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

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

  1. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 True BYC Addict

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    That sounds like a great idea. I think I might try that! It sounds much less stressful too because surely chasing them can't be good for them. They scream so loud I feel bad but they do need to go to bed, whether it's under or on top or in a pile (sometimes they don't even get ready and are wide awake. Maybe they need more time) so i will try this but again maybe they need more time. I've been trying really hard to not chase them otherwise though and mostly don't (unless, like today, I need to move them to clean the brooder. Unless someone has a better idea?) but bedtime is kind of essential hah mine are a mix of breeds (1 BR, 2 BA, 3 BO, 2 EE) and 2 weeks old. Will be 3 weeks Monday
     
  2. Fire Ant Farm

    Fire Ant Farm Get off my lawn Premium Member

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    Prepare yourself: When I first got the rhythm of this going, and they hadn't put themselves to bed after an hour or two of dim light, I'd turn the light out anyway. They'd scream bloody murder ("OMG Mommy! It's dark! We're gonna DIIIIIIIIIIIE!!!!!!). It's the kind of sound you can't NOT respond to (like a crying baby), so I'd cave in and turn the lamp on for a little longer so they could see a little, and inevitably, a little later they'd put themselves to bed. I think they've now learned that lower light means no light in a little while (which is how the sun works, so, good for them to learn that.) They always take the low light as the signal to start winding down now.

    One other thing, though - I made sure their feeder was full in the hours before bed, so they could have time for their dinner and go to sleep with a full crop. They are unwilling to bed hungry, and (appropriately) complain if I haven't noticed that the feeder is low. A few nights I thought they were being a PIA by not going to bed, and I realized that I had missed this - I turned on the light and gave them food and time to eat for a while before lights went back out. (It's a new feeder type for me, and I couldn't tell it was low.) Then I got into a better habit of checking their feeder so dinner was always there. [​IMG]

    - Ant Farm

    Edit to add: When I first started, I also had a longer period of "dusk" (more like 2 hours) - I have weaned them to about 1 hour "dusk" now. Starting this week I need to move them slowly toward actual sunset times, which will be a big shift, so I need to do it gradually over time...
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2015
  3. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 True BYC Addict

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    Oh yeah, sometimes they freak out and I usually turn the light back on. Tonight though they freaked out and I decided to just leave them. I maybe should have turned it on because I think some came out from MHP but I always do and didn't want them to learn I'll always turn the light on. I mean... The sun doesn't come.back up (least till morning) lol

    I will try this new idea though.

    And I learned the hard way about the feed thing last night. Didn't realize it was empty and we went out and my mom turned the light off (usually I do). Well it had been i think a couple hours but maybe less and I heard LOUD cheeping from all the way down here so I went upstairs to check, thinking they were out of the brooder or cold, turned light on and all were standing on MHP (not even huddled together or settling down), didn't know what was wrong until I noticed the feeder was entirely bedding. Poor babies. :( filled it, with a lot this time.ao it wouldn't run low, and they all gorged themselves while I watched some T.V. and went back and they were under MHP. Was so cute.
     
  4. Lavender11

    Lavender11 Out Of The Brooder

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    [​IMG]

    These little darlings are one week and one day old. After bringing them all back inside because of some leg issues in a couple I finally felt confident to put them back out again when they were 5 days old. They are well protected under our pergola near my family room door and at night I put a quilt over the cage. I raised my heating pad (reptile one) and also put one on the floor. We haven't had any leg issues again and they seem nice and warm when they're in there. At night time I leave the family room light on and the blinds open a little so there's enough light for me to see them when I check on them and then when I go to bed I make sure they're in their cave and turn the family room light off. I've also just changed the flooring to pine shavings because their fluffy little feet are getting poop all over them. The black a white one with it's back to us in the photo is bossy but also seems one of the most advanced and likes to jump on my hand or arm when I put food in my hand for them. When should I think about putting a practice roost in there for them?
     
  5. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 True BYC Addict

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    They're soooo cute! And I've heard a lot of.people say around 4 weeks but with MHP they may mature faster so idk
     
  6. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I have never left any kind of light on for the chicks regardless of time of year. As the sun went down and the space where they were - be it indoors or out - gradually darkened with the natural sunset, they made their way to the cave and began the "roosting under Mama" process. As their area gradually lightened with sunrise, they woke and started going about their day. Again the premise behind brooding as naturally as possible is just that. Mama Broody Hen doesn't have a night-light under her wings for them, so I figured they didn't need one in their brooder, either. The more things we accustom them to as babies, the more we have to fuss and figure out when it's time for them to take their place in the big chicken world. The natural day/night cycles is one of the best aspects of Mama Heating Pad.

    If I ever did have to go out and check on them for any reason, or had one or two who seemed to need to be reminded where the cave was, I simply rubber-banded a dark colored washcloth over the beam end of a flashlight and used that so I didn't disturb those chicks and adults who were already bedded down.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I did the same...but...might not work as well in a room with no, or very small, windows....especially this time of year.

    Room I had mine in has large north windows, but dim enough to need a light during the day....
    .....I'd try to remember to turn it off late afternoon so the natural sunset would lull them to 'roost'.
     
  8. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 True BYC Addict

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    Yeah, there isn't very much light in that room but I do need to at least turn it off at a normal time. I wish they didn't need it even :/ although, that said, maybe they don't. I've been in there before and it's not THAT dark though it's not exactly bright either. But they're in front of the window so the light goes to them even if the rest of the room is darker but it's still not really bright, especially during rain. That said though, they are in a bathroom and on the backside of the house. I am sure in a room with more natural light or, better yet, outside, they wouldn't need it. In fact, once they're permanently outside there won't be electricity except for maybe an extension cord for water heaters in the winter so no lights anyway, I don't want them. Although they are moving to the garage so when they do I won't bother with the lights because they're facing the front of the house instead of the back plus the doors are wide and have a row of windows so more light. Not sure if it faces north or not. Although the good news is that no matter when I turn the light off, they always eventually tuck under and go to sleep and stay asleep until the sun starts coming in and are usually always all awake by the time I get up to check on them and/or turn the light on (if it doesn't need it sometimes I don't.) so at least they're getting used to that aspect and won't freak when they're adults and it's dark. :) although I would like to get them used to the natural times so I'm able to get them back to the coop when they're older.
     
  9. bruceha2000

    bruceha2000 Chicken Obsessed

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    At 4 weeks they don't need any supplemental heat. My 7 broody raised birds were all up on the 4' high roosts with the nine 3 Y/O hens by 4 weeks. And the now 3 Y/O girls were put out in the barn at 3 weeks (it was summer). They would get out of the bathtub but couldn't get back in, time to move out of the house. I did have their heat lamp ("old school" technology!) in the corner for the first week but I don't think they used it much. They were up on the roosts after a day or so.

    Bring the MHP into the house for use on your sore muscles or cold spots this winter [​IMG]
     
  10. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 True BYC Addict

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    At what age can I take the rocks out? It's hard to clean because while most drink from outside and just dip their beaks in, some have taken to flying up and sitting in it so sometimes they get poop in it but being higher up so far no shavings have again (which was a huge pain) and it's just, stuff gets in between the rocks and it's hard to clean. Plus I worry germs have probably soaked into the rocks. But I am SO PARANOID they're going to drown. They know how to drink and will be 3 weeks on Monday but I still worry. Also am I supposed to be cleaning the waterer? I've rinsed it out numerous times (whenever I fill it) but never used soap or anything cause I didn't want to hurt them. I'm about to refill the water so was wondering

    Also how do I know when to raise MHP?
     

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