Can someone help me figure out how to make a heating pad brooder?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ChickenHawk12, Nov 9, 2016.

  1. ChickenHawk12

    ChickenHawk12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I hatched 6 RIR chicks from an incubator 1 week ago. So far I have them in a brooder (a large plastic storage tub with a hardware cloth lid) under a heat lamp. I didn't really want to brood them in the house this time, but I hadn't come up with another solution by the time they hatched.

    I would like to move them to the garage for a week or two, and then out to the coop with my 3 grown hens.

    I came upon the MHP thread and bought a heating pad but I have terrible spatial skills and can't figure out how to build something proper with what I have.

    I build this pen over the summer as a diy broody buster and my thought was to put this in the coop with the chicks in there.


    [​IMG]

    It's a simple wood frame I nailed together and stapled chicken wire over. The top isn't stapled down in one corner and can be bent back for getting in and out. I have chicken wire, press and seal, carpet scraps, a few pvc lengths, and some scrap wood.

    They are 1 week old and I've been keeping the lamp pretty far away and trying to get them used to a lower temp. The thermometer is reading about 85 degrees in the lamp side of the brooder, and they aren't huddling under it.

    I would like to transition them to the garage in the next few days, ditching the lamp for a heating pad. And then after a week or two in the garage, put them out in the coop.

    I am also concerned about the hens picking on them. I read a post about making a door bignore enough for the chicks but too small for the hens so they can get away and hide if needed. But I'm unsure how to implement this all. I don't want to kill my chicks!

    Nighttime temps now are in the 30's and 40's here, but a month from now will likely be 20's-30's with possibility of cols snaps in the teens and single digits. I dont know how long i would need the heating pad out there or what the requirements for the chicks would be at 5 weeks. My last batch of chicks got evicted from tye the house at 6 weeks but it was June by then and very warm.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2016
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Never made a MHP, so I'll leave that to others. As for the chicks, you could use what you have built and cut small exits in it. Keep the food and water for the chicks inside. The chicks can then come out of the brooder and mix with the flock, but can dart back inside if things get a bit too much them. If you put them with the main flock, without exits for a week or so, and then cut the exits, it will give the flock time to become familiar with the chicks and vice versa.

    If you do not wish to cut exits in the pen that you have, you can raise it slightly, so that the chicks can go in and out, as they wish. Actually, I think that its preferable, as the chicks don't have to remember where the exit / entrance holes are.

    I had two week old chicks in a small pen, near the main flock (they range the garden) and after a couple of days, they learnt how to escape. I found both chicks with the adults, pecking at food around the feeders - no problems! Flock dynamics are different for us all, so I am not suggesting that this positive outcome would always occur.

    Here are a couple of links that may help
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1126547/topic-of-the-week-integrating-chicks-into-an-adult-flock

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1069595/introducing-chicks-to-adults#post_16276224

    Good luck
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2016
  3. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Overrun With Chickens

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    CTKen method of introducing your chicks to the older ones, sounds right from what I've read in other threads.

    MHP is a heating pad wrapped in a pillow case or towel (to protect the pad from poop). Using hardware cloth or some stiff wire, form a "cave", securing the MHP under/inside the "cave". Secure (I use small bungee cords, Home Depot) well so the chicks can't get between & stuck, the wire & heating pad. I also secure a towel over the top of the "cave", so the wire isn't exposed. I read the thread but took me a while to make it happen & work to my liking.

    Oh yeah, the height of the "cave" shouldn't be too high, I made two "skeletons or ribs" for the MHP. One's about 3" high, another is 4" using either or both depending on the size of chicks as they grow. Don't over think the whole thing, I did & nearly gave up :( I put the MHP over a box that's got shavings, it can build it up under the MHP & added warmth.

    I use disposable underpads for in the plastic bin with the cardboard box & MHP, it's making the box & MHP fit in the plastic bin that was the biggest problem. You shouldn't have a problem with your brooder in the garage, they'll be fine.


    [​IMG]Best I could do of the chicks under MHP.

    [​IMG]MHP in the background, I need better pix of it. This was the second batch of chicks I raised using the MHP. They are calmer & the go to sleep at night, not constant chirpping at night. My brooder is outside in my patio, they move from in the house about 2wks (I like to keep a close eye on them & it's a bonding for us).

    Hope I was of some help. Go back to the MHP thread, skim through it looking at the pictures, just don't over think it like I did. [​IMG]
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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  5. juliejohnson805

    juliejohnson805 Out Of The Brooder

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    I created one by making a form out of chicken wire. Think cave... I laid the heating pad on top of it and then put a old towel over the whole thing. It wasn't as pretty as some I've seen but it worked great. I put it in the back of wire dog crate which I had put hardware cloth around the sides about 6 inches up ( I used zip ties to attach to crate) and put the crate in the chicken pen when the chicks were 1 week old. I put crushed corn cob bedding in the crate and put a feeder and waterer inside. This way they are in sight of other chickens when they are in the run. When the others go out for a little in the afternoon I leave the dog crate open andlet the littles run around in the run some.

    It's been in the low 40's this week and they are doing fine. They are almost 3 weeks old now.
     
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  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    "I created one by making a form out of chicken wire." juliejohnson805


    Chicken wire or poultry netting, as it's also called, works fine for just two or three chicks. However, it's not sturdy enough, being small gauge wire, to support the weight of several chicks who are two or three weeks old sitting on top. If any chicks happen to be inside when the cave collapses under the weight of several chicks, the ones inside may suffocate. This is why I recommend field fencing or some other heavier gauge fencing material.
     
    Christine972 likes this.
  7. juliejohnson805

    juliejohnson805 Out Of The Brooder

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    I wanted to use hardware cloth but didn't have any extra in the size I needed at that time. I was concerned about the strength when I built it so I reinforced the sides with extra layers of wire (it has 3 layers). The top is a doubled wire as well. I guess I should have been a little more detailed. I have 16 chicks and so far it's holding up well. Thanks for helping me clarify.
     
  8. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    It looks like the little broody buster cage doesn't have any wire on the bottom. If that's correct, you can put the chicks in it, in the coop. Place small blocks of wood at each corner so the cage is raised off the floor a few inches. I use 2x4 pieces about 6" long. At that height chicks can go in and out until they are about 5 weeks old. The adults are too big to crawl under, unless you have small bantams. That way the babies aren't trying to find the door to get back in when there's an emergency, all 4 walls are an entrance. Plus you can have a chick feeder and waterer in there the adults can't knock over.
     
  9. ChickenHawk12

    ChickenHawk12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Actually, there is wire on the bottom, but I can probably cut the wire off of just the bottom. I like that idea, and the 2 bars that go across the bottom can serve as roosts, right? I have a problem with my 3 grown hens because we didn't have a proper roost set up when they were young and they never learned to roost. No matter what I do, they sleep on the floor of the coop, and in the nest boxes if I don't block them off. I don't want that to happen with these new chicks.

    They are 1 week old now. At what age do you think I could put them out in the coop, in November/December in the northeast, without supplemental heat?
     
  10. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Whenever they have completely "feathered out" they should be able to handle the coop without extra heat. I think it depends on the breed and individual chick. Plus other factors in your coop. I don't have to deal with cold down here so I'm not really able to help you much.
     

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