Heat plate vs MHP in HOT southern US weather

BarbaraLongSC

Chirping
Aug 15, 2019
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South Carolina
dear gentle BYC friends

3 day-old Rhode Island Red chicks to be raised as therapy PETS will arrive in 2 to 3 weeks from Cackery to my home in central South Carolina where summer temps are 100 during the day and 80 at night. I was thinking of putting them in a heavy wire crate on my screen front porch for a month or two. They will eventually be moved into our walk-in coop named Fort Knox. All my previous chickens have been given to me at 6 weeks. This will be my first batch newborns.

This batch will probably be my final one as we are in our late 60s.

I have read on one hatchery site that these plates do not get hot enough for day old chicks. I think what you all are doing with the MHP is awesome but for convenience sake I am dpondering the plate. What is your recommendation ?

Thank you for your time and help. I really appreciate your advice.
 

Steven Bussell

Songster
May 5, 2019
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Bay Area Calif
I used a heat plate for my day old mixed flock.. we raised them in their coop outside here in the sf bay area. Lowes over night where around 40s.. They did just fine. After 3 weeks they pretty just slept next to it or each other
 

igorsMistress

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My temps were slightly cooler and I brooded chicks outside with a heat plate no problem. Just be sure you start it out low enough that they are touching it with their backs when they go under it so they get heat transfer and raise it a little as they grow to accommodate their size.
 

sealer39

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I just moved 10 day old chicks outside with a heat plate. Highs mid/upper 90s, lows upper 70s. They didn’t even use the heat plate the first few nights so I took it out. I’d be more worried about the day time heat than the cooler nights. Make sure the chicks aren’t in the afternoon sun, also a fan would help. If they are still getting to hot you can add a some ice to their waterer. I’ve been finding my chicks resting against the waterer with ice every afternoon.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
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Feb 2, 2009
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In temperatures similar to yours I turned my low-wattage heat lamp off during the day after three days and off at night at 5 days. Their body language told me they did not need it and they did not. My brooder was in the coop.

The main problem I find in brooding them outside is the temperature swings. In Arkansas I saw it go from below freezing to the 70's in 36 hours, the other end of the heat spectrum from you. What you need is to keep part of the brooder warm enough in the coldest conditions and a part coll enough in the warmest conditions. As long as I gave them options my chicks straight out of the incubator can manage that themselves. Put the heat plate in. If they need it they will use it. When they don't need it they won't.

My concern is your daytime heat on the porch. They probably need shade more than heat.

I have read on one hatchery site that these plates do not get hot enough for day old chicks

Do you have a link to that hatchery saying this, I'd like to know their context? That statement fails the common sense test since heat plates are specifically sold to keep chicks warm. There has to be some type of qualifying statement with that, I hope.
 

AlleysChicks

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I'm in southern Ohio. During a hot summer where it's in the 90s during the day I dont provide heat. Chicks are in a brooder in my garage. During the night when temps drop I provide a lamp. I have 2 brisea heat plates but my chicks wont use them and I lost 10 chicks before I switched back to a lamp.
At 2 weeks old I don't provide heat for standard size chicks. Bantams I do until fully feathered.
 

gtaus

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Mar 29, 2019
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I had to raise my day-old chicks in a completely different situation here in northern Minnesota. The temps outside were in the 20F's and the temp inside my attached garage was in the 40F's. So I had heat lamps on my chicks for the first six weeks while in the brooder out in my garage. Having said that, I was sure to follow the rule of thumb to keep the chicks at 95F for the first week, then 90F for the second week, and decrease the heat every week by 5F. I was successful and all my chicks survived, but I agree that you should have part of the brooder at temp for the age of your chicks, and a cooler part of the brooder where they can escape to if too hot. In your case, I would provide a little extra heat at night when it drops down to 80F, at least for the first few weeks.

I have not used the heating plates, mainly because I have successfully raised chicks under heat lamps for years and I still have all that equipment. I know many people really like the heating plates, but there are also a lot of threads here on BYC forums about people using heating plates having chicks die off on them for no apparent reason. My concern was that I cannot see what is going on underneath the heating plate. At least with a heat lamp (and thermometer), you just look into the brooder and you can see if the chicks are cold and directly underneath the heat lamp, or if they too hot are avoiding the heat lamp, or if they are just right and resting comfortably somewhere within the beam of the heat lamp.

During the night when temps drop I provide a lamp. I have 2 brisea heat plates but my chicks wont use them and I lost 10 chicks before I switched back to a lamp.

I have read a number of threads here on BYC forums that mention the same unfortunate end from using heat plates. Again, I just want to put in a good word for the old heat lamps which I have used successfully many times. And, FWIW, none of our local farm stores even sell the heat plates. They still push the old heat lamps and reflectors.
 

AlleysChicks

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I had to raise my day-old chicks in a completely different situation here in northern Minnesota. The temps outside were in the 20F's and the temp inside my attached garage was in the 40F's. So I had heat lamps on my chicks for the first six weeks while in the brooder out in my garage. Having said that, I was sure to follow the rule of thumb to keep the chicks at 95F for the first week, then 90F for the second week, and decrease the heat every week by 5F. I was successful and all my chicks survived, but I agree that you should have part of the brooder at temp for the age of your chicks, and a cooler part of the brooder where they can escape to if too hot. In your case, I would provide a little extra heat at night when it drops down to 80F, at least for the first few weeks.

I have not used the heating plates, mainly because I have successfully raised chicks under heat lamps for years and I still have all that equipment. I know many people really like the heating plates, but there are also a lot of threads here on BYC forums about people using heating plates having chicks die off on them for no apparent reason. My concern was that I cannot see what is going on underneath the heating plate. At least with a heat lamp (and thermometer), you just look into the brooder and you can see if the chicks are cold and directly underneath the heat lamp, or if they too hot are avoiding the heat lamp, or if they are just right and resting comfortably somewhere within the beam of the heat lamp.



I have read a number of threads here on BYC forums that mention the same unfortunate end from using heat plates. Again, I just want to put in a good word for the old heat lamps which I have used successfully many times. And, FWIW, none of our local farm stores even sell the heat plates. They still push the old heat lamps and reflectors.
Yeah I'm kicking myself because I bought 2 thinking it would help. Nope. Waste of money. My ducklings are using one at night but I had to cram them under it a couple times.
 

gtaus

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Yeah I'm kicking myself because I bought 2 [heat plates] thinking it would help. Nope. Waste of money.

I'm glad I just used what I had with the old heat lamps and reflectors. Besides saving money, I was more concerned about stories from people, like you, who have lost chicks with these heat plates.

For the OP, since you stated this might be your last batch of chicks, I just want to mention that the heat lamps and reflectors are a lot cheaper than the heat plates. And in either case, you probably will not need any heat after a couple weeks where you live.
 

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