Fast-tracking flock integration?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bawkbawkbawk, Jan 22, 2016.

  1. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    I'm going to have to incorporate something like this in the spring when I get my 30 chicks. I have 7 old hens right now who would live in one half of the coop, and the chicks would have the other half. When they're about 3 weeks old, I can figure out how to make a chick door (or two or three) between the two groups. I've always waited until they were at least 6 weeks or so to give them a size advantage anyway. I thought the hens would immediately kill the babies. Huh - I learned something today - that makes it worth getting up in the morning! [​IMG]

    @azygous - I'm interested in your heating pad brooder. Do you use just a regular heating pad like you'd find at the drug store and leave it plugged in all the time? For some reason, I'm more nervous about doing that than leaving heat lamps plugged in 24/7. But I like the idea of it. It seems like they'd be warmer that way - being able to snuggle down onto a warm spot than under a lamp. Hmm, something else to look into. And you have it so they can come and go from the heat as they want, right?

    OK, I just looked at your pictures a little more closely and can't tell if they go under the heating pad, or can sit on top of it. Would you please explain how your set up works? Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2016
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Read the first couple of pages of this thread https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/956958/mama-heating-pad-in-the-brooder-picture-heavy-update It will describe the heating pad system.

    The set up I had in my pics I discarded after the first bunch of chicks. I went to the wire frame that is described in the thread. The reason I changed is because my blue foam pad frame was a bit unsteady, especially on the slight incline of my run, and it wanted to collapse unless I propped it up on the down-side.

    But yes, the chicks huddle under the warm pad when they need to warm up, and the rest of the time, they are running about all over and they love to lounge on top of it, too.

    If your heating pad is UL approved, and not an ancient relic, you have no reason to be concerned of fire any more than you would a heat lamp. These pads are designed to be used safely in direct contact with human anatomy, after all. But you need to get one that either has no auto shut-off or you can by-pass the auto-off and have it remain on as long as it's plugged in.

    I switched to another pen with the second batch of chicks, and here's what the wire frame looked like that I used. The arched design worked better as far as stability, and the chicks had more direct contact with the pad which is necessary during the first two weeks.

    Notice how the pad is secured to the inside of the wire frame so the chicks won't be able to get caught in the wire. A towel is draped over the top. Some people encase the pad and frame in a secured pillow case to avoid folds where a chick can get hung up.

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  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    You'll be soooo glad if you install a panic room/respite room/isolation partition in your coop.


    I have a bit of a different slant on the heating pad for chick heat, tho I haven't used it outside,
    the cave aspect might be an advantage if outside, or some kind of sides on it would be good.....

    .....but the heating pad product link is in my writeup: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/pseudo-brooder-heater-plate
     
  4. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Great job with the response, @azygous

    When I popped in I saw your name over on the side for who was currently here I wisely decided to let you answer! [​IMG] I may well switch to putting the pad on the inside of the frame this year too. I didn't have any trapped chicks, but why risk it?

    @bobbi-j you might want to take a look at this article....it explains what I did and how I did it as far as setting up to raise chicks outside. It does a pretty good job (even if I do say so) explaining why this is so beneficial for chicks, adult chickens and chick raisers!

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

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Nice! Thanks for the information. I'll have to read up on that. I'm guessing I'll need more than one for the 30 chicks I plan on getting this spring.
     
  6. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    [​IMG][​IMG] Here I made sure that I didn't step on @azygous 's toes and I nailed my friend @aart ! I don't know why your heating plate wouldn't work just as well outside, aart....seems to me that as long as the chicks can get warm and the area where the pen is located is free of direct drafts, they'd do very well.
     
  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Thanks, Blooie! I do brood my chicks outdoors, but have always done it separately from the adult ones. I'm not as creative as the rest of you! [​IMG] Here is what my setup has looked like over the past several years:

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    I have been using 8" lawn edging to keep them somewhat contained for the first few weeks (until they start jumping over it) just to keep them out of the corners to avoid piling and suffocating. After that, the edging goes away and as they get older, the lights are gradually raised until they don't need them anymore. I just never thought of brooding them in the same coop as the older ones.

    I do like the idea of a more natural day/night cycle than the lamps provide. It just seems more... right for them to go huddle under a warm, darker place. Now I'm wondering with the heater plate - could I put a heavy towel or something that would drape over 2 or 3 sides to make it seem more like they're huddling under a hen?

    OP - sorry for hijacking your thread! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2016
  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    HA! I just scared the bejeebers out of DH. I told him that I've been doing some reading on brooding chicks with the flock, and then said the words that always send him into a mild panic. "So, I've been thinking..." I'm mechanically impaired, so when I grab tools and start a project he's there whether I ask him to be or not to "help". Meaning, he usually undoes what I attempt to do and does it right or, as he has figured out in the long run that it's better this way, does it right in the first place. Good thing, too, or we'd have had some disasters on our hands. [​IMG] He's a good man, and oh, so patient. Well, maybe not "patient", but tolerant of my whims. Have a great day everyone out there in BYCland!
     
  9. HnkyDnkyZZFarm

    HnkyDnkyZZFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We start ours indoors as long as I can stand it, till it's warm enough outdoors, then they move to a side of the coop that used to have a fully enclosed run connected to it ( a tree has temporarily squashed it, and we have some rebuilding and re-purposing to do.) The divider in the coop is chicken wire on a wood frame, so everyone can see each other, smell each other and beds down at night in view of each other. Once they're big enough, well past the vulture stage they get let out with everyone else.

    We had one that we integrated too young and an older hen tried to tear her throat out. She didn't hold a grudge though, so after a little stay in chicken isolation and intensive care she was very happy to return to the bunch and she and the older hen are besties now.
     
  10. HnkyDnkyZZFarm

    HnkyDnkyZZFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There is no task that cannot be further complicated by implements. My hubbs does the tool search, oh I have a tool that does that.. here, let me find it for you, oh wait here's a... Ugh. by the time we find the tool that was supposed to simplify the task, I could have done it in my weird somewhat rigged, perhaps a tad over engineered way three times. Drives me NUTS. Babe... PLEASE! Don't help me. It's not up to building code, but it gets the job done.

    He's had to admit a few times that even though he didn't see the vision at the beginning the end result worked out a little alright ;-)
     
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