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

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

  1. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida

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    I'm using a Sunbeam extra large heating pad because I can turn off the auto-off feature and it has number for controls rather than high, medium and low. I set it on 6 to start with and then watch the chicks' behavior to see if they are doing well.

    I didn't realize that some of your chicks were that old and others much younger. I'm not sure this system is going to work for them. That age difference doesn't seem like much until they hit that 4-6 week old or so stage...then the differences can be pronounced both in feathering and in size. The heat requirements change as they grow - think of the recommendation to start the temp in a brooder at 95 degrees, then lower it by 5 degrees each week when you use a lamp. That can't be done as easily with the cave when the chicks are different sizes. If you really want to do this, then I imagine you'll need a little trial and error to find a modification that works for you. If not, well, spring is almost here and yours are growing up fast, so if you can just get through a couple more weeks you should be golden. Sorry I couldn't be more help.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
  2. n3kms

    n3kms Songster

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    I had forgotten about this when I hatched my chicks about 1 1/2 weeks ago. You think they will still take to it okay if I get one made by the time they are 2 weeks? Would they be too afraid to go in after being used to the light? Thanks for posting this. I think it's a grand idea and I had forgotten all about it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
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  3. Matelew

    Matelew Chirping

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    Humm, you may be right when I went back to check on them they were huddle around the outside and not the inside. I was trying to wean them from the lamp but I will go back to no heat lamp during the day and a heat lamp at night.....
    No need to apologize this post was very helpful and I know for the future although I am hoping next time the hen does all the work...for now the garage will work until they feather out at least they are not in my master bath.
     
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  4. Cluckies

    Cluckies Crowing

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    Brilliant! Book marking for when I do chicks again! [​IMG]
     
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  5. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida

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    All you can do is give it a try. I'm not sure how they will take to it...if they have no alternative and are shown where the heat is, they might be able to use it well. I had to show Scout - once - but he was used to being under Mom so the dark didn't bother him. These new guys taught themselves for the most part. They change so fast as chicks - daily more than weekly. So I would think that the sooner you get them started, the better off you'll be. I'd also set it up early in the morning so they have all day when it's light to explore it and figure out that it's warm in there. Good luck!
     
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  6. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida

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    It's 11 pm, and all of the little ones have gone under Mama Heating Pad for the night. I spent much of the evening just observing their behaviors and wondering what other ways of doing this system would be as effective and perhaps simpler to set up. I also pondered azygous' question about the temperature inside the Chick Cave, because it got me curious, and I put a wireless thermometer transmitter inside the cave, about dead center with the reciever on my nightstand. Right now the room temp is 69 degrees and in the center of the cave, away from any direct contact with the heating pad, the temperature is a respectable 82.9. The babies are closer to the back of the cave,snuggled together and sleeping soundlly. I would imagine that closer to the pad and admid the pile of butts and beaks, the temp is running around 90-95, which is so perfect it explains why they are so contented. They've already figured out that when I turn off the big overhead light in the living room, "sunset" has started. They fill up their crops one last time and begin to mosy into the Chick cave, gettting themselves settled for the night. By the time the last light is turned off in the kitchen, there isn't sound coming from the brooder.

    [​IMG]

    Some of the options I've been thinking about are small baskets or boxes with entry holes cut for them, rather than the wire frame. I'm sure that draping the heating pad over either one would transmit almost as much heat and be a little simpler to construct. Another possibliity is making the wire frame with chicken wire, which is lightweight and easy to shape. The trouble with that one might be that the wire is pretty flimsy, and when 11 rambunctious chicks are tussling up there it might have a tendency to collapse. Then too, with the wide fencing I do use, they can get their bodies trapped, but they have no problem stepping back out.. I'd be afraid that chicken wire would trap only their little heads, and the result of that could be death by choking or hanging.

    You folks are all so clever - let's try a little brainstorming and see what other things we can find to use to drape the heating pad over without cutting back on the heat trasferance down into the cave. The main reasons I went with a wire frame was because there isn't a solid substance between the pad and the chicks so they get maximum heat. I also like it because it forms and shapes easily. But I'll bet there are people out there who would like to try something simpler. Why not?
     
  7. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller

    Hi Blooie[​IMG]

    For different sized/aged chicks make the wire frame sloped higher in the front to lower in the back so the bigger birds will go closer to the opening and the littler uns will go further inside to be closer to the heating pad.

    If you keep draft away from the setup some of the older ones could even sleep on top heat rises so they wont stay there long... Its all about self regulation...

    deb
     
  8. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller

    Oh and I love this whole concept for warming chicks but allowing them to run about and do chicky stuff without being shut in a brooder in the house.


    I will be Raising Guinea Keets eventually and am considering adapting this for out in my Big coop.

    deb
     
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  9. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida

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    Great point, Deb. I did that with the frame I'm using but I think I forgot to mention it in the description. It's taller in the front and tapers down in the back. I also did that with Scout's Cave outside. Thanks!

    Edited to add: I went back and added that little tidbit of information to the original post. Thanks again, Deb. That taper is an important part of the Cave and not to have pointed it out was kinda silly! It's very obvious in the photos but I should have mentioned it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2015
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  10. RichnSteph

    RichnSteph Songster

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    I was wondering if it was possible to put a heating pad in with the little puff butts for warmth instead of a heat lamp that has them bathed in light 24-7 and now I have my answer!

    Thanks bunches!!
     
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