MHP FAIL :-(

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ChickenHawk12, Nov 12, 2016.

  1. ChickenHawk12

    ChickenHawk12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I couldn't find anything to make the cave skeleton with, I live in suburban NJ. This is not agriculture country. The nearest TSC is 45 minutes away and that's the ONLY place to get anything remotely farmy. Clearly, I don't have flexible fencing just laying around and didn't want to shell out $30 for a roll at Home Depot just to use a tiny piece.

    They are 9 days old. I didn't want to brood them in the house, but since I hadn't gotten the MHP going I started them off in the house under a heat lamp. Today, I moved them to the garage. The brooder is up on 2X4 pieces of wood with a blanket underneath to try and insulate it from the cold garage floor. Without the heat lamp it was about 60-65 in the brooder during the day. Tonight the temp is supposed to be in the low 30's. I'm sure the garage won't get that cold, but I'm sure it will be pretty cold.

    So, after DAYS of rummaging through my shed, garage, and house trying to think of something, I came up with a great idea (so I thought) - MY ROASTING RACK! I turned it upside down, we tied the heating pad to it, I covered a towel with press-n-seal, made a cozy little cave and put the chicks in it. I checked on them every 15 minutes, and they were hanging out in there every time.

    THEN.......a few hours later I go out there and they are out of the MHP, huddled in a corner together, not even sleeping. They looked so cold and it was 60-65 in the brooder. I was like ???? and then I discovered..........


    The stupid heating pad has a 2-hour automatic shutoff. *facepalm*

    Back to Walmart tomorrow to return it......does anyone know which model does NOT have an automatic turnoff? There were not too many to choose from. I got a Sunbeam and I didn't realize it had the shutoff feature :-(

    Please tell me if I get one that stays on it will be warm enough for them.......I have the heat lamp back on them in the garage, since I don't want them back in the house......
     
  2. Hbohm74

    Hbohm74 Just Hatched

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    Last edited: Nov 12, 2016
  3. AllynTal

    AllynTal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, if you get the right heating pad (no auto-shutoff), they will be warm enough.

    The heating pads with the digital control may or may not have the feature to turn off the auto-shutoff. I don't prefer them because if the power goes out, even if it just blinks, the heating pad will turn off and you have to turn it back on. I got the heating pad with the slide-button switch. It only has three heat settings (the electronic controlled ones can have six), BUT....if the power goes out, the heating pad will be on again when the power is restored. You don't have to be around to turn it back on. Having more heat settings can be a plus, but knowing the heating pad will come back on without me there to do it was the deciding factor for me.
    [​IMG]
    This is Sunbeam model 732-500. It's only about $15 at Wallyworld. It has brooded 38 chicks for me so far. I like that has the moist-heat option. (You don't need moist heat, but the fact that the pad has that feature means the heating element is enclosed in a plastic case which protects the element from moisture.)

    And just fyi, you don't necessarily need a cave shape. I lashed the heating pad to the underside of a piece of wire shelving and slip a pillowcase over the whole thing. It makes a flat ceiling which I slope so the back is lower than the front. As long as the ceiling is low enough that the chicks can press their backs against the pad, you're good to go. It doesn't have to be a "cave."
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2016
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  4. wamtazlady

    wamtazlady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Carefully read the information you are given on the outside of the box. When I was looking around to make sure I could find a heating pad that doesn't turn off after 2 hours, I read the boxes. They all tell you if they have a stay on feature. I found the heating pads at Walmart, Kmart, Walgreens, and CVS. All those stores had pads that turn off after 2 hours and pads that can stay on. The ones that can stay on all the time all said that feature was available on the box. Also, many boxes have a picture of the controller that shows the stay on feature...or not if it doesn't have it.
     
