Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Mama Heating Pad attempt

So on, there is a thread about using a heating pad on a frame to brood chicks instead of a heat lamp.  I wanted to try it out.  I had two chicks die on this method, one I think was sick, the other was my fault.  Here's what I learned:

  1. This post was very useful:
  2. The heating pad needs to be inside the frame
  3. I used a scrap of hardware cloth to make the frame.
  4. The back of the frame should be 2 inches and the front 4".  I ran into problems with the plastic box (don't know what it's called) that attaches the cord to the heating pad.  It's actually pretty big.  
  5. I ended up with my frame 5" and 3".  This was an issue because the chicks need to be able to touch their backs to the pad while laying down.  I put a folded up hand towel inside.
  6. If you take a pillow case and cut it in half horizontally, half will cover the heating pad and half can be used to cover the wire enclosure.
  7. I used 3/4" wide elastic to make giant "rubber bands" to hold the pillowcase around the wire frame and heating pad.  I used bungee cords to hold the heating pad to the wire frame.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Hatching eggs from Thanksgiving Point

This February, I got chick crazy.  I was just ready to have chicks, but my incubator hatch last time wasn't very good.  I didn't want to try again with any kind of expensive or special eggs.  Fortunately, Thanksgiving Point Farm Country sells hatching eggs for $.50 each.  I got a dozen, 6 leghorn, 6 brown egg layer (later determined to be buff orpingtons), and 1 mystery bantam egg.

What I learned this hatch: I really need a better thermometer.  I tried with one of the probe meat thermometers from Wal-mart, but it just wasn't reliable enough.  It had this cool feature where it would beep at a certain temperature, so I set it to beep if the incubator got too hot.  It would decide it was hot randomly and beep while the other thermometers showed no temperature spike.

Egg turners are awesome.  I got an egg turner and had much better results than I had without it.

Results: 10 eggs went into lock down.  I had 6 chicks hatch: 2 leghorn, 3 buff orpingtons, and a mystery feather footed bantam.  One of the orpingtons hatched on day 18.  I was convinced I had run my incubator too hot and killed all the other eggs.  Fortunately, on Saturday and Sunday I had more eggs hatch.

How long after the first egg with the other eggs hatch? Well in my case, more than 24 hours.