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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    @yellowherb I was wondering if the glass from using the aquarium is helping with the heat - the only thing I see in your setup that concerns me is the high arch of the pad. For the first few days they like that heat right near them. I understand why you had to do that - can't be easy fitting that frame in an aquarium. First aquarium brooder we've had here on the MHP thread, so I'll be really interested to see what we can learn from your using it. I know that on another brooder thread someone said that the glass held in heat and made it too warm for their chicks, but that was using a heat lamp. Maybe the combination of the glass and smaller space are helping enough with heat that the height of the pad doesn't matter. I dunno, I'm winging it here.....

    I really like that flap in the front. They seem to get the feeling of scurrying for cover that way, don't you think? I'm really happy that you decided to give this a shot. I don't know why more people don't jump on this bandwagon, because there are just so many benefits. Of course, I have to be totally honest here. I must admit that if I'd heard of this or seen Patrice Lopatin's video and read Beekissed's experiment before my first chicks arrived, I'd have probably shaken my head and thought, "Those fools are going to kill those chicks because they aren't doing it the 'right' way!" [​IMG]

    @Mims , My Marans started out with nice dark eggs - I could tell them from the others immediately. Not so after they'd laid for a month or so - it's like the dye factory ran dry and there were no replenishments on the horizon. Looks like your little ones have settled in nicely, too!

    Wyo, good looking setup! After just a few days mine spent more time on top of it or around it than they did under it...sometimes I thought they were just afraid that by going inside they might miss something going on around them. I really love the screen idea!
     
  2. yellowherb

    yellowherb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    @Blooie If everyone did everything the same way we would never have inventions :)

    The flap helps keep the heat inside the cave area, so it probably is as warm inside there with it being high as what it would if it were without a flap and low. The main problem I see with MHP in a 10g aquarium is that the tank is just too small. The MHP takes up so much room, nearly 3/4 of the floor space. When the chicks want out from under it they pile into the corner where the food dish is. A 20g long would be better than a 10g. The glass does help with the insulation of the heat. Indoors we keep the A/C at 74. MHP is warm enough on low to overcome that temperature and keep the chicks toasty.

    So today I'll set up my brooder bin and move the chicks. I forgot how large some chicks can be :)

    As for aquarium brooders. We have always put the chicks in there first. I haven't been doing this for years, but months so my experience is somewhat limited. But rather than a brooder light we use a desktop light with a 40watt bulb. I stick the entire light in the tank. Since I hatch on a small scale aquariums work for the first few weeks. This is my first round with chickens, normally I'm hatching quail. I see with chickens I will need to either move to a larger aquarium for the first few days or skip that entirely and go straight to the bin brooder.
     
  3. bruceha2000

    bruceha2000 Chicken Obsessed

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    [​IMG]

    I think I should be the one using the bottom of the pad. I don't imagine the chicks would be all that comfortable if I were lying on top of them!

    Megan at Meyer responded and it sounds like she thinks the MHPB thing is positive. Could be they will put something about it on their web site. If so, I bet it takes off. After all, we trust the professionals and if the hatchery puts the MHPB concept out, it will be more trusted than some quantity of "I heard" endorsements. Here is hoping!

    And, yet again this morning, my now 4 day old peeps were out and about in the brooding pen in the 65F coop with Zorra when I went down about 8. This is only my second set of chicks and the first that is being brooded by a hen but I just have to reiterate, they do NOT need 24x7 90F - 95F temps the first week! If they did, they would never come out from under the hen! So cute seeing little ones pop under and squirt out like someone squeezed a "toothpaste tube" full of chicks. Little faces sticking out through the feathers. [​IMG]
     
  4. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Absolutely, yellowherb. I hope I didn't come across as critical - I was just curious. There have been a lot of good modifications since this thread started and yours is another! I always have that flap in the front too. It's funny when one chick just barely pokes his head out and looks around. Then he gives the "all clear" and the rest scurry out! Chickens are just a tad larger than quail, that's for sure. I'll bet the growth rate is about the same too - look at them one day and they are fluff, look at them the next and they have feathers instead!
     
  5. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    TADA! I finally settled on names for the 8 Buff Brahmas - We have Shuester, Brewster, Rooster, Booster, Moose-ter, Gooses-ter, Juiceter, and George. I'm so proud of me!
     
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  6. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller Premium Member

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  7. yellowherb

    yellowherb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    LOL! Love the names Blooie.
    I did not take anything critical [​IMG]
     
  8. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    My chicks have reached a very important milestone! They are roosting!