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  5. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I found my second Sunbeam X-Press Heat at Walmart. It's a smaller size than the one I use outside in the brooder and it doesn't get much of a workout. I use it if I have chicks in the house for a day or so, either if they've been shipped and I suspect shipping stress or if I've hatched them myself in the incubator. Got the first one, same exact pad but larger, on Amazon and I use both. On both of mine there is a button to push which says "Stay On". As has been pointed out, it will tell you on the box if it can be set to "Stay On" but I honestly don't remember exactly how that is worded. You are so right, it is critical to be able to either by-pass the auto shut off feature or get a pad that doesn't have it. One of the members of the Broody Brigade found and highly recommends a pad that not only allows for bypassing the auto shut off feature, but also turns itself back on in the event of a power outage and turns it on at the same setting it was originally set to maintain. Here is a link to that pad:

    http://www.sunbeam.com/pain-relief/...ology-blue/000771-810-000.html#sz=12&start=18

    I am so sorry that you had such a bad experience, and relieved that you caught it in time. On the Mama Heating Pad thread, there are several links to heating pads that people have used with great success, I know it's a lot of thread to wade through, but on the first page is a photo of the pad that I used for my first chick and still use today. I know that having to order one and wait for it to arrive puts you in a bit of time dilemma since your chicks are already here and needing heat immediately, but if you take yours back to Walmart you should be able to find the right one.

    Good luck! I really want this to work for you but you absolutely can't put the chicks at risk while you wait, so I'm glad that you had a backup ready to go!
     
  6. ChickenHawk12

    ChickenHawk12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmmmm.....that's exactly what mine looks like, and mine also has the moist heat option. I had my 2 kids with me and they were bickering and I guess I was too distracted to read the box. It does say on it that it has the shutoff feature. Hopefully they will take it back and my kids will get along long enough for me to browse more thoroughly :)



    Even with the heat lamp, they seem a little chilly. They are in a plastic bin, slightly up off the floor with a blanket underneath. I cut most of the lid open, leaving about a 4-inch frame and the rest open, and it is covered with a frame of hardware cloth. I lowered the lamp all the way down to almost touching the hardware cloth, and even covered half of the lid with aluminum foil overnight. They aren't huddling under the lamp, but the thermometer is only reading about 74 this morning under the lamp. Is that ok for 10-day old chicks? My thermometer says that's the temp for 4-week olds. Their feathers and tails are starting to come in, but obviously it just started and they don't have much yet.
     
  7. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    @AllynTal I didn't know that about the power outages and we have them all the time! Even just the flickering.

    Now I will be aware if it happens.

    Thank you for sharing!

    @ChickenHawk12 I feel your pain trying to come up with the right frame. Since I never got it figured out this year nobody was raised under MHP yet. But next time, for sure!
     
  8. Hbohm74

    Hbohm74 Just Hatched

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    Of the examples of MHP I've seen, it appears that the heating pad is sitting on top of a metal frame. If this is the case, wouldn't the metal be too hot for baby chicks to press their backs to?

    How do you latch your heating pad underneath the wire?
     
  9. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Just like this:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/956958/mama-heating-pad-in-the-brooder-picture-heavy-update/450

    Go to that page on the Mama Heating Pad thread and scroll down a bit. @Beekissed was one of the earliest proponents of this method and this is how she does it. But she does it this way to keep chicks from getting trapped, not to keep them from contacting the metal on the frame. I did it the other way, with the pad draped over the frame, and no, chicks don't burn themselves on the metal any more than they do when their backs come into direct contact with EcoGlow brooders. I raise one single chick and 6 broods of chicks and only on the last brood did I change to the pad underneath method because a few people had said that chicks had found ways to get stuck. I never did, but if there's a better mousetrap, I'm all for trying it!

    Good luck! And Welcome to BYC
     
  10. AllynTal

    AllynTal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's better if the pad is underneath the 'frame'.
    I lash the pad underneath the frame so they're pressing their backs into the pad, not against the frame.
    [​IMG]
    I pulled my pad and 'frame' out of storage and did an example lashing. My frame is just a piece of wire shelving.(I think this one came out of an old refrigerator.). If I were lashing it for actual use, I would have used more twine and gone back and forth several more times instead of having them this far apart, but you get the idea. This picture shows the bottom or underside of the ceiling.

    This is the top of the frame:
    [​IMG]

    .
    And then I slip the whole thing into a pillowcase and fold the open end and the excess on the sides up so it is all nicely contained.

    Here is the MHP in use:
    [​IMG]
    In this picture, the newly hatched chicks are waiting for the rest of their hatchmates to hatch.
    Once they're all hatched and dry, I move them out to the coop with their MHP, which will stay with them until they decide they don't need it anymore:
    [​IMG]

    And here's a shot just 'cause it's cute:
    [​IMG]
    But you can see the MHP and how it's on a slope so the back is lower than the front.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2016

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