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 Premium Member

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    You mean to keep it from doing this.......
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    When the weather gets like this......
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    Well, every morning that it's like ^ we do this......
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    I'm dead serious! We had a heater in there and the water in the bucket never froze. But the little dribbles that remained in the cup after they drank DID freeze. When that water froze it expanded. When it expanded it put pressure on the little triggers in the nipples, making more water ooze out and filling them to overflowing. Then we got icicles from the nipple to the floor. So anytime our temps got to that minus 17 degrees or so, we'd get up, start the coffee, put on our winter duds, and take the heat gun to thaw the nipples and melt the icicles. That's what Ken is doing in the last picture. He'd already melted the nipple and the area around it, heat dried it, and was working on the icicle/skating pond part of it. Now we didn't have that problem if we were at like 5 or 10 below for some reason, but once we hit the teens it was, "Break out the heat gun, honey, while I start the coffee!" It seems like a bigger deal than it was - the chickens were fine waiting for that first drink of the morning, and thawing only took a couple of minutes. While he did that I checked everyone over, made sure food was full, straw in the nest boxes was nice and fluffy for them, and by that time he was done. So we were out doing morning chores anyway - we just did them earlier in the day than normal.

    Like Deb just said, there are tons of threads out there that talk about keeping those nipples thawed. Some folks have had more success than we did. But you know, looking back on the entire winter, it really wasn't any worse than any other thing we have to during the season, and spending a few minutes with heat gun still beat the heck out of lugging buckets of water out and carrying frozen ones back in, so it was a pretty good tradeoff!
     
  2. Grimm

    Grimm Out Of The Brooder

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    OMG! $23!?! I got mine from my vet for $7 a tube. I figured having extra tubes was worth the $14.

    The vet stated this is fine for poultry, fowl, swine, etc. So livestock in general.
     
  3. Grimm

    Grimm Out Of The Brooder

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    It is funny that you mentioned a cushion. I told my DH today that when the new run is finished I want a chair I take in the run with me. I want to test the theory that my big girls would be lap hens. My 3 older girls are very loving to the point they come to me no matter where I am in the coop or run. Some times I have to take treats out there to keep them away from me while I am cleaning the bedding/poop board. They insist on being with me. One of them escaped the run the other day. She followed me around the yard trying to protect me from our dogs. When I needed to go back in the house to check on Roo I just walked in to the run and she followed me. I gave her some meal worms so I could sneak out.

    My chicks in the brooder are a bit more skittish. They want to fly out of the brooder to escape being held or touched. Not even three weeks and they can fly-ish! It has been in the 80s here even in our basement so I turned the heating pad down to 1. When I went to bed them down for the night they were being big babies and huddling on top of the cave even though it was 75 in the basement. So I turned the pad up. It is suppose to be very hot this weekend so I about going to try turning the pad off during the day and see how they react. At least it has been cooling off at night- 50s.

    But on a different note, Frou Frou is doing much better! Her eye looks almost 100%. No weeping or swelling. The down around the eye is still messy looking (matted from keeping the eye clean) but at the rate she is feathering I don't think that will matter for much longer. My DH is coming home this weekend from a business trip just to work on the new coop and run. He has to go back out of town but he agrees the chicks are growing a lot faster than the older girls did so it has to be done sooner.
     
  4. maybaby45

    maybaby45 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mine are in the run during the day and MHP is inside. Of course it's in the mid 80's already but they got a little damp yesterday so I took an old towel and put it in the dog house they use to hide in / keep out of the rain. I looked out and all 9 were snuggled down in the towel getting warm and dry. I need to find some wheat straw to put in there.

    I had MHP on 1 last night and all of mine were on top too. Once it got completely dark I put them under (they were awake on top still chirping at 9) and they all went to sleep fairly quickly.

    Mine are 18 days old and try to fly all over the coop. they even fly up on my daughter's back when she's sitting down on the ground. Obviously little girls make good roosts!
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I handle my birds regularly from chicks so they get used to being handled if it's necessary...
    .....but not a chicken cuddler per say, I don't really want poop on my lap, and their feet usually have poop on them...
    I find it really helps in the long run, but not all will submit easily.

    When tiny chicks I pick them up from the rear with a finger or two between their legs supporting their bellies and keep their feet from grasping onto anything, other fingers over wings to keep them from flapping....if you let them use feet and wings to struggle they will keep doing it, once feet and wings are secure they settle down pretty quick.

    Once they get a little bigger I pick them up from the front again cradling their breasts/bellies on my palm and using fingers between and on the outside of legs to prevent grasping feet from making purchase, thumb and pinkie can hold down wings.

    By this time they are used to me and most don't struggle after capture.....well, some of them still scream bloody murder, some never really calm to handling and some seem to like to be touched. I can still hold a full grown hen with palm cradling breast and belly, but usually need body and other hand to hold wings.

    My 2 light brahmas hated being held when chicks, now as adults they come up and want to be picked up...one in particular I can hold up in one hand.

    One downside to broody chicks, not as much opportunity to handle them....or rather I didn't take/make the opportunity because it was frickin' freezing(literally) at the time they hatched. They are still petrified of me.

    LOL, I'm not usually much of a chatter, but I guess this morning is an exception. :D
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2015
  6. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Just a note - if your 2 to 3 week old chicks seem to be content to snuggle on top of Mama Heating Pad at night, just let them. They don't need to be inside the cave if that's not where they want to be so there's really no need to put them there. Usually it's just the security. They've been sleeping in a pile since day one, whether inside the cave or out, and they are used to that. There is a enough warmth coming off the pad, even turned down, to keep them comfy with their compatriots!
     
  7. maybaby45

    maybaby45 Out Of The Brooder

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    Even if they are still awake and chirping? I thought maybe they got 'caught' up there when it went really dark and they were afraid to move.
     
  8. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Sure. They'll settle down. If you listen, the chirping when they are settling is different than the usual running around chirping. It's a little softer and more repetative, without so many "demanding" notes in it. If the lights are off (or the sun is down) they'll quiet right down after telling each other a few bedtime stories and they'll go to sleep. And it's possible, too, that they have grown accustomed to being "put into bed" so they are sitting up there reminding you that you still have to tuck them in. It's not a need, it's become their routine, and chickens are creatures of habit.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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  10. COChix

    COChix Overrun With Chickens

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    I have a chicken buddy for life and I think is pretty cute. Little One, she's an EE and the friendliest of the adult flock. If I am out with the gang for any amount of time she will demand to be snuggled. Her demands included trying to hop up on your lap if your sitting, flying up to your shoulder or back or she will pull your shirt and pants with her beak wanting to be picked up and snuggled. Once in your lap she likes to bury her head into my armpit area. She is super friendly because she arrived ill from shipment and we didn't think she would survive. I hand fed her two crickets and water, she napped for 30 minutes and the rest is history. Here she is sitting on my lap while I observed the babies.

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    We had a couple horizontal buckets waterers this winter with a bucket heater and didn't have any issues with it freezing. We used the K & H - 250w bucket heater, has a built in thermostat, is submersible or can float and it is designed for plastic or metal buckets. worked great and will definitely keep that set up.
     

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