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Growing pen as a transition from brooder?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Okay, as a first run at this my father and I bought my mother 12 chicks (6 RIRS and 6 Austras) and we made a brooder out of one of those metal feed tubs at the hardware store. However, these chicks are growing rapidly. The seem to double in size each week. As a temporary solution my mother went out and bought a cheep coop that would fit in the garage. It is meant for 9 chickens but as it is going to be used as a grow pen of sorts I think it will suffice nicely for now. That said, I do plan on getting my own birds in the near future, I would like to get two dozen Silver laced Wyandottes but that is for another thread. The point is that I want to be prepared, sure I could make do with what my mother has for the twelve birds after she is done with it but I would like to accommodate my chicks a little more as there will be twice as many.

 

Moving on, I do plan on growing my mini chicken farm each year for about three years. I would like to double what I have the second year and double it again the second year. I intend to keep my chicken breeds separate as I intend to try my hand at hatching chicks! Anyway, the point is that I want to be prepared for the future rather than having to redo this three+ times if I decide to do a small hatch each year. So, my thoughts are that I need some sort of large brooder or growing pen for when the chicks outgrow the smaller brooder but before they go in the coop. Something for week 3-8ish. If that is the case I might as well setup a larger brooder/grow pen from the start and I am looking for advice. 

 

From what I have read, for temporary housing like this I can go with 1.5-2 square feet per chick. My coop will be closer to 4 SQF and the run about 8 SQF per bird. How this will work is that I will have 24 chicks this year and order another 24 next year and then 48 the year after that. The goal is to have 24x of 4 breeds. I will have 4 coops and 4 runs outside so that is no worry. However, I am wondering what size to make these large brooders?

 

My thoughts are as follows. I intend to build them like rabbit hutches and keep them in a heated garage. I was thinking something like 8 foot long by 4 foot wide by 2-3 foot high. If I build two of these that will give me about 1.5 square foot per bird per hutch at 48 birds. As I said, at year two I also intend to hatch a few of my own for friends and family so after the first year I will need both brooders anyway. Does this sound like a fair plan or am I still thinking too small? 

 

Regards, 

 

Travis. 

post #2 of 3

If you only want to build once, I'd recommend that you build that coop to accommodate your final flock size.  Perhaps build it with dividers to accommodate your 4 breeds.  You can then use one of those sections for your chicks right from the get go.  Or you could build a stacked brooding area in the coop.  That's a pretty sizeable flock you're planning on.  Have you done a market research to see if you will be able to sell all of those eggs and chicks in the future?  Do you have available space for them to have a good sized run?  

Jesus Christ is my pilot.

My husband of 41 years is my best friend and co-pilot.

Enjoying my gardens.  My flock are my garden helpers.

Breeding a winter hearty flock with small combs and colored eggs.

Favorite breeds:  Dominique and EE.  Hatching addict.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-laz...

Reply

Jesus Christ is my pilot.

My husband of 41 years is my best friend and co-pilot.

Enjoying my gardens.  My flock are my garden helpers.

Breeding a winter hearty flock with small combs and colored eggs.

Favorite breeds:  Dominique and EE.  Hatching addict.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-laz...

Reply
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lazy gardener View Post
 

If you only want to build once, I'd recommend that you build that coop to accommodate your final flock size.  Perhaps build it with dividers to accommodate your 4 breeds.  You can then use one of those sections for your chicks right from the get go.  Or you could build a stacked brooding area in the coop.  That's a pretty sizeable flock you're planning on.  Have you done a market research to see if you will be able to sell all of those eggs and chicks in the future?  Do you have available space for them to have a good sized run?  

 

 

Well, I only plan on raising enough chicks for friends and family as a side project and if it does not work out after the first year then I will likely just stick with what I have rather than hatch more. Eggs shouldn't be a problem as my aunt has 4 dozen chickens and her customers beg for more. I have looked into going to many of the flea markets and farmers markets in my area as well. Plus I have a really big family to give away extra eggs to. I have thought about this, if I start out with two dozen and feel that growing will not be wise I can always decide to not get more the next year. As for space, we have 100 acres so I think we will be okay. I have mapped out where the four permanent coops will go beforehand.

 

I guess building a brooding area in a pre-built coop would be an option but it gets pretty cold here which is why I was thinking of building the brooders in the garage. I have a big 4 car garage and only two cars so there is plenty of room.But as I said, I am new at this so I am happy for the advice. I must say that I hadn't thought of simply building the coops and making a brooding area inside! However, I don't think that would work out well with new chicks the following years if they were in with adults? Unless it was somehow blocked off from the other chickens but then that would take space away from them. 

 

Once again, as I said these are all just ideas at this point and I want to iron out all of the details before I start. I have done a lot of research and this is one of the reasons my wife, my parents and myself went together in a dual family home with 100 acres. When I was a child we raised meat rabbits cows and pigs and really miss the lifestyle. But again, as I said I can cut the number down to 1 dozen per breed if need be which will cut the flock in half. 

 

Thank you for the helpful advice!

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