Heat source for brooder and MHP, need your advice please!

missypebble

Songster
9 Years
Mar 11, 2011
184
36
156
We created the MHP after reading extensively in this forum and purchased the Sunbeam Xpress heating pad that’s claimed to have 180W. However, I can’t find any where to get the exact temperature reading for each setting. Somewhere in other threads I’ve read to set the heating pad to #3 for a week old chick or so. The highest setting is #6 with this pad.

My questions:
Do I also need to provide additional heat source, Like another ceramic heat lamp (100-200W) above the heating pad? I’m asking because the underside of the MHP registered at around 81-83F only if I have the house set at around 75-76F.

Will the chicks be ok with just the MMHP only in the brooder? My assumption is it’d be way too cold if that’s the only heat source in the brooder. I’m using a large wire cage to setup as a brooder and only have 3 chicks so the space is nice for them, but I’m afraid it’s too cold if I’m only giving them the MMHP only.

Thank you!
 

MGG

🙄🤚
Premium Feather Member
Feb 7, 2020
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We created the MHP after reading extensively in this forum and purchased the Sunbeam Xpress heating pad that’s claimed to have 180W. However, I can’t find any where to get the exact temperature reading for each setting. Somewhere in other threads I’ve read to set the heating pad to #3 for a week old chick or so. The highest setting is #6 with this pad.

My questions:
Do I also need to provide additional heat source, Like another ceramic heat lamp (100-200W) above the heating pad? I’m asking because the underside of the MHP registered at around 81-83F only if I have the house set at around 75-76F.

Will the chicks be ok with just the MMHP only in the brooder? My assumption is it’d be way too cold if that’s the only heat source in the brooder. I’m using a large wire cage to setup as a brooder and only have 3 chicks so the space is nice for them, but I’m afraid it’s too cold if I’m only giving them the MMHP only.

Thank you!
You should read through this thread. It'll answer all of your questions. Good luck with your chicks!
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/mama-heating-pad-problems.1237548/
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
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With a heat pad, do NOT provide another heat source - the chicks must be able to escape the heat and that's what the regular unheated airspace is for. While it's tempting to coddle chicks, your house temperatures are already well higher than my outside temperatures, where my chicks have been with their heating pad since 2 days old.

Also not sure how you're measuring the temperature of the pad, but the heat pad works by direct contact, not by raising ambient air temperature, so using a regular thermometer won't tell you anything. You'd need something that can tell you surface temperature... or do the simple thing: touch the pad, does it feel pretty warm but not scorchingly hot? That's what you want to aim for. Each week or so, turn it down a notch, until it's off - they should be off heat by 3-4 weeks, depending on the temps you're transitioning them into.
 

Doc7

Songster
May 12, 2018
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198
Central Virginia
I have literally never checked a temperature of a mama heat pad. I leave it on High for nights in the 20s-30s, medium above that and low once chicks are 2 weeks old.

chicks are fine down to sub 20 degrees F with a MHP and you never need to measure temps.


What folks need to do is imagine the MHP for what it is. a MAMA. A mama hen does not provide additional heat sources to her chicks when they are not gathered under her for warmth. Your chicks don't need it either.
 

missypebble

Songster
9 Years
Mar 11, 2011
184
36
156
With a heat pad, do NOT provide another heat source - the chicks must be able to escape the heat and that's what the regular unheated airspace is for. While it's tempting to coddle chicks, your house temperatures are already well higher than my outside temperatures, where my chicks have been with their heating pad since 2 days old.

Also not sure how you're measuring the temperature of the pad, but the heat pad works by direct contact, not by raising ambient air temperature, so using a regular thermometer won't tell you anything. You'd need something that can tell you surface temperature... or do the simple thing: touch the pad, does it feel pretty warm but not scorchingly hot? That's what you want to aim for. Each week or so, turn it down a notch, until it's off - they should be off heat by 3-4 weeks, depending on the temps you're transitioning them into.
Oh my! Thank you so much for this!
I usually get up a few times during the night to check on the chicks and several Tim es found them snuggled all the way to the lowest end of the MHP. I assumed they were cold. Also, when I touched the MHP, it seems rather tepid warm, not cozily warm. I’m currently have the setting at #3.

I’m going to sound pretty dumb, but jus want to confirm, I should not have any other heat source in the brooder, correct? So the area where I set their feed and water should not have any heat at all?

Thank you for responding and for your quick advice!
 

missypebble

Songster
9 Years
Mar 11, 2011
184
36
156
I have literally never checked a temperature of a mama heat pad. I leave it on High for nights in the 20s-30s, medium above that and low once chicks are 2 weeks old.

chicks are fine down to sub 20 degrees F with a MHP and you never need to measure temps.


What folks need to do is imagine the MHP for what it is. a MAMA. A mama hen does not provide additional heat sources to her chicks when they are not gathered under her for warmth. Your chicks don't need it either.
Thank you for explaining! I’m nervous not knowing how to provide the right temperature for them! Your explanation makes perfect sense! I’ve just interpreted the recommenced heat setting for a week old chick has to stay at 90F constantly at all time so I thought the MHP also needs to stay at 90F at all time.
 

Doc7

Songster
May 12, 2018
747
1,077
198
Central Virginia
Thank you for explaining! I’m nervous not knowing how to provide the right temperature for them! Your explanation makes perfect sense! I’ve just interpreted the recommenced heat setting for a week old chick has to stay at 90F constantly at all time so I thought the MHP also needs to stay at 90F at all time.

no, temps are only for heat lamps (which are fire hazards, inefficient power consumers, And make chicks feather out slower).
The colder your chicks get In their ambient conditions while still having a MHP to warm up the stronger they will be. They are clearly active and happy all the time, and go under the heat pad to get warm when needed. Typically at night - In the day time they only spend a few minutes per hour under it. Insane to think that they might be kept in a heat lamp that whole time!
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
15,882
30,500
1,052
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
Also, when I touched the MHP, it seems rather tepid warm, not cozily warm. I’m currently have the setting at #3.

I’m going to sound pretty dumb, but jus want to confirm, I should not have any other heat source in the brooder, correct? So the area where I set their feed and water should not have any heat at all?

Honestly my heating pad doesn't get all that hot anymore, even at highest setting. The chicks felt plenty toasty when they pop out, so it's warm enough.

And correct, no other heat source. And depending on size of brooder I would have food and water away from the heat pad, but not TOO far away.

As seen below, heat pad on left, water on right, this is about to 9 sq ft with 4 chicks. Chicks here are 2-3 days old, brooded outdoors, 60-70 F daytime and 45-50 F at night.

brood4.jpg
 

Doc7

Songster
May 12, 2018
747
1,077
198
Central Virginia
Oh my! Thank you so much for this!
I usually get up a few times during the night to check on the chicks and several Tim es found them snuggled all the way to the lowest end of the MHP. I assumed they were cold. Also, when I touched the MHP, it seems rather tepid warm, not cozily warm. I’m currently have the setting at #3.

I’m going to sound pretty dumb, but jus want to confirm, I should not have any other heat source in the brooder, correct? So the area where I set their feed and water should not have any heat at all?

Thank you for responding and for your quick advice!

correct, no other heat sources

my chick set up, out in the coop. When I took this picture it was about 35 degrees out.
 

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