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

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

  1. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Might work...you'd have to carefully try it and see.
    Depends tho on if you really need any extra heat in a house that warm...how old are the chicks.

    Agrees that a heat lamp in that environment might be overkill and well be contributing to the pasty butt issue.

    Here's my notes on chick heat, hope something in there might help:
    They need to be pretty warm(~85-90F on the brooder floor right under the lamp and 10-20 degrees cooler at the other end of brooder) for the first day or two, especially if they have been shipped, until they get to eating, drinking and moving around well. But after that it's best to keep them as cool as possible for optimal feather growth and quicker integration to outside temps. A lot of chick illnesses are attributed to too warm of a brooder. I do think it's a good idea to use a thermometer on the floor of the brooder to check the temps, especially when new at brooding, later i still use it but more out of curiosity than need.

    The best indicator of heat levels is to watch their behavior:
    If they are huddled/piled up right under the lamp and cheeping very loudly, they are too cold.
    If they are spread out on the absolute edges of the brooder as far from the lamp as possible, panting and/or cheeping very loudly, they are too hot.
    If they sleep around the edge of the lamp calmly just next to each other and spend time running all around the brooder they are juuuust right!

    The lamp is best at one end of the brooder with food/water at the other cooler end of the brooder, so they can get away from the heat or be under it as needed. Wattage of 'heat' bulb depends on size of brooder and ambient temperature of room brooder is in. Regular incandescent bulbs can be used, you might not need a 'heat bulb'. You can get red colored incandescent bulbs at a reptile supply source. A dimmer extension cord is an excellent way to adjust the output of the bulb to change the heat without changing the height of the lamp.

    Or you could go with a heat plate, commercially made or DIY: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/pseudo-brooder-heater-plate
     
  2. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    Progress report! The four Azygous chicks put themselves into their coop all on their own tonight while mom was attending, a "social function". Got home just before dark and the tots had all filed themselves under their heating pad and were sound asleep. Up until now I've been getting inside the coop and coaxing them inside.

    They have the plastic pop hole door flaps nailed, too. They will turn four weeks on Monday.

    I do believe MHP system grows smarter chicks. Don't you all feel that's true?
     
  3. maybaby45

    maybaby45 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mine will be 4 weeks monday too and they are very smart! They went into the coop Monday and have put themselves to bed every night. Since it's in the high 60's and low 70's at night I never moved MHP with them. The 9 cuddle up together in the straw inside the huddle box and chirp a little and then it's lights out. They are up at the crack of dawn chasing bugs and flying around. I will say that only one chick still has fuzz on it's neck and head, most are almost fully feathered!


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    Just a little fuzz left on the grey 'pigeon'
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    I'm not sure what this one is but it sure looks vulture like LOL
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    Produce scraps is where it's at
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    OK is this grey one actually 'blue'?
     
  4. COChix

    COChix Overrun With Chickens

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    So I have an overall update, so Mamacita our broody Cornish wanted out of her little confined area the other day. It was day 24 on the eggs, so I let her out. She took her babies all around the run, showing them various things. She terrorized the 6 weeks olds that they pretty much go the other way when she starts moving. She never did go back to the nest and had no interest in the eggs when I showed them to her. She's left 5, I did crack them open and look. One was bad, one was a blood ring late stage and the other three were hard to tell and I am not experienced enough. Anyway, i set up a nest box for her in the small coop that she is now sharing with the 15 littles, this plan seems to be going well. So she and the three babies are now fully integrated with our 6 weeks old (MHP) group. I decided to integrate her with the littles as her babies can fit through the fencing in the free range area. Plus in four days we will be heading to Mexico and didn't want to try and rush things. Our 6 week olds need to get a bit bigger before they free range as they too can fit through the fencing. Full flock integration will be done once I return from vacation.

    Here are some shots of mama and babies integrating with the littles. There were a couple incidents were the littles pushed their luck and got pecked. That was all it took.

    The friendly white one came right up to Mamacita and they'd just stared for a bit, nothing happened. After that the white one pushed her luck being overly friendly and mama charged her off.

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    Day three mama taught babies how to use the Horizontal Nipples, good mama!
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  5. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Well, not sure if the chicks are any smarter with MHP, but the chicken raisers sure are! And we owe a big debt to the little guy who was the guinea pig for MHP at Oleo Acres. So raise your coffee cups and join in a toast to Scout, the Brave. He was the first chick here to use a heating pad and cave, and so much of what I learned about the system was learned on him. Scout was culled on Thursday following an attack on me that left a bloody and bruised hand. But I prefer to focus on what he taught me, and Mama Heating Pad was a huge part of that.

