 minutes I had to take it off because part of it was turning black! Through the towel & everything, so this aspect made me feel a little better...that it was getting warm enough I suppose. I did buy two 75 watt heat bulbs today for a back up. I really only intend to use one though, two very last resort without the pad. I don't want chicken nuggets!
    Can a heat lamp rest on chicken wire?

    Also, looking at the grey tote this is where their food & water is...
    I know when i bring the little boogers home I need to introduce them to their water right away. But, now I am questioning the functionality of my brooder! To get my hand in there I will need to lift the lid...which in turn lifts the waterer! Any ideas? Also how far up should the bottle be? (I have a nipple)

    I thought about making a little trap door on top that I can swing open & close but....I have 5 cats. [​IMG] Which are very crafty I might add. The only doors they have not opened are entry doors! And two are very large (Maine Coons) and I worry their weight will push my little trap door open.

    I am feeling a little defeated at the moment, I thought I had it in the bag. I bring home my first set of babies tomorrow afternoon so don't have much time.

    Sooooo eggcited though on a side note!! [​IMG]

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  2. peopleRanimals2

    peopleRanimals2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok. When they are very little, they don't need a cover on the brooder. Mine started only flying out (about a foot) at one week. I would recommend a heat lamp, doubly because I don't really understand what you were saying about the heating pad. I'm assuming that you are getting your chicks at a couple days old. What I would recommend you doing is putting a ladder over the brooder, and hanging your heat lamp and water from it. (Waterer goes at back height, basically so that the chicks have to reach up slightly to drink from it.) the food can just sit on the ground. What you are looking for in the brooder is functionality. You want to be able to reach in easily, and be able to clean it out. You will also need to eventually upgrade to a bigger brooder. If the chicks are cramped it leads to pecking and health problems. If you are anything like me, you will also want to upgrade to add things like dust baths and perches :)

    Ladder over brooder:
    [​IMG]

    When they get bigger, you still want easy access, so what I did was put a roll of chicken wire over the brooder. It easily rolls back for access. I can cover it fully when I don't want them flying out.
    [​IMG]

    The heat lamp temperature, generally, starts at 95 degrees, and you decrease by five degrees every week of age. I judge when the lamp needs raising (make this easy also) by the chicks behavior. If they are always all huddled under the lamp, then I lower it, because they are too cold. If they all always sleep on the edges, then I raise it. The reason it needed to be raised is because when the chicks are all fluff, they can't control their body heat. When they start to develop feathers, they can control that more.

    Chicks playing in the brooder:
    [​IMG]

    See how they spread out?
    [​IMG]
    Spread out, indeed!


    Also, never put the food/water under the lamp. Put it in a place a little away, but not too far away. Make sure that there is space under the lamp for sleeping.
    [​IMG]
    You want to be able to do things like this when they get older, so make the brooder easy to play with the chicks in.

    Don't give up. Chicks are the best reward you can have. You'll find yourself running around looking for materials to give them the perfect something or other ;)

    If I forgot anything, just ask. Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2016
  3. peopleRanimals2

    peopleRanimals2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    And you want a good-quality heat lamp. These: [​IMG]
    Cause fires :oops:
    It might be more expensive, but it's worth it. A heat lamp could, technically, rest on wire, but you need to make sure that the wire doesn't heat up.

    Also, I very much like what you did with the two bins. The only thing is, you have to watch and make sure that they know where their food/water is and that it's not too cold. You may have to put another heat lamp above the food bin, but a little higher. Your overal setup is very cute, and I think it will work out great with some slight changes. Because of the cats, you might want to secure the chicken wire (if that is what you plan on doing) before they come home. Wrap it around the edges, or just put up a baby gate. That is what we did for our dog. Our chicks have the whole basement to themselves. You can try multiple things. Enforce a no-chicks rule. When our chicks had a pecking phase, we would 'peck' them every time they pecked one another. I like the idea of the lids on the bins. You could probably string the chains for hanging things through the wire on the lid if you use the ladder method. Hope this works out for you!
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2016
  4. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    Please stick with the heating pad! The temps measured underneath are deceptive. I'm a bit concerned with the puppy pad turning black, however. How old is your heating pad? If it's 30 years old, it may be malfunctioning.

    The principle behind the MHP system is direct contact. The chicks derive maximum heat by pressing their backs up against the pad. That way, as much as 100F transfers to their bodies. Underneath on the brooder floor, the temp may be between 75 and 85, depending on the ambient temp in the room. Do not worry this is not warm enough! It is!

    For that reason I like to secure my heating pad to the bottom of the wire frame. It also insures against chicks becoming tangled in the wire as they try to get as close to the heating pad as they can. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    I fasten the pad with several miniature bungie cords and place a towel on top of the cave with Press n Seal stuck to the towel so cleaning is simple.

