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

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

  1. MamaDoolittle

    MamaDoolittle Out Of The Brooder

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    Day 3 and my babies are doing awesome! This system is everything I was hoping for! Thanks to Blooie for all of the support.
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  2. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Thanks, but you have a whole lot more people supporting you than just me! There are folks who were doing this long before I was, and that's where the idea came from. As I've said, I was just lucky enough to be able to put it all down in one place and have great people jump in with ideas, modifications and assistance!

    So happy that you're having such a good experience with MHP! Now go out there and CONVERT! (Just kidding with that last part! Tee hee)
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    From what I've seen with my broodies, that's exactly what happens. It's not so much a purposeful rotation of "I've been next to momma X number of hours, now it's your turn", but more of a "Man, it's getting very warm here, I'm going to move out a little and get some air" and another chick from the edge scoots inward toward momma.

    At about 3 weeks now, the nights are warm enough my chicks aren't even sleeping under momma, more like in a loose ring close to her. They may tuck under in the wee hours, but I'm not going out to check [​IMG]
     
  4. MizPriz

    MizPriz Out Of The Brooder

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    First night with this system went very well! ( for the babies, anyway) being a nervouse first time chick mom, I had to get up and check on things in the middle of the night. Babies were all cuddled up under there and sleeping soundly.
    Temps between 85-98 depending on where the thermometer is placed underneath.
    Babies are happy and healthy this morning :)

    The only worry I have is that the brooder box isn't large enough. It one of the super ong totes, but the "momma" takes up half the space. Maybe it's OK since they can wander around under her for additional room? Square footage - wise, it is more than the space that is recommended for 6 chicks.Any feedback on that?
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  5. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    Do you have a coop already built? Are there any adult chickens already living in it? If the answers are yes to the first and no to the second, you can go ahead and move babies and MHP system into the coop. Or do what I have done - rig up a safe pen and brood outdoors in it.

    This past spring I managed to get myself to throw out the old paradigm of brooder-box raised chicks and followed Blooie's bold example and brooded my chicks right outdoors in the run. A few weeks later I moved the MHP system into the coop, thus transitioning the chicks to living in the coop with other chickens.

    I chronicled my experiences around the middle of this thread. The results were amazing. I will never go back to using a confining brooder box again. The chicks grew up with lots of space to run and play, and they were cold-hardened at a very early age.

    I'm currently raising my second batch of three chicks in this manner. The chicks are three and a half weeks old and are already mingling with the rest of the flock and have access to the entire run, utilizing chick-size portals so the chicks can evade the big chickens when necessary. Both this merger and the previous one back in spring went smoothly since the chicks had already been accepted into the flock by proximity of being brooded there under their beaks this entire time.

    By age five weeks, I will move the MHP system into the coop and the chicks will transition to roosting on a perch within one week, if it goes like the last batch did. This batch will have to roost with adults in the coop where the last batch had their own partitioned section of coop to themselves, but I don't anticipate any problems since all the adults treat the babies with complete indifference so far.

    When I come onto this forum each day and start reading the new posts, it's amazing how many new chick people automatically assume that building a brooder box or fetching one of those hideous plastic Sterilite tubs from Walmart and sticking a heat lamp over it is the only way to brood. The MHP system allows you to completely do away with those confining boxes. Chicks grow up happier and much more self confident, and you are happier too, because you can go outdoors and enjoy your chicks in their natural habitat instead of counting the days until you can get rid of the dusty, noisy mess inside your house.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  6. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Amen and amen! I will never go back to indoor brooding. I mentioned your portal system in the outdoor brooding article I just wrote (Yes, You Certainly Can Brood Chicks Outdoors) and I was thinking that it might be a good idea for you to do either an article or start a thread on it, @azygous , because I thought it was brilliant.

    @MizPriz I had my first batch of this year in the house for few days too, and like yours mine were so crowded! But Ken got very sick the day we brought the chicks home and ended up being admitted to the hospital from the ER. So they had no place outside set up yet and I was too focused on him to worry about it. They were eating, drinking, pooping and exploring so I just let MHP do the rest. They survived until I could get them out. Then they took off - they thrived.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. MamaDoolittle

    MamaDoolittle Out Of The Brooder

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    My babies are currently sectioned off inside the coop with MHP as they are only a few days old. My bigger girls aren't paying much attention to them. My question is when they are older I know that they are supposed to have doors so that only they can fit through, but I'm wondering as mine are actually in the coop and it is elevated with a ramp to the run, if I will need to section off part of the run? Will it be too much for the babies to have to try and navigate the ramp to get away? Thanks for the feedback.
     
  8. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    It's hard to give you a definitive answer on that, MamaDoolittle, without seeing how high the ramp is or what your setup looks like. I've never used a raised coop, so I'm just not sure how that would work. Me, I just brood in the run from the start. Easier to keep an eye on them (don't have to go into the coop, can see through the fencing on the run) and there's more space. So if you can I'd opt for the run. Just an FYI - we had a huge tree trimmed last fall, and one of the limbs (well, more than one, truth be told!) was hollow. We put half of it in the run and the other half in the coop. The Tinys and the Littles used it to escape the Bigs if they were too far away from their brooder pen to get away. Sometimes when they are getting pecked on a bit they just can't make it to the door and having an alternative hiding spot helps a lot. When you are ready to start integrating them, you can use some anchored plywood or something to form a little tent like the log for a little added security.

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    The Tinys with the log behind them.


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    This thing was huge - I mean really giant!


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    If you look real hard, you can see some Tinys under there.
     
  9. RubyNala97

    RubyNala97 Overrun With Chickens

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    So you brooded the chicks outside? Did you have them inside for a couple days in the beginning? I'm wondering if that would work for me. I do have a raised coop but under it is all screened in and attached to the run. I could probably block that off. They stayed warm enough overnight?
     
  10. MizPriz

    MizPriz Out Of The Brooder

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    These are my first chicks, and while we don't have the coop built yet, I have a kennel that we plan on reinforcing with hardware cloth to keep predators out and I hope to complete that this weekend. That will be their home until the coop is finished. But I love your idea and thank you for the pics!!! I will give that info to my daughter who is raising chicks that need integrated into her free range flock. This will certainly work for her :)
     

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