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

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

  1. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    [​IMG]

    Yeah, sun's out here, too, and warming up. Rain's nice but it's been too damp and cold. It spite of it not getting out of the 50s, my two-week olds are spending very little time inside the cave. They are extremely active, and are getting very good at catching the miller months that have been trying to shelter inside the run. The one with the moth runs screeching around the perimeter of their grow-out pen with the others in hot pursuit. Kind of like watching a thoroughbred horse race. Round and round they go. Hard to do that in a Sterilite brooder.

    They're getting impressive feathers on their wings, too. They look a week older than they actually are, probably because of their response to living in a cold environment and not a sweltering brooder oven. Now I look upon brooders with heat lamps as torture chambers.

    The heating pad frame I built out of a foam sleeping pad is working out very well, and holding up to curious chick beaks. The heat reflective space blanket material has helped utilize and conserve their body heat. I've had to put Plan B into effect twice, using a hot water bottle inside the cave during power failures.

    But, like I said, during the day, they spend very little time inside their cave. I've yet to raise the entrance to the cave, the rack is still in the horizontal position, but I have been turning the temp down, especially during the day. It's still on the five setting at night.

    I can't even conceive of ever going back to the heat lamp/brooder box system.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
  2. BarredCometLaced

    BarredCometLaced Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My baby chicks arrived! So far so good, they have taken to Mama Heating Pad like champs. One arrived with a little bit of a pasty butt, but we cleaned him up a bit, added ACV to the water, and hope that the stable temps and calm environment will clear things up. I will post pics in the morning!
     
  3. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    @COChix - your babies are so cute, but boy, they sure aren't looking quite so babyish now, are they? And yep, Blooie loves pictures - posting and seeing!

    @azygous I can't conceive of ever going the other way again either! This is so easy on the chicks and on the keepers, and it's almost impossible to make a mistake! Love this way of raising them!

    @BarredCometLaced We'll be waiting for those pictures! This is so close to a broody hen that it sure doesn't take young chicks long to get the hang of it! I got two in my last batch delivered with pasty butt, but unlike the first time last year I didn't feel like it was a never ending battle. Took cleaning them up twice and we were done with it!

    And today I introduced the flock to - TADA - fermented feeds! They loved it. So now I have to get my system up and running. I was going to start last week, but life got in the way of building the feeder when Kendra ended up in the hospital. So I figured I'd start when their current big galvanized feeder is empty. Well, while I was taking care of Jenny and Kendra, Ken filled the feeder for me - and I mean he FILLED it to the top! Um, does anyone know if I can safely pour that food back into the food can?
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
  4. maybaby45

    maybaby45 Out Of The Brooder

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    Is that chicken wire? I told my D I was going to put a chicken tunnel from the coop to her trampoline and chicken wire the bottom. LOL
     
  5. COChix

    COChix Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes I cannot believe how fast they see to be progressing. Day two in the run and they were all over the place. They can climb the ladders in the run to get up to our wide perches. Of course I nervously sat back and tried to let them be baby chicks. Blooie all of ours are on Fermented feed, started the babies out on day 4 and with the heat pad brooder we didn't have one pasty butt, yea!

    I took away the heat pad last night from our just turned five weeks old chicks and it was their first night without it. They seemed no worse for the wear this am and they couldn't wait to get into the run. Yesterday was their first full day in the run and I wanted to see what they did at bedtime. So I had read on another thread to train the babies you put a light in the coop, I used a solar one. The light encourages the stragglers to find their way in for roosting. Well by golly it worked like a charm. I would say by 8:15 all the babies had managed to find their way into their small coop without any assistance from me. I took the battery out once everyone was in the coop, will do this for a few nights. Here is a shot.
    [​IMG]

    Up on the big girl roosts already!
    [​IMG]

    Blooie, what day is your broody on? Ours is on day 17 and she has 8 eggs still.
    I cannot imagine going back now. I agree with you, ours look older than they are and they are developing so fast compared to their parents last year. Hope you are enjoying the sun!
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2015
  6. COChix

    COChix Overrun With Chickens

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    Those are called chunnels or chicken tunnels.
     
  7. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Agatha is on day 9 with 9 eggs. She did a pretty good job with Scout last year - his frostbite was certainly not her fault. He got his feet wet in -17 temps and no amount of snuggling or covering was going to fix that! Even when we took him out for supervised visits she surprisingly picked up right where she left off, mothering him even though she had no other chicks and he'd been in the house for a week. So let's hope she does as well this time with a better broody pen setup and warmer weather. Chicks are due on the 9th of June, and naturally we'll be leaving town the week after that for 10 days, taking granddaughter Katie with us. She is usually my best chicken sitter when we have to leave. So it'll be up to her mom!

    Looks like you raised chickens this year instead of little divas, like the divas I raised last year! [​IMG] I've got all of mine going into the coop and roosting, but I integrated them all so early that the Littles just followed the Bigs, and the Tinys followed the Littles! Gosh, I love stress free chickens!
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2015
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  8. COChix

    COChix Overrun With Chickens

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    I am really enjoying the babies more this year than last. Last year I was a nervous wreck all the time, hoping each day everyone would pile out of the coop. They all did and we managed to get through it ok. I just love watching the broody hen, I find it all fascinating. Can't wait to see her in action, hoping she will be a good mom.
     
  9. RubyNala97

    RubyNala97 Overrun With Chickens

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    I apologize if this had already been asked but do you think it would work with something like this?[​IMG]
     
  10. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Hi, RubyNala! No, I'm afraid it won't. I looked at them too at Tractor Supply when I was trying to come up with a frame, and it has multiple drawbacks. It's too small for any more than 2 or 3 chicks and wouldn't do well for long. It's so tall inside that the chicks aren't near the pad like they need to be in the beginning. Also the arch is so strongly curved they wouldn't be able to use the top to snooze and play on. Some folks here have used wire racks, wire shelving, and azygous even built a special frame made from camping foam and dowels. (I had my doubts about that one until I could actually see it built, but it's worked great!) [​IMG]

    I'll bet that a pop flat (the cardboard that cans of pop or canned goods are in) would even work until you could figure out something with some kind of wire. Cut out an opening on the side so they can go in and out, then cover that with your pad and towel. It won't work for long, but it could get you started. You could even raise it up a little with something if it's not tall enough for your chicks. If it doesn't go all the way to the floor, that's okay. It'll just function more like those Eco-brooder or Brisneas that way, like aart's pseudo heat plate. Folks have used cookie cooling racks, a cookie sheet screwed to 2 pieces of wood - so many options! I'll see if can find aart's.

    Edited to add link to aart's information.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/pseudo-brooder-heater-plate
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2015

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