Need help getting chicks to use Mama Heating Pad!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by nharbison0722, Jul 2, 2016.

  1. nharbison0722

    nharbison0722 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi everyone! I was so ecstatic about trying out the MHP! I got my new set of chicks and went to work putting together the perfect mama heating pad set up. I was short on fence wire, so I used an old shoe box and cut one long side of it off and left the top hanging over a bit to create a more private cave-like entrance. I've got the heating pad in there on the bottom, wrapped in a towel and used Glad Press and Seal to keep it all together properly. I used a thermometer to measure the temp and it's at a perfect 90 degrees. Since I use the deep litter method in the brooder, I decided to sprinkle wood shavings all over the heating pad as well. Now here's where my problem starts..... The poor little chicks just sit in front of the MHP box and don't seem to want to go inside! I've taken one or two of the chicks and shown them that it's warmer inside the "cave " but they come right back out. Will they just eventually learn that it's warmer and go inside on their own? I'm having to keep them in my room while in the brooder, so using a heat lamp really makes my room stifling hot- to the point that I have to sleep on the couch! That being said- I REALLY want this to work!!! Not only so I can sleep in my own bed, but also for the health and wellbeing of the baby chicks. Any help and advise is so greatly appreciated!!!!
    Take care!
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2016
  2. Pendragonz

    Pendragonz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, I think they will get used to it and start using it if they get cold. I have the Premier Poultry heating plate brooder, it's like the one made by Brinsea. I used that for my current batch of laying chicks. I put them under it a few times and eventually they started using it on their own. I don't know what the temp is in your room, but you may find they don't use it a whole lot if they aren't getting very cold. Just keep putting a few of them under it occasionally and you'll be good. Most importantly just enjoy your chicks.
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    This past May, when I brought home my one-day old chicks, they spent most of the day running about sampling their new world instead of being under the heating pad, even though it was in the high 60s(F).

    If your room is cozy and warm to begin with, your chicks aren't going to be spending much time under a heating pad because they won't be losing much body heat.

    You do need to make sure, though, that the heating pad is set low enough so the chicks can make direct contact with it during their first week when their heat needs are at their highest. Look at the original heat source for baby chicks- a broody hen. She provides a heat source where the chicks come into direct contact with her own body heat. This is what the MHP system is modeled after.

    After the first week, however, you will need to be able to alter the shape and pitch of the heat pad frame so it can accommodate the chicks as they double in size each week or they won't fit. This is why most of us use wire fencing for our MHP frame. It can easily be re-shaped as the chicks grow.
     
  4. nharbison0722

    nharbison0722 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for your help! I've read quite a bit of your other posts and have learned a lot from you and thank you for all that you've contributed. I would say my room is about 72 degrees normally and then I have a fan that faces my bed (away from the chicks). I got up in the middle of the night last night to go to the bathroom and I peeked in on them.... All of them were huddled up inside Mama Heating Pad! I was so happy. Then as soon as the sun came up, out they came ready for the day!
    I will try to make one out of hardware cloth- I still have some of that left over. I do have a bit of chicken wire left over too, but seems like the hardware cloth would work better?
    Either way- thanks again for your input, I really value it and appreciate you taking the time to respond!
    Best wishes,
    N
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    2 Easter Eggers and 2 Light Brahmas
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2016
  5. nharbison0722

    nharbison0722 Out Of The Brooder

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    One more thing- I placed a thermometer inside the Mama Heating Pad setup and it read 92-93, which Ive read is the correct temp for the first week, taking it down 5 degrees each week thereafter?
    Thanks
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    You decrease the heat under MHP each week by raising the heating pad frame.
     
  7. nharbison0722

    nharbison0722 Out Of The Brooder

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    Got it! Thanks again! I'm working on the wire frame now. Had to come spend some quality time with my girls outside that are battling the extreme heat! 108 heat index!
    Thanks again and take care!
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2016
  8. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    The chicks aren't going to need the MHP during the day with that kind of heat!

    I forgot to mention you will also turn the setting down a few notches on warm days and nights. Play it by ear, or rather, by watching what your chicks do.

    I would look to see each morning where the poop was concentrated. If it was at the entrance of the cave, I would turn the setting down the next night. If the poop was all at the back of the cave, they needed more heat.

    By the time my chicks were three weeks old, they weren't using the MHP much any more, especially during the day. They were done with it before they were four weeks old. My chicks were raised outdoors so were hardened much sooner than indoor brooded chicks.
     
  9. nharbison0722

    nharbison0722 Out Of The Brooder

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    Great advice! I know when I got up in the middle of the night, they were all huddled up inside the cave. Today, they are running around outside of it. Since my room felt quite cool, about 72 of so, I also turned their heat lamp on- shining it on the very edge of the kennel just in case they wanted to warm up with it. They actually did- nestling down in the light, right on the edge of the MHP too. We will see tonight how things go. Still working on getting my BIG girls to go into their coop when it gets dark! They are not wanting to do so, so for the 5 nights that they've been outside I've had to put them into their coop myself. Such fun times lol!
    Take care!
     
  10. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    dbl post.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2016

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