    These chicks have been the easiest to raise of all the previous seven batches. I attribute it all the the MHP system! If not for the MHP system, brooding them outside in the run would have been impossible, and being part of the flock from their very first day has made all the difference. [​IMG]


    To show how thoroughly they have it nailed, they have been showing off on the swing that I hung in the run yesterday. I made it a year ago, but the chickens just never warmed up to it, so I took it down. I figured the chicks might be interested in it and I was right!


    [​IMG]

    So, I guess my work is done with this batch of chicks. They have been fully integrated into the flock, are eating with the big girls, and they even go out of the run to free-range with the flock. They put themselves into their coop every night all by themselves, and now they're roosting! They're turning five weeks old Monday.


    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    You know, you were one of the very first to express so much excitement in the MHP system. You didn't even hesitate. I am beyond thrilled that the results you enjoyed have been so positive. Love the chicks on the swings, but doesn't it seem like their babyhood just sped on by while you weren't looking?

    Perusing the forum, it's now time for chick raisers out there to be asking, "They're 5 weeks old.....How soon can I put them out for a few minutes of sunshine?" Or "My chicks are 7 weeks old and our temps are into the 60s and 70s at night. Can I move them outside if I put a heat lamp out there with them?" That isn't a criticism of anyone, mind you. I was there last year and I remember so well being afraid I had put them out too early and I'd go out the next morning just to find 22 chickcicles frozen in a corner. With all the tension I felt trying not to do a single thing wrong, I didn't enjoy them to the fullest and they darn sure didn't enjoy me one bit. Even now I wonder if they survived because of me or despite me.

    I can't explain it very well, but there's just a different feeling with these chicks than last year's brood. It's a contentment that comes from just being around them. There's the belief that even though they had such an unnatural introduction to the world, starting life in a brightly lit hatchery with thousands of others; even though they were dumped in boxes and spent days traveling; and even though they had never laid eyes on a Mama Hen, the rest of their time as chicks was as natural as it could possibly be. This year I raised chickens instead of little prima-donnas and I actually feel more bonded to them than I did to the ones I raised by the book. Am I crazy?
     
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  10. TheRambler

    TheRambler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Howdy folks! I just wanted to post an update on my birds.

    Sadly, we lost one of ours to a hawk a few days ago. So now we have 5 black australorps which will be 4 weeks old tomorrow. I moved them to their mobile coop/tractor a few days ago and they are doing great.

    Temps are ranging widely anywhere from highs in the 80s to lows in the 40s to highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s, gotta love new england! The chicks are doing great and are showing no signs of being stressed, hot, or cold. At almost 4 weeks they are about 90% or more feathered, but pin feathers are in most everywhere. I truly believe the MHP is making them very hardy.

    Here is how i used my heating pad
    Week 1: 6/H
    Weekend of week 1: 5
    Week 2: 5, about mid week 4
    Week 3: 3, about mid week 2

    Week 3 has been pretty warm weather wise, weeks 1 and 2 were on the cooler side more frequently. But they did just fine, never once did they seem cold. They are now routinely sleeping on top of th MHP instead of under it. This started about mid way through week 3.

    They are loving the new tractor, but seem to be afraid of grass still somewhat haha. They will eat it if you give them a piece or hold it for them, but they are still warming up to the idea of jumping down into it for more than a minute or so at a time. The ramp was a little slick for them, and i could tell they were terrified. So i picked up some of that stick on anti slip stuff for outdoor stairs etc. Working much better, there is no slipping at all and alows them all to use the ramp to leave and enter the coop. Though most of them just fly in and out.

    I am really liking the brighttap waterer still, it is working very well. And still using the little trough feeder(somehow they are not spilling it or pooping in it). I made them a no spill feeder out of a bucket and pvc elbow but think they are still a bit young for it still. I have been putting ACV in their water since day 1, and every few days giving them a couple worms and a clump of sod.

    The chicks are doing great and growing up fast. I've had chickens for awhile but this was the first time raising them from day 1. I am very pleased with how things have worked out so far to date. Below is a list of all of my materials and setup in case anyone is interested.

    Brooder: A 4x2 wooden crate with hardware cloth over the top.
    Litter: Sand. Best choice ever! So easy to clean with a sand sifter or kitty litter scoop.
    Waterer: Brighttap on a 2 gallon rubbermaid insulated cooler
    Feeder: red plastic chick through feeder
    MHP: Sunbeam heating pad(unsure of size, but it is definitely not the large one)
    Wire frame: Expandable kitchen shelf from walmart(cost like $7 if i remember correctly)
    Blanket: Used a wool blanket folded up with shelf liner around it.
    Bedding under MHP: Straw

    Tractor:
    Using all the same items except the wooden crate.

    For those of you thinking of using the MHP, i really think you should give it a try. I am very happy I did.
     

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