In two weeks, we look forward to the arrival of 15 baby chicks from McMurray's (the 'Ornamental Layers' collection). We are trying to plan things out for their arrival so that everything's ready in advance - reading lots of books and articles but it's hard to find consistent information and would love to hear any advice / feedback for those of you with experience! We have a dog and cat that might show an unhealthy (for the chicks anyway) interest in our new visitors, so we are planning for some good protection as well.
We have a spare room in a corner of the house away from other bedrooms that we were thinking we might use for Phase 1: the first week (or 2 - depending on noise/order). We were thinking of then moving them into our garage (Phase 2) - detached / uninsulated for the next several weeks, then in Phase 3, when temps warm up and they no longer need a heat lamp, out to their coop (which currently doesn't have electricity, so we can't have a heat lamp out there).
1. How does that progression sound? Is it reasonable to think we could have them inside for 1-2 weeks, assuming we are pretty diligent about cleaning?
2. For Phase 1 (inside), would a 50g storage tote be sufficient for 15 chicks? Again they'd be in there for just 1-2 weeks. http://www.walmart.com/ip/Sterilite-50-Gallon-Tote-Box-Titanium-Case-of-4/44785797 - dimensions are 44'' long x 22'' wide x 18" high. We'd keep our pets out of the room and cover the tote with a modified lid using hardware cloth to allow air/light in. We are thinking of using the non-stick shelf liners for the bedding for easy clean up.
3. For Phase 2 (garage), I'd build a plywood enclosure that will have to last as long as they need a heat lamp (since no power in the coop area). I assume I'll need 2-3 sq feet per bird by the end of this 6ish week period, correct? So this will have be a pretty good size structure.
Thanks for helping out with any advice / suggestions you have!