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

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

  1. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller Premium Member

    I really love your setup its incredibly clean and efficient... [​IMG] And Sand.... or it looks like sand for the floor.

    deb
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Been quite awhile since I posted anything about the Tinys. Don't ask me why - I have no idea! But today was the first day of the full integration process, and aside from a few of the Littles getting feisty with them it went pretty well.

    I've opened their brooder before and let them explore the run when the Bigs and Littles were out in the yard, and they seemed to enjoy themselves. It was a good way to teach them where the opening to the brooder is located. I had been opening it just enough for them to go in and out but narrow enough so they couldn't be followed back in by any of the older birds. A few of them figured it out immediately, but the majority of them just ran up and down the pen, peeping at those brave enough to venture out.

    Today I opened it all the way up, and some of the little goofballs still stayed inside the brooder. But this time I didn't keep the run door to the outside closed, and allowed the Littles, the Bigs and the Tinys to occupy the same space. I was pleasantly surprised that some of them actually wandered all the way outside. Yayy! One step closer to taking the brooder pen out completely and being done with chicks for the year.

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    The Littles ain't so little anymore!

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    The Tinys out exploring the run. Those still inside were really yelling at the ones outside the brooder - don't know if they were asking for help joining the party or yelling at them to "Get back inside this brooder, right NOW!" That big log in the run has been invaluable for providing the chicks a place to duck into if things get intense. It's about 4 or 5 feet long, and I'm really glad it's in there.

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    I really like this picture, except for the extension cord! These are three of the Tinys out in the yard for the first time. They stayed really close to the coop and run, but by golly they were outside! On the right side of the picture is Agatha, one of the Bigs. And just behind the Tinys is one of the Littles.

    [​IMG]
    You can see the gap leading into the brooder pen in this shot. Right after I took it, I opened the pen all the way. Ken was filling the waterers, so the hose is in the picture, doggone it!

    The heating pad is off as of today. We'll continue the gradual integration process for another few days, then the brooder will also come down. It'll be nice to have the entire run available for everybody again.
     
  3. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    @azygous Your setup is absolutely top notch! I'm jealous!
     
  4. monkcat

    monkcat Chillin' With My Peeps

    I know this is not exactly heating pad info, but as Blooie is introducing her tinys to the littles and bigs, I am wondering how to integrate safely. I mean, age-wise, when are the tinys "smart" enough to know where to go to get to safety. Do the older chicks ever really go at the tinys? I have my bigger ones - roughly a month old, and a few two weekers. My biggest concern is that one of my tinys is a Silkie, so will be smaller than most of my rather large breeds. Is safety possible? Or should I just plan on another coop?
     
  5. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I had way more trouble with the older chicks picking on the Tinys than I got from the Bigs. Seemed like I had to use my "persuader" more often today than I did when I integrated the Littles with the Bigs. If you have a place for them to hide if the older chicks scare them, you have won half the battle. For me it's that log. I also propped up and secured a piece of plywood up against the wall in the coop for them to slip under. Visualize half an A-frame leaned against the wall. That was Bee's idea, after she, LazyGardener and some other folks were brainstorming about why the Littles kept ending up in the nestboxes during the day. I never had a problem with them sleeping in them at night, but during the day they were hogging up the nests. You'd think it would have been the opposite! But LG suggested they were finding a place where the Bigs couldn't sneak up from behind, and Bee suggested the hidey-hole. They also have the logs to run under. Now that they are almost as big as the Bigs, I have no issues whatsoever. But they do NOT like the Tinys. Too bad, they'll just have to learn to get along.

    I don't know how smart they have to be to figure it out. Some of the Tinys still can't understand that the same crack in the pen that let them out will also let them back in. <sigh> So it's a process. You start by watching them like a hawk, prepared to be the broody hen if you have to and give a bully a peck on the head as a Mama Hen would do to protect her chicks. Tomorrow I'm going to totally skip letting them out into the run and just take them all directly outside. Bee says she integrates all of her chicks during free ranging, so I'm going to do that.

    The age difference is far less in your chicks than in mine, so I don't forsee you having that many problems if you integrate on "neutral" territory, like inside the run or outdoors. The Silkie might be a bit more of a challenge. I'm just not expert enough to advise you on that, so again I call on those of you out there with more experience than I have to help out here.
     
  6. monkcat

    monkcat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks, Blooie! I am concerned that this flock is established and won't take well to new comers, especially little new comers! One of my older chicks is definitely a cockerel. Developed a red comb and wattles over the weekend. Would he be more of a problem than the ladies? If I introduce them in the run it may be better I'm thinking. I have a cage that separates and I can set it on the grass so they are in a cage but on ground as well to help them get used to each other. But would only be for short periods as it is too small for any length of time. Will prop a piece of plywood up against the back wall. Also, if I put the MHP back in the coop, the older ones can't get under it. That may give them a good hiding place too. I have the opportunity to get silkies that are anywhere from a couple of weeks, up to a couple of months old. I have one silkie right now. Wanted a couple more for it's security if I can't get them integrated, it'll have other warm fuzzy bodies to snuggle up to. Ah, decisions, decisions.

    edit - ooooh, this is post #666![​IMG] This is the cage with my bigger kids in it for a field trip when they were smaller!
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2015
  7. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    Blooie, your Buff Brahmas are really starting to come into their beautiful plumage. I had four of this breed, two roos and two hens, before they each met an untimely end, and a sweeter breed you'd be hard pressed to find. They have been among the most colorful and beautiful of all the chickens I've had.

    You've mentioned you live in town, so what do you do with all these chickens? I'm up to 23 now, and I sell my eggs.

    By the way, if you look at my middle photo, notice the small brownish square at the bottom of the fence. That opens up into an oval portal for the chicks to use to evade any big bullies giving chase. Every partition has one so none of the babies gets trapped in a dead end. Now, that's huge fun to watch them outrun and outsmart the big girls! Anyway, that's my strategy for merging the littles with the bigs when the time comes. This new batch may be able to handle it by their third week, I figure.

    By the way, they were like little kids tonight, not wanting to go into their cave and go to sleep as long as they thought something exciting was going on in the run. They kept racing out of their cave and hanging out watching the big girls file inside their coop to roost, even though they were getting noticeable cold. Finally they gave up and put themselves to bed.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2015
  8. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    @COChix. I'm sorry I forgot to answer your question about keeping the straw on top of the cave. The truth is, you can't. :/ They scratch through it and knock it off almost as fast as you put up there. But our nights were still pretty cool and I really wanted that extra insulation. So what I would do was just pile it back up there at night when they were getting ready to bed down. They were more interested in going to bed than digging through the straw, and since I was out there anyway locking up the coop I just took that extra few minutes and recovered the cave. Even when they were sleeping on top of the cave they left most of the replaced straw. Come morning, all bets were off. :lol:
     
  9. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller Premium Member

    OK @Blooie

    some magic for you....

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    AND

    [​IMG]

    deb
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nice job deb!

    Love the Buff Brahmas.
     

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