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    RIP, Scout! I miss you already!
     
  6. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    Oh, darn-it Blooie! That's too bad! I'm so sorry you got hurt! I had a cockerel, Penrod, a Buff Brahma, that had a nasty biting habit where he would drill plugs of flesh from my hands. I did manage to rehabilitate him, turning him into a very well-behaved roo that I was very proud of and had total trust in. He lived to be three years old when I had to euthanize him after complications set in from a broken leg. Big clumsy oaf had trouble with his dismount from his roosting perch. This is why Brahmas need low perches, by the way.

    This is a big danger in keeping cockerels, and I've found that very early training and discipline can prevent such tragic incidents. But it takes time and commitment, and if you raise chickens for meat, as I realize at least half the folks here do, it's much easier simply to cull.

    But if you ever get another cockerel you feel is a keeper, I can help you with the discipline.
     
  7. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Scout was definitely the roo I never knew I always wanted. I had always planned on a flock of just hens, and was content with that until Scout came along. The hurt on the hand will go away - not so sure how long it will be before the pain of his loss disappears. I probably shouldn't have characterized what happened as an "attack." I was out filling the FF and spotted a bit of plastic in the run. It was most likely hidden in the load of leaves we put in there and they uncovered it. I reached down to pick it up and didn't even see him coming. But he was after my extended hand, and that was it! He used those deformed feet of his like clubs. I hate to think of the damage he could have done if he'd had full toes and claws. He didn't bite - he didn't get a chance. My other hand shot out and I caught him right under the chin, sending him flying.

    He had never shown any people aggression. He was calm when we'd go out. We walked among the flock and he never so much as gave us the "stink eye." He just went about his business and wasn't bothered at all. We could pet or pick up the other chickens right in front of him. The chicks were perfectly safe with him. At one point a few months ago he had started wrestling a couple of the girls down onto their backs (did you ever try to put a chicken on her back? Tells you how strong he was!) and he'd frantically start ripping feathers out of their bellies and chests. He got a few days in time out for that stunt, and after he was let back out he didn't do it again, until a few days before he nailed me. Why Thursday was different I can't explain. Maybe I spooked him. Maybe the plastic flapping when I picked it up triggered something. I just don't know, and it was probably a fluke that would never happen again. But I can't chance it with the kids being here so much and with them helping with the chickens. I think I'm back to being a roo-less flock keeper.
     
  8. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    That's my flock management plan - no roosters. All four of my past roos were accidental, not planned.

    The trouble with cockerels, you never really know what you have in the way of temperament until they're a year old and have begun to mellow out from their adolescent hormone surge. And that's what happened with Scout. He probably had a perfect storm of hormone surges that day, along with an unusual environmental stressor, and it triggered a fear response. No doubt he was very threatened by something and he reacted in the only way he knew. Fear is what causes roos to "go bad". Discipline early on may help a cockerel deal with his aggressive impulses. Training a cockerel is very much like training a puppy. You do it so they don't engage in obnoxious or dangerous behavior.

    When Izzy, Penrod's offspring, was hatched, I knew full well I would be getting a cockerel with biting tendencies, so I began discipline very early around age four weeks. And he never did bite, and he was mostly a very well behaved cockerel. He got all the way through his hormonal period and then died of lymphotic leucosis, which he had gotten from his mother through his egg.

    Brahmas make excellent "keeper" roos for the most part, so if you end up with one of your Buffs a cockerel, we'll train him very young and you won't have to worry about this ever happening again. Any of them showing any reddish pin feathers under their saddle feathers, by the way?
     
  9. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Thanks, azygous. I haven't checked any of them yet - I suppose I should probably get out there and take care of that, but you know how my life is around here. I'm doing good to count them when I put them back into the run somedays! If, by any chance, there is a roo or two in these groups of the Light or Buff Brahmas, there is a lady here in town who will take them in a heartbeat. She's been eyeing them since I got them. Told her she could have the cockerels, but not the pullets! She was delighted. She had a Light roo several years ago and liked the chicks he produced with her English Games and Buff Orpingtons (Games and Brahmas? I know, that's what I thought too!!) But maybe I could entice myself to keep one...

    This group of chicks has ended up with one EE and 3 RIR cockerels. The EE died after he got himself trapped between the wall and the nest boxes, and the 3 RIRs have been destined for freezer since we learned what they were. Not that they're the best quality for eating, but my pressure cooker can handle them!
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    If you like grilled chicken skin, butcher them before 16 weeks and you can grill them...not much meat but it's good and that grilled chicken skin is to die for YU-UMMMMMM!!

    Then you can still pressure cook the grilled bones for gorgeous bone broth!!
     

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