    These chicks are a couple weeks old so that's why the frame is peeked and not squished down low. The beauty of the system allows for configuring the frame as the chicks' heat needs become less. And you will also be lowering the heat setting from high during the first week to medium during the second, and low by the third week.

    Please go over and join the Mama Heating Pad for the Brooder thread! They are eager to help new comers trying the system for the first time.
     
  5. peopleRanimals2

    peopleRanimals2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, I see now. Yes, I think that would also work well. It kind of mimics a mother hen. I still suggest the ladder if you are looking for a different way to hang the water though.
     
  6. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

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    This is really a cool way to brood chicks. I was going to brood my chick's this way. I have a seed germination Matt I was going to use that my tortious is using . It has a thermostat attached. But when I checked it the temperature controls just seemed really off to me and it just didn't feel like it matched the temperature it said it was and it didn't seem to be holding the heat correctly. I think something was "off" with my Matt and I didn't trust it with my chicks. So I decided to go a different route. I knew I didn't want to use my old heat lamp anymore because it's just too hot and dangerous. So I decided to go with the 20 chick Brinsea Ecoglow radiant heat brooder. The chicks caught on pretty fast and seem to really love it! At night they all sleep under it. During the day they come and go as they please. I really love it. NO worry about temperature. The 10 chicks fit perfectly under it but I'd get the larger size for more than 10. It adjusts as the chicks grow. I wish I'd got one sooner. I've been real happy with mine .so it's working out well.
     
  7. 9281022

    9281022 Out Of The Brooder

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    Wonderful idea guys! I really appreciate it oodles. I do love the ladder idea but I think my hubby would beat me with it if I brought it in the house! LOL He's already not too thrilled they're coming in the house, much less the front room. Dang Ohio weather! But I usually get my way. :D

    Ok, I just updated & I think this may work. I also am including pictures of how I did my heating pad so that there is a better understanding.

    First four is the heating pad, I suspended it so that I could easily move it higher as they grow. The pad seems to be holding the heat now, so I am a bit more comfortable! For my just in case back up I will use the 75 watt bulb, but place it in the grey tote. I figured that way I would be able to tell better if they're too warm etc. I will suspend that using a pot filled with sand with a shepherds hook! That way it is off the wire and I can easily move this up & down as needed. I think I may have to use the bulb for mornings only, house is still getting pretty cool. I'm sure the little fluff balls will tell me what I need to do! I think what I am going to end up doing is taking a piece of fabric and covering it with iron on vinyl for easier cleaning up!

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    Here is an updated easier access photo I just did. I went ahead and just placed the food on the floor & suspended the water on the tote itself. Now I can easily just take the lid off! Cats are making this more difficult on me, lol. Predator proofing! Also the second photo shows the height, is this going to be high enough for the little gals?

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    The countdown is DEFINITELY on now! My son gets home at 2:30 from class and we're on our way to get my first 3 babies! If my RA would let me, I swear I would do cartwheels! So excited & so nervous at the same time. Is being nervous a normal feeling for first time owners?

    Thanks again guys!!
     
  8. peopleRanimals2

    peopleRanimals2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I like the new design! I think the water should be a good height, and you can always adjust it. (And you will need to! ;) ) yup, exited and nervous is normal. When we got our second 3, I got home from school, checked the feed store's Facebook, and called my mom and yelled that we were going to get chicks today :D . She was already on her way home to pick me up :p . I am glad that you figured this out, and I would love it if you posted pictures of your new babies! Have fun!
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. peopleRanimals2

    peopleRanimals2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How are your chicks?
     
  10. 9281022

    9281022 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 31, 2016
    Ohio
    Are brooders & coops like the Winchester home? lol Seems like they're never ending & I'm always changing things.

    Here we are now...I brought home the cuties! I think the heating pad tote was too hot for them because they really didn't want to mess with that side at all. I had decided that I couldn't see the little things through the blue tote to see what they were doing under the pad, so I switched the heating tote to a clear one. Much better, but once I removed the pad they were running around having a good ol' time in the new tote. So I was like "well ****"...let me remove the heating pad and go with the lamp since they seemed to love the openness so much. So that's where we are at now. Wished they would have told me that before I went through making (cutting) another brooder! [​IMG] I have since put puppy pads in the clear tote, they wouldn't stop eating the sand. I know they need it in their diet, but this young? So much? Do they eat & drink a lot on the first day? They really wasn't messing too much with the food until I threw it on the puppy pad!

    I also thought on the way down to get them that dang, little furry paws (cats) will definitely fit through the chicken wire so I also doubled the wire up & staggered it so that the holes were smaller. On the grey tote I decided to leave the zip ties long in hopes it would deter the cats from jumping up there.

    I took a 5 gallon bucket & filled it with sand and stuck a shepherds hook in it to hang their light! Needless to say "chick corner" is looking pretty trashy with all the mismatched containers & duct tape! LOL O'well...it works I suppose.

    [​IMG]
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