Archive for Downsizer For an ethical approach to consumption
 


       Downsizer Forum Index -> Poultry
Chez

Electric hens?

Does anyone have an recommendations for these? I have just taken receipt of a *stonking* electricity bill - I have three brooders running more or less constantly, so it wasn't unexpected, but still painful. I have made my own out of reptile heat mats taped to a board in the past, which works as a one off; but they are difficult to clean properly and to height-adjust.

I think the time's come for me to invest in 'proper' ones - they cost roughly 10-20% of the cost of a lamp to run.

So, anyone got any suggestions or experience?
Bungo

We had one but it broke after couple of months,at least with a lamp you can see straight away it has gone out,and at night I can see from the house it is on as the shed the chicks are in has a window .
Chez

I try and use the ceramic bulbs anyway as I think the constant red light makes the chicks a bit prone to feather pecking - but yes, good point. Do you know what went wrong with it?

*goes off to look at guarantees*
Hairyloon

Re: Electric hens?

I think the time's come for me to invest in 'proper' ones - they cost roughly 10-20% of the cost of a lamp to run.

Why do they cost so much less?
If all they are doing is keeping the chicks warm, then improvements in efficiency can only really be from reduced heat loss.
SandraR

Watching this post with interest Smile
Bungo

No idea why it broke Chez, but it got taken back. The chicks were fond of sitting on top of it and pooing on it too .

Maybe we were just unlucky.

I think you can get more chicks under a lamp too, I put the babies in a chicken wire enclosures so the older ones can go next to the one with the youngest in and get a bit of residual heat while they harden off .
NorthernMonkeyGirl

My first instinct says to try to find out what gamekeepers/pheasant rearers use?
Chez

Gas ones, largely, NMG. I don't have the space for that - they have a couple of hundred at a time and I generally only have five dozen, maximum, every two weeks.

I've got a sort of wardrobe thing, divided in to three vertically, that I have them in until six weeks, when they either go outside, in the summer, or in to another cage in the shed in the winter to grow on a bit.

HL, they work under a different principle than the lamps/gas brooders - they are supposed to mirror the way that the chick naturally is in contact with the hen's body heat when they are underneath. So you need to get the height right; my experiences in the past with home-made ones from reptile heat pads have not been very adjustable and that has caused problems. The low heat means that they are rated at between 25 and 55 watts, depending on size. Currently I have three lamps of 250w, 175w and 75w.

I think I am going to buy a large one and see how it does with day-olds and then go from there.
Hairyloon

HL, they work under a different principle than the lamps/gas brooders - they are supposed to mirror the way that the chick naturally is in contact with the hen's body heat when they are underneath.

How about a furry hot water bottle with a heating element in it?
You would obviously need something with a good electronic controller to get the temperature right, but that should not be too hard.
Chez

As Bungo pointed out, they tend to climb on things and poo all over them; so something that you can wash is very necessary Smile.

The benefit of the electric hen design is that the chicks can get right underneath - a hot water bottle type thing works well for a handful, but if you have a few dozen, the available circumference is necessarily much larger. So it saves space if they can get under as well.

There are various designs around for 'cold brooders' made out of old mop heads, that trap the chicks own body head; and the old fashioned way is to have a bit of blanket suspended underneath a stone hot water bottle that you refill every six hours.

The one I have seen is on the Solway Feeders website and is 55 to take about four dozen chicks. It's 50 watts, rather than 250, so it would be about 1.20 a week to run rather than 6 - so it'll pay for itself in a matter of weeks if it works.

Linky to specs

The amount of time it would take me to bodge something together, it is worth me shelling out and getting one and seeing if it will work.
Hairyloon

The amount of time it would take me to bodge something together, it is worth me shelling out and getting one and seeing if it will work.
I had a squint on eBay and came to a similar conclusion.
Shan

To be honest, I think you are all too soft. By day 5, ours are generally out on the grass with a cat box, a cage and suitable rain covering. Never lost one. Chez

Hmm, tempting. All year round though? poppy

I use electric hens now i have had no trouble with them at all best to get the ones with the thick yellow legs the other ones are fiddly to adjust and the chicks tend to play with the nuts on legs and can alta the hight very quickly and can even tip them over and squash them self Sad easy to clean i use a wall paper scrapper and than wipe over with a cloth hope thats of some help Chez

Thanks poppy, very much so! joanne

I know I'm sat in the next room atm and I could probably just speak to you in person Wink but I've used the one from solway feeders before and it was really good because you could angle it so the chicks could find their sweet spot

It was the big black metal one with adjustable legs
Mutton

We've found that we have some hens that will adopt chicks - they go broody for a couple of days, and chicks whose mother's have decided they are old enough to cope without them (aka got bored) move into the box with the warm broody and all of a sudden the broody is off the nest being followed by the chicks.

Having had that experience, we have even handed newly hatched chicks into a broody and it worked. (The one that hatched them was glued to the nest still brooding non-existent eggs and the chicks needed to be lead out to food and the mother just wasn't doing it.)

You could just try putting an amiable hen in with the chicks and see if it adopts if none are broody.
       Downsizer Forum Index -> Poultry
Page 1 of 1
Home Home Home Home Home