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

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

  1. alibabba

    alibabba Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ha, I can make pens like McGiver, but chicks I can not identify babies...yet.

    I ordered 5 specific breeds which were obviously different from each other, but i thought the wyandottes were the speckeled sussex for a couple weeks. Doh!
     
  2. alibabba

    alibabba Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When did I put those little beggars outside...was it 3 weeks? It might be, a blur.... of pens and baby poop (23 chicks)

    I had the MHP on 5 for a couple of nights then 4, and off during the day. They were not going under at all in the house, so I had put it on the floor of their 3x3 dog house coop.

    I would see them sitting off to the side. I turned it off and just left it that way. It went down into the low 50's many nights and they were absolutely perfect. They eat run, fly, (the still cram into a 1x1.5 pile in the coop its amazing) some are roosting when I open up in the morning. On warmer nights I have left the door open with no ill effects except I feel better that they can get out and about and not tromp or pick each other.

    So far...no one has been picked on or picked at.

    All is completely well! This makes me feel confident about the next 20 (rare expensive chicks..[​IMG]) I have coming any moment...they are already overdue...thank goodness! What was I thinking?


    ETA...they are coming up on 6 weeks old on Thurs and they seem very robust and well grown overall. I feel pity for the poor birds under heat lamps, it must be torture...like being in the desert.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2015
  3. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I just love to hear reports of people just like me who took a chance, and are pleased with the results of using MHP. And I also love to hear from those who are having glitches so we can brainstorm and work out any kinks. I'm learning right along with all of you, and it's been an absolute joy to get to "know" you all this way. Lots of pictures of adorable chicks (even though I can't help with maybaby45's identification) and lots of pictures of different setups.

    I officially retired MHP today, for the first time since March 1st. I had it off for the past couple of nights, but left it and the cave in place because we've really had some unsettled weather patterns the past few days. If I needed to I wanted to just be able to go out and turn it on to 1 or 2, just to take the chill off. Didn't need to. They did just fine on the little roost in their pen instead of anywhere near the cave. So today I pulled the pen wide open, let the Tinys in with the Bigs and Littles, and supervised while we worked out there. Those three RIR roosters are going to freezer camp as soon as there's enough meat on them to justify the freezer space. They are NASTY little boogers - nasty to each other, to the other Littles, and now the Tinys. The Tinys figured out how to get under the log real quick. They also flew up to the big roosts in the run for the first time, and spent a lot of time outdoors. Busy day for them ---- they should sleep well heating pad or not!

    I cleaned out the pen, put all fresh bedding down, moved Agatha's old basket into the sheltered part of the brooder pen, and wrapped the outside of the pen with landscape fabric so she had some semblance of privacy. After she got acquainted with her new digs, she decided that that old wooden basket worked just fine when she was sitting on Scout's egg, but she wasn't having any of it this time. So after things settled down, we took out the basket, removed the nest she had been sitting in from where it was hanging on the wall, and put that one in the pen. We put a wooden egg in there for her, she walked right in and and picked up right where she left off when we so rudely interrupted her. She's content. I have the eggs ready to slip under her tonight. Wish us luck!

    Just because I've retired Mama Heating Pad doesn't mean I'm retiring the thread. Let's keep it going and watch chicks grow! I'm going to load some pictures I took today and I'll be back shortly.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2015
  4. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Forgot to mention that we lost one of the Littles today. Baby Beluga, the black and white EE roo was dead when we went out to the coop to start working. We'd planned to keep him. Looked like he got trapped between one of the nest boxes and the wall. Wish we'd gone out earlier to start working out there. I feel so bad, but I can't live out there 24/7, either.

    Loaded the pictures I took but until I looked at them I didn't realize that I had some kind of big old smear on my camera lens. So I'll just put up a couple of the ones where the smear doesn't impact the picture much. Doggone it. Rough day at Oleo Acres today.

    [​IMG]
    The Tinys learning to roost.

    [​IMG]
    Out in the yard finding good stuff to eat!

    [​IMG]
    Gladys, Edith,and Mathilda showing the Tinys where the good stuff is.

    [​IMG]
    Scout and Mathilda and some of the Tinys.

    [​IMG]
    Gossip around the water fountain. A couple of Littles, some Bigs, and Tinys, all occupying the same space.

    [​IMG]
    Attilla the Hen (Agatha) now using the brooder pen.

    [​IMG]
    The outside of the brooder pen with the landscape fabric wrapped around it. Should work well.
     
  5. alibabba

    alibabba Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Absolutely. taking the chance...based on the information we have and what we observe and use our critical thinking to reason the best solution....


    I'm sorry, I have not read every post. I don't think anyone has had negative experiences with this, is this correct? No hypothermic chicks? No growth retardation. I swear these chicks look ready and act ready to head out to the free range(of my yard [​IMG], as I watch them watch the grown ups and trying to escape their giant pen!


