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

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

  1. okiemamachick

    okiemamachick Chirping

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    LOVE IT!
     
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  2. dheltzel

    dheltzel Crowing

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  3. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida

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    Woo hoo! After searching all morning using every search term I could come up with, I finally found the video that was the inspiration for this project! Thank you, Patrice Lopatin!! I can finally give you the proper credit. Check out this video - if it doesn't make a believer out of you I'll be surprised!

     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2015
  4. LeslieDJoyce

    LeslieDJoyce Crowing

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    Isn't having the chicks out in the coop great?!?
     
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  5. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida

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    No, sorry, that one won't work. You need to have the ability to turn off the auto-off function or the heating pad will turn itself out after about 2 hours. You need it to stay on continuously. This is the one I used. aart was kind enough to post the link on another thread for me.
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005NZ66KU/?tag=backy-20

    It's gonna be fantastic, Leslie! I'd ordered chicks from my usual source to arrive the first week in April, so thought I had plenty of time to finish the Chick Cave in the coop. But then we spotted these, just the breeds I wanted, at a feed store that excels in identifying and housing them (Shipton's Big R) , and ended up coming home with them a little early and cancelling the prior order. That wouldn't have been so bad - it won't take long to get the outside setup done - but Ken ended up in the hospital the night we got home with the chicks. So they are in the house for a few days. He got home late yesterday, still pretty weak but eager to get started.

    That said, it worked amazingly well outside for Scout! He'd been in the house during his treatment period. When we put him back out it was below zero, and he had no flockmates to cuddle up with for additional warmth. Obviously Mama Heating Pad did a great job of keeping him warm, secure, and thriving. He feathered out quickly, and aside from his poor, deformed feet he's as healthy as can be, and integration into the flock was seamless. He also knew night from day so he wasn't freaked out being in the dark for the first time. So I just know that this method is going to be the only one I'll use for chicks...and mine will be outside in another day or two.
     
  6. Matelew

    Matelew Chirping

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    Saw this and put one together so I could put the chicks in the garage...we made it in a tepee shape...they are intrigued by it but the wouldn't go inside....I am hoping they will figure it out....
     
  7. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida

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    I'm sorry, I forgot to hit the multi-quote button on your post so your question didn't get answered. If you look at the video link that I posted, you can see that Ms. Lopatin didn't use a dog crate. She just did what I did when I put my little dude outside. Now, he was in a crate at first until the other chickens got used to him. Then we opened the door a bit and wired it so he could fit back inside but they couldn't follow him in. Shortly after that the crate came out completely but the Cave stayed in. Both with and without the crate I piled up straw over the metal frame and heating pad, then dug out a space underneath it for them to run into. I am using the dog crate because right now the babies are in the house (not the original plan as you can see from my previous posts) and their Chick Cave will be contained within a bigger wire enclosure outside. I want them to be around the other adults - seeing them and them seeing the chicks - to make integration into the flock easier. So you don't have to use the dog crate if you don't need to.

    As for the Press 'n Seal, that's easy to come by. It's just the stuff that is used for wrapping leftovers and it's found in the aluminum foil, plastic wrap section of most grocery stores or Walmart. But if you look carefully at the pictures I posted, I used it to keep the pine shavings in the brooder by running a length of it around and under the crate. Then I covered a towel with it to keep it clean - I just wipe it down with a damp paper towel and when it gets too bad I rip it off and replace it. You don't need to do that if you are putting your chicks outside because the straw takes the place of it, although I did use a towel between the straw and the pad to protect the top of the heating pad even outside. I haven't used aluminum foil - the chicks spend a lot of time standing on the top and I would be afraid it would get too hot.

    The towel sits directly on the top of the heating pad in the setup I am using. I am trying to determine from your post if you are wanting to use this setup for older chickens that are already outside or if you are getting (or have) new chicks. This just won't work for older birds. Scout was out of it by the time he was a few weeks old and totally integrated with the flock. (Sorry, can't remember his exact age at the time) This works because chicks' instincts are to run around exploring and learning their environment, but scurrying under Mom for a little warm-up or when they feel threatened and the cave allows them to do that. Older birds want to roost as soon as they can get up on one and are not likely to huddle in a cave for warmth.

    While I love this method, having used it both inside where it's warm and outside where it was below zero, I don't want anyone to get the impression that this is the only way to raise chicks. It simply isn't. It simply might not be right in all situations or setups, and it would be arrogant to "tell" folks to use it just because I do. I'm just sharing what I am doing because it's working perfectly for me.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  8. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida

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    Trying to visualize this with a te-pee shape. I would think the peak would keep the heat too far from the chicks and they wouldn't be able to get up on top where they like to catnap and warm up a bit without going under the cave. As far as getting them to use it, could you tuck some of them underneath and hold your hand in front of the opening, confining them for a minute or so until they notice the darkness and warmth? I didn't run into that issue because I put mine in the crate with the heating pad from their first moment here. And of course, Scout was hatched and under a broody hen until his injury, so it was a natural progression for him.
     
  9. okiemamachick

    okiemamachick Chirping

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    What setting do you Put the pad on?
     
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  10. Matelew

    Matelew Chirping

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    Feb 17, 2015

    Thanks for responding...

    I have chicks from 2-4weeks old...I got three pairs in 1 week intervals. I had them in my bathroom in a 16 gallon bin with a heat lamp but as they got older they needed bigger space because they seemed to be pecking on my little Americana. And the cleaning was a bit much because of the crate mess. We tried them in the coop last night with a heat lamp and while I think the older ones did ok the younger ones were cold...anyway I was looking for an alternative that would keep them all together but give the younger ones the chance to get warm without trying to warm themselves under the older ones if that makes sense.

    We tried putting the younger ones inside and they stayed for a minute before running out. I wish I had found this before I had the heat lamp set up as its so much easier. I thought about the tepee shape its warm on the inside because it's not a huge tepee but I wanted the 3 week olds to run in if they want.

    They like to sleep huddle together as it is so maybe I am over thinking it all together...I don't know.

    I have two Buffs that are 4 weeks, RIR and Golden Comet that are 3weeks and 2 week old Americanas. When I go back out I will get a picture and post it.
     
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