Mama Heating Pad in the Brooder (Picture Heavy) - UPDATE

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Blooie, Mar 4, 2015.

  1. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I'm thinking about using one of those portals in the pen I have out there. Might be a little harder with the x-pens bars, but by golly, if I can make it work I'm gonna try!
     
  2. katbriar

    katbriar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh geesh. I just went to check on the 4 1/2 week olds that I moved (today) into a pen inside the larger open air portion of the coop.

    Prior to their move they'd been in a unheated garage and had not slept under MHP for over a week. They loved to be on top of it, but I hadn't seen them under. So I thought the transition would be easy.

    I don't know if it's the breeze that can enter through the screen, the different lighting, maybe I didn't have MHP set up _just_ right, but they were confused, chirping loudly, distressed. I had to catch both of them at the same time put them under the heating pad and gently keep them in.

    In less than 60 seconds they were making that settling down comfortably trilling sound.

    Don't know what it was, but would consider that a lot of change is confusing to them. I was really surprised because they had been calm happy birds until tonight!
     
  3. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    LG, you needn't be nervous about merging smalls with the adults using the portals. As long as they've been used to safety in their pen, once the portal to the adult flock is opened, they learn at lightening speed to zip back through the portal to safety. I had forgotten how quickly they learn, and I was marveling at how well these four three-week olds were taking to mingling with the adult chickens, as if they'd been doing it two weeks already instead of it just being the second day. They were even venturing outside the open door of the run to the BIG world! They had a bit of a snag getting back in because chickens have this thing about going in a straight line between two points, and they couldn't navigate the open door, getting trapped behind it.

    So. They are now installed in the coop! It wasn't without high drama, but that's how chicks operate with anything new. They assume it will kill them, then swallow them. So they were trying to get out of the coop by doing what chickens do when they are panicked. They tried to fling themselves against the walls and the net partition dividing the coop down the middle.

    I tried to put them under the heating pad, but they kept shooting back out. They were hysterical so I finally just gathered them up and held them close, making shushing sounds, and they finally calmed down enough where I could stick them on top of the cave, then one hopped down and went underneath. So I stuffed the other three in with that one, and they stayed.

    This needed to be done sooner or later, and it's been long enough that they've been out in the run with all that space and freedom. I was afraid to wait any longer in fear they'd not be able to adjust to the confines of their coop. You are probably thinking why did I not just install the chicks and the MHP system in the coop to begin with. Because both of my coops are very small. They serve as sleeping quarters only, with nesting boxes. The covered run is where the chickens all really live. I knew I wouldn't have been able to play with my chicks the way I enjoy unless I set them up out in the grow-out pen, and it's worked out wonderfully.

    Next step is teaching the chicks to navigate the ramp and the pop hole plastic door flaps, and then to put themselves into the coop at night. We'll see if they continue to be quick learners.
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    Azygous: My set up is a bit difficult, in some ways. I have (22) 3.5 week old and (6) 7 week old chicks in the old coop. It's possible to divide them by keeping one age group in the loft, in 1/2 of the loft, or in the lower level, or in the sun room. So, technically, I could have divided space for 4 separate areas. The big issue is that when I take down the barriers, several of the 7 week old chicks will gang up on a single youngster and corner and peck him/her. The big coop is surrounded by electronet fencing, which either age group of the youngsters could easily squirt through. And we have a lot of crows, and hawks patrolling. Not to mention the land predators. My cat would still take down a chick. So, currently, I'm giving the chicks some time together, and then separating them, when I see them doing gang war on a single chick. I know I should just let them duke it out. I need a chickie socialization intervention here! I'm wondering if I should toss the older chicks in with the adults, give them a week or so to integrate, then toss in the babes. Still worried about the predator issue though. I got soft last night and gave the chicks back their electricity for their HP. It was a cold raw damp night. They camped out on top. And when I went out this morning, I found one of the 3.5W old chicks had been left out of the loft all alone. I think he slept in the cat carrier. I felt so bad for him, but he was just as perky as ever. Hopped up onto the perch, and went into the loft for some breakfast.
     
  5. COChix

    COChix Overrun With Chickens

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    We have a peepers under broody Cornish, found two pip's yesterday when she was off the nest for feed. I quickly moved the nest into a cat carrier and mom settled right in. This am I saw one baby peeking out behind mama, but she pushed that chick back under, almost like she didn't think the baby was ready to be out in the world yet. Can't tell what else is going on and mama is pretty protective. That being said, she got a warm runny two egg breakfast. I have water in the cat carrier.

    A couple questions - so I have the flock all on chick grower currently, do I need switch the whole flock over to starter since mama will be out with the flock and the babies?

    Should I be leaving the cat carrier door open or closed? I have it closed, thinking, I didn't want the baby chicks to wander off.

    Thanks in advanced. Oh and would you all suggest that I integrate the broody & chicks to the littles first and then introduce everyone to the flock? Or would you just let mama broody do her thing. That being said, if she is allowed to be with the flock, her babies can squeeze through the fencing in the free range area. Maybe I need to move her and her babies in with the littles. I don't really have a clue what to do from here. I think I answered my own question, I think I will need to move her and the babies into the enclosed run area with the little when she decides to venture out with them.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I have all my birds on a 20% protein crumble, I grind it for the chicks for a couple weeks, the adults get other feed to dilute that 20%...works good here.

    Maybe leave it closed until all eggs have hatched...then open so mama can get out and poop.
    They won't need food/water for a couple days...better to leave that out.

    I made a creep feed area with food and water set low for chicks, mama ate and drank at the main feeders.
     
  7. COChix

    COChix Overrun With Chickens

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    Ok thanks, I have everyone on FF grower, which I love for the simplisty of having only one feed to deal with.

    So just thinking out loud on the broody. I have a smaller wire dog kennel that was too big for the coop. I could set that up in the run for mama and the babies. I could drape some cloth or something over it and add a bunch of straw. I can run the peel and stick around the bottom and fill it with straw. I can put it somewhere in the run where she can have a wind break as well making sure it is covered and dry from the elements. We just don't have room in the small coop for me to divide it to give her space with the littles. Thoughts anyone?
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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  9. COChix

    COChix Overrun With Chickens

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    What about the fact that the babies could pop through the fencing in their free range area? Wasn't sure if they would venture to far from mama's side at first.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015
  10. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller Premium Member

    Blooie I been thinking about that... What you can do rather than cut the wire on your pens How about making an inner door just with a portal in it... Mad of hardware cloth or something... just put a thin frame around it..

    Or you could use coat hanger wire around the outside of the hardwarcloth to make a frame... then cut the hardware cloth a bit over sized and fold the edges around the frame.... notch the corners so they dont over lap when folded....

    Now you can put a portal on the new door and zip tie the whole thing to the cage... as a hinge...

    Dang Now i have to sketch it up...

    Half a MO...

    deb
     

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