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Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Blooie, Mar 4, 2015.
Ok, we are new at this. We have 3 little Buffs coming this week. So starting them now in the fall I have been wondering when a actual "safe" time would be to transition them. We of course are all set up to do the heat lamp BUT really like this idea much better. How long should we do this method indoors before moving it outdoors. Right now our over night temperature is anywhere from 50 to 36 degrees. We are so excited to start this new experience and we just want to do it right!
Welcome! I'm glad this idea appeals to you. Those of us who do it, and there are many, won't ever go back to heat lamps. With only 3 chicks, you can get by quite easily with the smaller heating pad. It's the same exact model but in a 3 chick size. I need the 15 chick economy size! That pad is usually available at Walmart. Read the box carefully - it has to allow you to flip the switch to stay on continuously and it will say so on the outside of the box. You'll also have to build a slightly smaller cave because there aren't as many of them to cuddle up for additional warmth.
As for when to put them outside, that depends on more than just temperature. Do you have coop out there built already? Electricity available? Some kind of warm bedding? If so, then please take a look at this article about raising chicks outdoors using Mama Heating Pad. I put mine outside from the start, as do many other people. Since these are your first ever chicks (congrats, by the way!) you might be not be comfortable letting them that far out of your sight and will probably want to enjoy watching them in the house. I have a wire dog crate that I use indoors, and I usually keep shipped chicks inside for the first 24 hours to watch for signs of shipping stress and to make sure they are eating and drinking before I "evict" them. I also want to make sure they understand where the cave and the warmth can always be found. Any weak chicks stay in until I'm comfortable with their progress, then they join the others outside. Even new chicks, less than a week old, are outside, even when our daytime temperatures were in the teens and twenties. Ridgerunner, another BYC member, puts them out as soon as they are dry in the incubator even in winter, but there a heat lamp is used. If I had an incubator, I'd do the same thing except with MHP.
I don't know how far into the thread you read, but I have a video (I think it's on page 4) of my chicks being raised outside posted. But, twist my arm and I might just be willing to repost it right here. Oooh, oww...okay, okay!!!
So the short answer to your question is - almost immediately IF you have a predator proof coop built, IF you have access to power out there, and IF you feel comfortable with how well they are eating, drinking, and how well they know how to use the cave.
Now, there's a membership fee for belonging to the Broody Brigade. Pictures! We require photos of your new little ones!
The only thing I question is if, as it looks in this photo, you put the Press 'n Seal directly on the pad. If so, the heat from the pad is going to cause you some problems, I'm afraid. We discussed this early in the thread and came to the conclusion that the Press 'n Seal will adhere way too tightly to the heating pad and leave an un-removable adhesive residue, and also that by sealing the pad within the plastic the pad can't "breathe" and get any cooler air on the heating elements. So I would seriously reconsider that and just use the Press 'n Seal on the towel or pillowcase over the pad. Beekissed and a few others do away with the Press 'n Seal completely, instead wrapping their entire cave assembly within an old pillowcase or large towel to protect it, which I'm also going to do next time.
Gosh, I hate tossing a blanket on your enthusiasm! If I'd seen these before I would have let you know then that it's just not a good idea to do it that way. If I'm wrong and you don't have the pad itself covered, then shame on me for jumping to conclusions!
This is the coop we are almost done making. Just need to add the hardware cloth. And then add plastic for the added winter protection
Noticed my pictures didn't upload the last time.We just need to finish the hardware cloth. So we set up the heating pad cave up in the coop and keep their door to the run open during the day just like if we had older chickens running around? And also looking at the picture....when the coop gets put in place outside we will pull the wheels up so it will be flush against the ground. Tank you so much for your help!!
My stupid father seems to think the smell will "soak into the wood" and "every time it rains/gets moist the smell will come out" and how you put them somewhere you can move them not somewhere you're gonna put a room in, etc. Etc. And keeps going on and on about how bad chickens smell, how he used to take care of them, I read a few articles and think I know everything but I don't know ****, etc. And he won't let them be in the upper part anymore. Personally I think he is stupid because people wouldn't raise them in their houses if the smell never ever went away.... Plus they're not even going to be on the wood but he seems to think they'll "get out." Umm, I wouldn't let them escape and run loose around our disgusting garage and get hurt? Anyway, my point is I'm pretty sure they'll unfortunately have to be on the concrete. But do you think if I do the plastic and blankets thing described above it would be okay?
Your father knows that of which he speaks. Chickens DO stink, concrete absorbs smells too so either way you will want to protect the floor of whatever area you keep them in. Cardboard is a great insulator too. Just make sure whatever you use as the layer next to the chicks is not slippery.
Well, I figured they probably do smell but that it would be minimized by proper cleaning? Or no? And well, his idea is that we can just hose it down and pour bleach on it...
Either way, I will definitely try to make it as warm as possible and as non slippery.
I bought 2 bags of pine shavings yesterday but I may need more depending on the size of the brooder. That's easy enough though because they were $2.99 at the feed store and we're hopefully going to be heading that way tomorrow to pick up the pallets anyways.
That reminds me, I forgot to mention it before but we hit the jackpot on pallets yesterday haha we were dropping clothes off at a thrift store and drove around back while waiting for my mom (she went shopping in it and it's in a plaza with other stuff hah) and voila! 2 massive piles of pallets and they said if they're outside we can take as many and as often as we want. Some of them looked to be in great shape too. Soo.. We're going back tomorrow to get them.
The only other bad part about putting them on the first floor is that it is a disaster so we have to move a lot of stuff and they are arriving soon (they hatch the 26th)