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You are Here: Home -> Forums -> Montana -> Raising Chicks with Mama Heating Pad

Topic: Raising Chicks with Mama Heating Pad (5 messages)

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Raising Chicks with Mama Heating Pad (5 messages)
Posted By Message Posted On Report

Score: 9
Hi All! Has anyone in MT Zone 4 tried raising chicks early in the year (Feb-April) in an unheated coop using the heating pad technique? My chicks arrive the first week of Feb. Just curious if anyone else has been brave enough to try this technique here!

I've modified a dog crate for the purpose, and covered it with moving blankets to keep it from getting drafty (Harbor Freight free item right now!). I have one end open to the big girls' side of the coop. For warmth, I setup a heating pad over some 2x4 fencing as a MHP (mama heating pad). My waterer (which may not work for little chicks) is a gallon jug with a poultry cup, wrapped in a seedling mat to keep it defrosted. Infrared thermometer says the area under the heating pad is 90F, but it's pretty chilly outside.
1/24/2018 9:08 AM report abuse

Score: 51
Survived our first winter in Montana. Girls did well even when it got to -22.
I waited a couple weeks before putting mine out with the Mama's heating pad. In another forum there are people who put out day old chicks with the pad. Seems to work well and the chicks feather faster than those kept in brooder boxes. This year I bought the Premier1 heat plate for the chicks. The pad worked well but I never did get it to stay to my frame properly. It was either work out a different system or buy the heat plate. Heat plate won out.

Had a hen hatch late one year. It got down into the 20s when the chicks were still fluffy balls. They'd run around, eating and drinking. Whenever they got chilled they'd run to mama for a quick warm up. The heating pad will mimic that behavior.
1/24/2018 11:21 AM report abuse

Score: 9
Oh good to hear someone in MT has tried this! I'll keep an eye on my heating pad placement for sure. Below are a couple pictures of my setup for anyone who is curious.
1/26/2018 5:58 PM report abuse

Score: 9
Thanks! I decided to put a panel heater out there in case it gets to single digits, but I'm going for it from day 1. I had the panel heater anyway (the kind for under a desk), so no big expenditure. Its actually supposed to be colder in IA than MT the week they ship. Go figure!
Post edited by VICTORIA9 2/1/2018 1:09 PM
2/1/2018 1:08 PM report abuse

Score: 9
I didn't end up putting out my chicks from day 1. I wanted to make sure any early losses weren't due to temperature in the brooder. I did get the chicks out around twelve days old, but the outside low that day was predicted to be -15F! Therefore I put a couple of heat lamps in the brooder as well. The chicks sleep on top of or under the pad now, but the first night they all wanted to be near the heat lamp.

I got a couple of Salmon Favorelles about a week after my Murray McMurray order. They stayed inside until they were a week old, then they went out with the "big" chicks. I'd expected to have to deal with some bullying, but everyone was extremely friendly. A little "hey, you have wing feathers!" sort of pecking from both sides, but nothing aggressive. The smaller chicks looked delighted to have more company and did just fine in the outside brooder.

Now I just can't wait for the temps to warm up enough to turn off the heat lamps!
2/22/2018 5:07 PM report abuse