Keeping Chicks Warm and Happy: How to Deal with Fussy Chicks in the Brooder.
I quickly learned that keeping chicks warm is crucial to their health and well-being. When we brought our chicks home, we set up a brooder with a heat lamp from Tractor Supply.
However, despite our best efforts, our chicks refused to stay under the heat plate we provided. In this article, I’ll share my experience with fussy chicks and provide tips on how to keep them warm and happy.
The Negative Effects of Cold Chicks
Before we dive into the solutions, let’s discuss why it’s so important to keep chicks warm.
Chicks are unable to regulate their own body temperature until they are several weeks old, so they rely on a heat source to keep them warm. If chicks are too cold, they can develop a variety of health problems, such as dehydration, lethargy, and even death.
On the other hand, if chicks are too warm, they can become overheated and suffer from heat exhaustion. Therefore, it’s crucial to provide the right temperature for your chicks to thrive.
Why Chicks Might Refuse to Stay Under a Heat Plate
As I mentioned earlier, despite our best efforts, our chicks refused to stay under the heat plate we provided. This is a common problem among new chicken owners, and there are several reasons why chicks might avoid the heat plate.
- First, chicks might not understand that the heat plate is a source of warmth. They might be used to the bright light of the heat lamp, and the heat plate might seem unfamiliar and uninviting to them.
- Secondly, chicks might not feel comfortable under the heat plate. They might prefer to roam around the brooder and explore their new environment, rather than staying in one spot.
- Finally, the heat plate might not be providing enough warmth for the chicks. If the temperature is too low, the chicks will naturally seek out a warmer spot, which might not be under the heat plate.
Solutions for Fussy Chicks
If your chicks are refusing to stay under the heat plate, don’t worry. There are several solutions you can try to keep them warm and happy.
- First, you can try placing a small mirror under the heat plate. This will reflect the chicks’ image back to them and make the heat plate seem less intimidating. Chicks are naturally curious, and they might be more likely to investigate the heat plate if they see their own reflection.
- Secondly, you can try placing a cozy blanket or towel over the heat plate to make it more inviting. The blanket will create a warm, dark space that chicks will be drawn to.
- Thirdly, you can try adjusting the temperature of the heat plate. If the temperature is too low, the chicks will naturally seek out a warmer spot. However, if the temperature is too high, the chicks will avoid the heat plate altogether. Make sure to monitor the temperature regularly and adjust it as needed.
- Fourthly, you can try moving the heat plate to a different location in the brooder. Chicks might avoid the heat plate if it’s too close to the food and water, or if it’s in a drafty area. Experiment with different locations until you find one that the chicks prefer.
- Lastly, you can try adding more chicks to the brooder. Chicks are social animals and prefer to be in a group. If there are only a few chicks in the brooder, they might feel lonely and seek out warmth from other sources, such as each other or the light in the room. Adding more chicks to the brooder will create a warmer, more inviting environment for them.
Other Tips for Keeping Chicks Warm
In addition to providing a heat source, there are several other tips for keeping chicks warm and healthy in the brooder.
- First, make sure to cover the brooder to prevent drafts. Chicks are sensitive to cold air, and drafts can quickly lower the temperature in the brooder. Use a towel or blanket to cover the brooder, but make sure to leave a small opening for ventilation.
- Secondly, monitor the temperature regularly. Use a thermometer to check the temperature in different areas of the brooder, and adjust the heat source as needed. The ideal temperature for chicks is around 95°F during the first week of life, and it can be lowered by 5°F each week until the chicks are fully feathered.
- Thirdly, make sure to provide clean water and food for the chicks. Chicks need access to fresh water at all times, as dehydration can quickly lead to health problems. Use a waterer that is shallow enough for the chicks to drink from but not deep enough for them to drown in. Also, make sure to provide chick starter feed that is specifically formulated for their nutritional needs.
- Lastly, make sure to clean the brooder regularly. Chicks produce a lot of waste, and a dirty brooder can lead to health problems and bad smells. Use a bedding material, such as pine shavings or straw, and clean it out every few days. Also, make sure to sanitize the brooder between batches of chicks to prevent the spread of disease.
Dealing with Fussy Chicks: My Experience
As a new chicken owner, I was worried when our chicks refused to stay under the heat plate we provided. We tried all the solutions I mentioned earlier, but nothing seemed to work. The chicks would huddle together in a corner of the brooder, far away from the heat plate. They seemed healthy and active, but I was still worried about their well-being.
One night, we decided to turn off the LED light in the brooder to see if that would make a difference. To our surprise, the chicks immediately started fussing and chirping loudly. They seemed to be searching for something, and we realized that they were looking for the light source. We quickly turned the LED light back on, and the chicks settled down and went to sleep.
From then on, we made sure to leave the LED light on at all times, even during the day. The chicks seemed much happier and more content, and they started spending more time under the heat plate. We also added more chicks to the brooder, which created a warmer and more social environment for them.
Keeping chicks warm and healthy in the brooder is essential for their growth and well-being. If your chicks are refusing to stay under the heat plate, don’t worry. Try the solutions I mentioned earlier, and experiment until you find what works best for your chicks. Remember to monitor the temperature regularly, provide clean water and food, and keep the brooder clean. With a little bit of patience and care, your chicks will grow up to be happy and healthy chickens.