    I had 3 losses out of 26. These were all lost while indoors. And I think these were attributable to other or unknown causes. No signs of left out chicks or cold chicks or anything like that at all I think people might say this is good ratio for shipped chicks. I still think "good" would be 100% survival, but I am a perfectionist in some ways.

    ETA... the trellis looks really pretty over the wire..and the holes are too big with each singly, but together...they work great! Note to self...watch for cheap or free trellis. And is that a green bungee application? I love bungees. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2015
  6. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    We haven't had any chicks chill and die that I'm aware of. There have been a few issues with some chicks "not getting it" at first, but those seem to have been resolved. Frankly, I don't worry about them not going under and staying under for extended periods of time - they wouldn't do that under a broody hen, either. And if some of them preferred to sleep on top of the pad rather than under it, that was fine with me too. Every time I'd go out in the morning they were all greeting the day, so they obviously didn't suffer any ill effects from not sleeping underneath it all night.

    I think the hardest thing to get used to, for me anyway, was letting THEM decide what they needed. Last year with my first chicks I "over-everythinged" (new word) - I over fussed, I over stressed, I over hovered, I over heated...I just overed. It was a little difficult not to be so hands on this time. But by the time the Tinys arrived I had it pretty much down. Put in clean bedding, put in chicks, add food and water and stand back and let 'em go!
     
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  7. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    So sorry about Baby Beluga, Blooie. I'm still hurting from the death of my little chick last week, so I commiserate with you.

    Today, I discovered it's necessary to have a Plan B when you're using the MHP system in case of extended power failure. We're getting some of that weather you've been getting, Blooie, and this afternoon the power went out suddenly and stayed off for a good long time. It didn't help that I've been without running water for the last few days due to my pressure pump rupturing and flooding my crawl space a couple days ago, and won't have water until week's end. My exhaustion level was already running high.

    I ran out and gathered up the three chicks outside in the grow-out pen and brought them inside and then put all five chicks into a foam cooler. Then I started up the propane stove and got some rain water brought in from the rain barrels and started it heating. When it was warm enough to still stick my hand in and not get burned, I poured it into several quart plastic bottles and placed them in the foam cooler with the five chicks.

    They had their food and water and were very well behaved until the power came on several hours later. All but Sunny the sick chick stayed comfortable. Sunny was both cold and stressed over being crammed in with the others. I think she was just overwhelmed by their high level of activity.

    Even though the power was restored, I got to thinking about the heavy rain expected tonight, and that our power co-op is not always reliable to keep the power on in storms, so I decided it might be a good idea to relocate the outdoor chicks in the garage for the night just in case. That way I won't have to trek outside in the rain and cold and the DARK to deal with rescuing the chicks if the power goes out again.

    The chicks were going nuts out in the run while I was setting up their cave in a crate in the garage, not only because they were feeling stranded and cold, but it was the first time they had ever heard heavy rain hammering the roof of the run. They came right to me when I called, "Babies!" And they immediately quieted down when I popped them into a small cooler for the wet trip back to the garage. They scooted right under the already warming heating pad and started their bedtime trilling.

    And I'm also in bed, warm and smug that I have it covered in case the darned, stupid power goes out again!
     
  8. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Wow! Good thinking on all counts, azygous! I'm going to remember that hot water trick. For now, I lift my glass.......to a peaceful, warm night for you and your chicks!
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Sorry for the stuck chick loss....
    almost lost one the other night, 6wo's second night in the coop and at dusk they started fly/climbing the chicken wire partition, one got it's head stuck and just hung there, luckily I was standing right there and got it down quickly.

    Why the landscape cloth? I would think it would be good for her to see the flock and visaversa.
     
  10. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Agatha is one of those goofy chickens who doesn't like any distractions when she's broody. She wants to be totally by herself. If she had her own coop and never had to be bothered with Bigs, Littles, or Tinys she'd be content. So I'm just accommodating her weird little quirk. It'll come down in a few days when I know she's stuck like glue to that nest. But there was a lot of commotion going on in the coop and run yesterday, so she wasn't settling down very well. This morning she's firmly planted in that nest - barely looked at me when I went in and peeked over the top. I figure another day or so and I'll start peeling it back, watching how she reacts. That's why I just used some landscape fabric instead of something more permanent - easy to unclip the clothespins and take down.

    I don't know why some chickens seem to find themselves in predicaments that are so risky. Scout was the same way - if there was a way to find trouble, he was right there. There was absolutely no reason for Beluga to try to jam himself in that small gap between the nest box and the coop wall. He was perfectly fine when we went out to feed and get eggs yesterday morning. He was even trying to crow for the first time. I'm sure glad you were there to rescue yours...I know how you'd have felt if you'd gone out there and found one just hanging there.
     

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