Keeping chicks warm in the car

Transporting chicks

As I briefly mentioned
earlier, we
six chicks
with a friend.  She wanted to try out
our heirloom varieties and we wanted in on her hatchery order so we
could add some better layer genes to our flock.  We decided to
meet halfway, about 45 minutes to an hour from each of our houses, to
do the swap.  Which left us with a dilemma — how would we keep
the chicks warm for several hours away from house electricity?

Emergency brooderThe obvious solution, and the
one my friend took, was to plug an inverter into the cigarette-lighter
plug and attach that to a heat pad.  She preheated the pad before
leaving home, put her chicks in quite a small box with a lid loosely
over the top, and let the chicks ride on residual heat all the way down
to our meetup spot.  The chicks seemed quite happy with that
arrangement, although Sarah did decide to plug them in for the ride
  (I didn’t think to take any photos of her
car-brooder, so all the images here are of mine.)

Unfortunately, we realized at
the last minute that our cigarette-lighter doesn’t work.  (Our car
is 20 years old, so we figure it’s doing well if all the mandatory
parts are functioning.)  Luckily, we had two thin fire bricks on
hand, so I put them in the toaster oven on high for Bricks warm chicksan hour before we left, then
wrapped the hot bricks in an old t-shirt so they covered two-thirds of
the bottom of our box.  The bricks were too hot at first, so the
chicks sat off to the side in the unbricked area, but by the time we’d
swapped chicks (and spent an hour shopping in the big city), Sarah’s
chicks were quite happy to nap on the warm t-shirt all the way home.

All-told, our trip took
about 5.5 hours, and the chicks didn’t seem to be getting cold at
all.  Granted, they were already a week old — younger chicks
might have gotten distressed sooner — and the car was at room
temperature.  Still, hot bricks do seem to be a long-lasting and
viable brooder backup for power outage situations.  Much better
than the
we used last
time the power went out while we had chicks in the brooder!

As a side note, Sarah’s
chicks caught onto our
chicken waterer nearly immediately after
seeing our homegrown chicks drink a time or two.  No training

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