Mama Heating Pad troubles... quick question - please help!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by eggfooyoung, Apr 9, 2017.

  1. eggfooyoung

    eggfooyoung Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 29, 2017
    Raleigh, NC
    My 1-2 week old chicks were doing fine in their brooder and sleeping under the MHP every night. Yesterday I moved them to a new, much larger brooder and when I just went up to check on them, none of them had spent the night under the MHP - 5 were cuddled up together in one corner (which is closest to the heater I have in the room because that room tends to get chilled), and one solo chick was sleeping on top of the towel that's on top of the heating pad.

    What's wrong? I'm guessing either the heating pad isn't warm enough, or its actually too warm at this point?

    Not sure, but I'm afraid that they'll get a chill if they don't have enough heat, and I already have two of my 6 chicks who have questionable health and might not make it.

    Thoughts on how to fix this issue?
     
  2. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    The room is too warm, would be my guess. When it was sunny and 65, my 1-2 weekers ignored the pad until dark. And then the temperature would drop and they'd go under to sleep.

    Double check that the pad is warm to the touch and then turn off the heater in the room. They don't need their whole world to be warm.
     
  3. eggfooyoung

    eggfooyoung Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 29, 2017
    Raleigh, NC
    That makes sense, but then why, when the room is warm this morning, would they still huddle up against the wall of the brooder that's closest to the heater? I did make the pad higher as it seems it got a little flattened out when I moved everything, hoping that helps as well.

    And like yours, mine ignore the pad for the most part as well until it's dark. I have 2 chicks whose health is still questionable and they like to keep going in there though, and up until 2 days ago, one rarely came out, only to eat and drink. I'll move the heater farther away from the brooder, but that room gets pretty cold at night. It's a 400 sq ft room, so it's not turning into an oven in there with a little space heater, but maybe it's too close to the brooder. Maybe removing the surrounding heat will make them want to use the MHP again.

    Thank you!
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017
  4. pink lady

    pink lady Out Of The Brooder

    I didn't use a pad and am only new to this but I have had some trouble with this myself. when they are with a mother hen they will run around until they get cold then they will go back under her to get warm. If their inside then they wont need as much heat. it is really hard to guess so you do need a thermometer I just use one from out in the garden. but that being said are they cuddled in the corner all day long? or just sometimes? even my older chickens outside will cuddle together. it might be to warm on the pad and just right in the corner for them. I did see somewhere on here a lady made a dome out of the heat pad? but I use a heat lamp with a ceramic bulb saver then the old globes and more energy efficient. look up brooders and see what others have done it may give you some more ideas Hope this helped [​IMG]
     
  5. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    As debid suggested, turn off that space heater in the room. It's not necessary. Chicks have a driving instinct to regulate their body temperatures by moving in and out of a warm-up zone. When you make the entire room warm, it makes the warm-up zone ambiguous. Think how reptiles regulate their temps. They sense where the warm spot is and move toward it, then away from it to shed excess heat. Same is true of baby chicks at this point in their development.

    The principle of the heating pad system is to warm by direct contact, so the frame needs to be adjusted every few days to accommodate the chicks as they grow. Their backs should touch the heating pad but it shouldn't be so low as to squash them. If your frame squashes down under the weight of a few chicks on top, you may need to find a heavier material for the frame. Most of us use steel field fencing.

    The temperature of the pad can actually be hotter when the ambient temp is warm. A couple years ago I experimented with a heating pad before the chicks arrived. When I had it set up outdoors in the run where the chicks would be brooded, the temp under the pad read 80-85F. When I set it up on my work bench in the garage, which is heated, the temp under the pad read over 100F. This was at the highest setting.

    So folks using MHP indoors may want to use the mid-setting instead of the highest during the first week, and almost all chicks will no longer use the pad during the day by the time they are three weeks old.
     
  6. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    The MHP is enough to use outside where it really is cold. That's where I (and others here) brood chicks. Mine slept contentedly under it while it was in the teens at night and ran around in the freezing cold during the day popping back under to warm up. I'm talking about temps where I had to check that the pad was close enough to the water that it didn't freeze. I don't think you believe me when I say the room is too warm but ​I promise you that they won't be unhappy if you shut the heater off. And frankly, space heaters can raise the carbon monoxide levels which is a much greater threat to sensitive birds than cool air.

    ETA: kerosene or gas fueled space heaters are CO risk. Electric just raises your bill and poses a fire risk if you don't keep it far enough from anything flammable.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017

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