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Questions about switching 1 week old chicks from heat lamp to heating plate - nervous about temperat

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Amanda T, Apr 25, 2017.

  1. Amanda T

    Amanda T Just Hatched

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    Mar 23, 2017
    Minneapolis, MN
    Hi all,

    So I am raising 6 chicks for the first time, they will be 1 week old tomorrow. They're doing great so far, and have up until now been under the 250 watt heat bulb at about 90 degrees. I decided to switch to a heat plate b/c I was reading about it's benefits (no light 24/7, no fire hazard, etc...). I was a little nervous about the lamp anyway b/c I have a 2 and a 4 year old and I supervise them always with the chicks but you never know! One of them took off the lamp from the brooder top before I could get to her and set it on the carpet, which melted of course! Anyway long story short I am super nervous about the chicks getting too cold! How long does it take for a chick to get a chill? At first I couldn't get them to go under the plate, they were huddling up a little so I kind of just set it over them so they would feel the heat. They ended up going to sleep. A little later they came out to eat/drink/play, and now three of them are asleep under it and three are asleep right next to it. It touches their backs when they're standing up but not when they're sleeping - I had it lower but then they weren't going under b/c it was too low. I guess I'm nervous b/c some of them aren't going under it really ever. I'll be up with them for the next few hours to supervise but I'm nervous to go to bed and have them get too cold and be dead in the morning! Does anyone have experience switching the heat source like this? Any advice or shared experience would be great, I'm a bit of a worry wart. Thank you!
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2017
  2. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    Have you checked the temp under it on the floor? That's how you adjust the height----get the floor temp right.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2017
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    To be honest, I don't focus on temperature readings - I prefer to let the chicks let me know if they are warm enough or not. If they are cold, they will huddle together and chirp. If they avoid a heat source then they are too warm.

    I use a brooder plate and from what you describe, I'd increase the height a little (some plates allow for incremental height adjustment, others not so much) and monitor the behaviour of the chicks. We all do things differently, but if you brood in your house, which will have a relatively constant, warm temperature then the need for lots of heat does is unnecessary. I brood my chicks in an unheated room, where the night time temp is around 60F and by day 10 my chicks are fine without any additional heat (although I do leave the brooder plate in situ, as its where they are accustomed to sleeping).
     
  4. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    Last edited: Apr 25, 2017
  5. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    I know all about body language---I feel a person with a new item should use a thermometer to help set it up for the first time. I set mine up with a thermometer then go on back to the house instead of having to stay/monitor what the chicks are doing---my chicks are in another building 50 yards from my home..
     
  6. Amanda T

    Amanda T Just Hatched

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    Mar 23, 2017
    Minneapolis, MN
    Thanks I will do this for sure, I guess I didn't realize I could check by the floor temp!
     
  7. Amanda T

    Amanda T Just Hatched

    9
    2
    11
    Mar 23, 2017
    Minneapolis, MN
    Ok thank you so much. I think you're right, I just checked on them and some are underneath and the rest are spread around so their backs are under but their heads are out, so they actually might be too hot. All this time I was worried it was the opposite, oops! I do have them inside, it's about 70 in my house so hopefully they will be okay.
     
  8. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Africa - near the equator
    Maybe it depends on the manufacturer and on whether its a contact or radiant heat brooder plate. Brinsea, for example explicitly state that floor temp measurements are irrelevant.
     
  9. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    OK, maybe the Floor was a bad choice of words---but if its 2" off the floor---the floor is close. I would lay a thermometer on top of a 2x4(app 1 1/2") and check the temp in a little to see if I need to raise or lower---get it good then add the chicks. I have to do things different than some----Like last week I had to set up 5 factory brooders---I placed a thermometer in each----a couple hours later I readjusted the temp and in about a hour I rechecked and adjusted if needed. Then I cut them all off. The next day I turned them all on added feed and water. About 4 hrs later I placed a couple hundred chicks in them. I went on with my plans for the day and stopped and checked in on them later. I do not have time to watch their body language for hours setting up 5 brooders. The thermometers had it correct before they were ever put in. I lost none in 5 days before they went to Auction. So for Me----If I am setting up one or 10---I use a thermometer to check/set----works good.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2017
  10. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Sorry, I was not trying to be pedantic - I was only sharing what i had read. As you say, baby-sitting chicks is not a luxury everyone has and once we have a system in place that works - its good to stick with it. It's effective and gives us the peace of mind to know that all is well, time after time.
     

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