Mama Heating Pad user questions

amama

Chirping
Mar 16, 2016
119
38
96
Midwest US
I've never raised chicks before but researched and decided on using a MHP instead of a heat lamp for various reasons. They are in our garage, and it's been pretty cloudy and cool here since we got them.

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I have the heating pad on high, but I'm wondering if they are too cold? About 1/3 of them now have pasty butt, and I thought that was from being too hot but read it can be cold also.

They come out to eat and drink, but definitely enjoy the MHP. When I peek under it, they are huddled to one side in the corner, esp. at night sleeping. I worried half of them would suffocate at the bottom of the huddle/pile but they were all fine this morning.

Should they be more spread out underneath it, or is the huddling normal and not a sign of being too cold?

Should I add a heat lamp also? Seems to defeat the purpose but I don't want to keep dealing with pasty butt if that's the cause. Also seems stressful to wash under a sink/stress=more pasty butt, vicious cycle?

Thanks!
 

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debid

Free Ranging
10 Years
Jan 20, 2011
7,560
6,918
516
middle TN
Looks like you have the pad arched much too high. They should be able to touch it easily with their backs. They'll duck to get under.

I have a video of mine using theirs the first day. You can see the height is quite low. This was outdoors in freezing weather and the edges were only about 1" up, center about 3".

 
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amama

Chirping
Mar 16, 2016
119
38
96
Midwest US
Yes, mine is much higher. I'll bend it back lower. I think I was thinking too far ahead for when they are bigger.

Is that a cloth diaper with Press N Seal? I tried wrapping my blanket in regular saran wrap, but I checked it and it felt burning hot so I took the cellophane off. They will poop through the blanket though onto the pad, so maybe I need to buy actual Press N Seal? Thanks for the video!
 

debid

Free Ranging
10 Years
Jan 20, 2011
7,560
6,918
516
middle TN
It's two toddler size diapers sewed together to get the "perfect" size and then covered in Press & Seal. I kept them for cleaning rags but they make lovely MHP blankies.
 

debid

Free Ranging
10 Years
Jan 20, 2011
7,560
6,918
516
middle TN
I did arch mine higher when they got bigger but not all that high. They are quite resourceful about meeting their temperature needs. I'd peek in at night and find them with their heads outside and bodies under like they were under a wing.
 

Blooie

Team Spina Bifida
6 Years
Feb 25, 2014
17,197
32,619
827
Northwestern Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
I don’t even need to say a thing about the setup. Good job, @debid!

As far as pasty butt goes, it’s just the scourge of chick raising sometimes While using MHP helps cut it way down because they regulate their own heat needs, it can still happen. I haven’t had it in the 8 batches of chicks I’ve raised this way, but with my first batch ever, raised with a lamp, every chick out of 22 had it. That was fun! I did have a couple of chicks in a MHP batch with it, but they arrived here with it, and just a couple of cleanups took care of it.

Wish I could be more help, but debid has been a great source and told you exactly what I would have.
 

blackdog043

Crowing
Feb 19, 2017
2,401
4,136
416
SE PA
If that pad is a 1 - 6 temp, I would put it on 5, since it's in your garage. I had mine on 5 in my coop and the temps were in the upper 20's at night, but still had a couple pasty butts. They came home with it, I cleaned it a couple times and it went away. Also I hope you have a bigger brooder ready, how many chicks do you have in there? They double their size every 2 weeks.
 

amama

Chirping
Mar 16, 2016
119
38
96
Midwest US
Thanks for the tips, they were too cold. I moved them into the mudroom, and lowered the MHP and they seem much more content. Many of them hang out on top of it now instead of always underneath it. It only has three settings, so it's on high.

Yes, I have a very large dog kennel waiting for them to go into soon. I just didn't want to lose the kennel for my all night barking LGD yet:) She doesn't bark in the kennel!
 

MANNA-PRO

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