Pseudo Brooder Heater 'Plate'

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by aart, Mar 13, 2014.

  1. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    There have been several discussions during the past couple weeks in multiple threads in multiple sub forums about using a people heating pad to simulate the Brinsea or Premier brooder heater. I was able to fashion this one and thought I'd put it in it's own thread for ease of updating this particular design idea.

    I really like the idea of the heater plates because of the 'natural' day/night cycles and the lower power cost. I've read folks saying that the chicks are quieter under a plate than a light and so far, I couldn't agree more. It's a great concept but I can absolutely not justify the expense of the Brinsea or even the Premier when I probably will never hatch chicks again.....the 2 hatches I've done have been with a borrowed incubator. Plus I am a designer by nature and trade, working in the pharmaceutical equipment design field for 20 years. I love to solve problems by building 'stuff'.

    Now this device has only been in use for a mere 36 hours, but I think it's going to work out fine. I will continue to update this thread to report any pros and cons or changes needed. The only con I've found so far is you don't get to see them sprawled out or tip over asleep like you do under a light...cause like most babies, they're cutest when they're sleeping. They all come out to eat, drink and run around, then dash back underneath to warm up and/or sleep.

    Heating pad is 12" x 15" and draws 40 watts, metal baker cooling rack is 10" x 14" and attached to wood with small U-tacks, the approx. 2" x 2" scrap wood are off cuts from some rafter extensions I made - the curve in the off cuts part just accommodated the slant from front to back, the adjustable furniture feet were perfect for....um, adjusting the height. I had all this stuff on hand so it didn't cost me a dime and only took about 30 minutes to put together. I do have the back lower than the front so they can find the best fit for themselves, which they do. There's a towel on top because the surface of the heating pad is about 110 degrees and makes them squeak rather loudly when they're little feet ran over it and will be easily swapped out and washed as needed.

    I'll just let the pictures explain the rest.

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  2. ozexpat

    ozexpat CocoBeach Farm

    great design

    with better insulation on top you may even be able to direct more heat downward and turn the pad down a notch further.

    I am all for saving energy
     
  3. jorey

    jorey Songster

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    Good idea.
     
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    I like how you slanted your legs to allow for a front and a back for different levels of heat. It looks good! I'm so glad you did a test run on this idea for me.
     
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  5. PetRock

    PetRock Crowing

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    I like this, too! I'm going to show it to my DH. I was going to order a Premier heat plate but they are backordered. Maybe DH will build one for me instead!
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    The towel is just to protect the chicks from walking on the hot surface of the heating pad, you'd need some sort of reflector to direct heat downward.
    There's no thermostat on the pad and it's on it's lowest setting of low-med-hi.
     
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  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    I tried to measure the temp underneath kinda hard with chickies running around.

    About 1/2" from the bottom of the rack is about 95 degrees.
    The floor of the brooder under the plate, about 2" from rack where I measured, is about 85 degrees.
    The rack underneath is very warm to the touch but it didn't make me want to take my hand away....YMMV.

    They seem very content under there......I can only assume that I'd be hearing distress cheeps if they were too cold or too hot.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2014
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  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    I agree. The way they act is more of an indication of comfort than temps, IME. I've never measured brooder temps. Good design, good repurposing of the oven rack and good, solid construction...sturdy.
     
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  9. Tomtommom

    Tomtommom Songster

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    Mylar emergency blanket to reflect heat down? Awesome design!
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    It seems to be working just fine as is...don't think any reflection is needed to increase the heat generated.

    I'm actually concerned about being able to reduce the heat to harden them off for outside sooner rather than later.
    Hoping that changing out the feet for long carriage bolts will get it high enough to lower the temp available to chicks, might have to restrict their access to the top.
    Tho maybe that's not a concern with a plate instead of a lamp?
     

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