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

Aunt Angus

Free Ranging
Jul 16, 2018
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Nevada County, CA
Actually I have ordered 12 Silkie hatching eggs so I hope it is an oversight I will rectify this year...

Puppy pads.... Didn't think about that! I have puppy pads! Do you use them instead of shavings?
I do at first, like a week or so. I see aart had problems with them, but I loved them. Kept everything dry and were soooo easy to change. I wrapped my MHP in them, too.

You can always try them, watch closely, and switch to something else if you need.
 

Nija Chick

Songster
Apr 30, 2011
33
59
107
Port Townsend, WA
Hi! I'm trying to do this when we get our new chicks here shortly! (I'm an early season chick person!). Do you think this would work for a larger number of chicks by simply increasing the heating pad size and thereofre being able to "warm" as many as 50-60-or more? Or do you think that becomes problematic in terms of chicks getting "stuck" at the back or in the middle. i'm looking at a heating pad 12x24 or possibly a seedling mat that's 20x48 (still used overhead like the pad). Thoughts?

Well, "they" sell heat platforms designed for chicks that advertises for +60- chicks, so I don't know why a heating pad that size wouldn't work, I'd just be sure they have an exit out the back so no one gets stuck in the corner.
 

AmeliaBedelia

Songster
Jan 23, 2021
270
602
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Georgia, USA
So we are only getting a very small number of chicks - 3 I think? (Pray for me when I see all the babies!) Will that affect how well this works? I am planning to use a 9x9 inch heating pad since there won't be many of them needing heater space.

Also, my initial plan was to put a 12x18 wire cooling rack in the corner of the plastic storage bin I'm using the first couple weeks. It's the only wire thing with built-in legs I could think of. I'd then put the heating pad on the corner side and cover the whole rack to create a long skinny "mama hen" cave with the back heated. Is that a bad idea? Do I need a smaller rack?

I've (obviously) never gotten newborn chicks before...this heat lamp alternative is what talked me into it. But I want to make sure it will work before I go get my babies! :)
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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Also, my initial plan was to put a 12x18 wire cooling rack in the corner of the plastic storage bin I'm using the first couple weeks. It's the only wire thing with built-in legs I could think of. I'd then put the heating pad on the corner side and cover the whole rack to create a long skinny "mama hen" cave with the back heated. Is that a bad idea? Do I need a smaller rack?
"Long skinny" is a red flag for me, don't want them trapped.
Might need a bigger brooder, they should have exit access on at least 2 sides of pad.
 

TJAnonymous

Songster
Feb 29, 2020
721
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Central Arkansas
I only have 2 chicks in the brooder right now. I used the MHP method for the first time with these chicks and it has been wonderful. I used a 12x24 XL Sunbeam heating pad. Underneath I made a "cave" from a piece 2" x 4" wire fence. My cave is only open in the front but it is as wide as the tub so there is a lot of room underneath. I allowed the cave to close in the back so they could snuggle back there since there were only 2 of them. It worked out great.... I also laid puppy pads on top of the shavings for the first week which also worked out perfectly for me.

20210127_102833.jpg
 

AmeliaBedelia

Songster
Jan 23, 2021
270
602
168
Georgia, USA
Ok, just remembered I have an 8x10 inch toaster oven rack I can use. That will fit better in the "teeny baby nursery." I attached the cooling rack leg to one side, which makes it about 3.5 inches tall. Debating between attaching the identical leg to the other side and using an old folded towel to elevate half the "cave" floor a bit to create a warmer "snuggling" zone vs. finding something shorter to hold up that side. 🤔

Including a photo- the white wash cloth is my stand-in for my 9x9 heating pad that arrives tomorrow. I plan to either cover the 3 sides that don't currently have the metal leg with a fleece OR create a tunnel with two open sides. Thoughts? They will be indoors, so the air temp won't be very cold.

We are only planning to use this set up for the first week or so. We wanted something we can move into the living room or outdoors with us during the day so we can keep an eye on the little ladies while they are so small. After that, we plan to switch them to a significantly larger space that's less portable.

So to sum up:

1. Is this terrible, or should it work for the first week (with fleece added on top/sides)?
2. slanted roof or elevate part of the floor?
3. cave or tunnel?

TIA for any advice!
 

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