3 week old chicks outgrowing largest tub I could find!!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by skybleu92, Nov 1, 2016.

  1. skybleu92

    skybleu92 Just Hatched

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    Hi everyone! I'm new to chickens and loving it; have really appreciated all the wisdom on these forums as I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing :p

    We have 8 chicks, approx 3 weeks old, who are currently residing in the largest (150L) tub they sell at the hardware store. It was plenty of room a week ago, but this week things are going crazy....a few of them are attempting to fly out and almost making it, they bonk their heads on the heat lamp when they try to fly, they're restless and pecking/jumping at each other, and if I put the mesh cover over the top they are able to peck at it and pull it down.

    I don't know how much longer this is going to work! Do you have any suggestions for a cost-effective solution? - like I said, there are no bigger tubs at the giant hardware superstore. I'm afraid if I put metal chicken wire over the top then one will jump up and get its head through and hang itself, iykwim.

    Also, when would you put your chicks outside? It is spring here (Australia), so weather is in the 70s though still dipping to the 60s at times. I've heard 6 weeks, but they are going to giants by then! We have a coop and run coming by the end of this week.

    Thank you!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2016
  2. piggie

    piggie Out Of The Brooder

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    I also have chickens, and am about to put them in to a wooden chest with a piece of weld mesh over the top and run a light as well.. i have one on his own cause he was splay legged and now he is fine I want to mix the rest of the group back. so I am going to put the hens back in their pen with the cock and put them as is...they are all the same age and are all at the same stage of feathering. they hatched the 19th October./ 20th October and some bantams hatched one week earlier and so now they are bout the same size as the Cochin cross chickens and a bit more advanced in their feathering....I have two more hens currently sitting in their own small pens with eggs underneath and one more outside that needs to be shifted in to a small pen to sit for 3 weeks to hatch eggs. I am out of room so this shift with chickens is essential.
     
  3. Elemes

    Elemes Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello! Welcome! They do grow fast and soon they'll be jumping out of the container. I have 6 in a tub that is 3 foot long during the evening (or in temperatures lower than 60) but the rest of time they are outside in my greenhouse. Before I had a greenhouse I used a huge cardboard box, which I got from work. I took them outside during times of good weather (70 and no breeze would be fine). Use a dog crate, or build the shelter from something you have handy. It doesn't need to last forever, just provide cover/shade and not allow them to get out. The yard time will improve the restlessness a great deal. Is your lamp ever off? That will also help by giving them real quiet, darkness at night. Hope that helps a little.
     
  4. skybleu92

    skybleu92 Just Hatched

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    Thank you Elemes, That is very helpful!

    I wish I had a greenhouse! That would be perfect. Dog crate is a good idea - I want something covered as my friend's chick (same age) got picked up by a crow last week when it was out :(

    Can I ask how old your chicks are? I haven't turned off the lamp - I thought they would need the warmth still. But you think they would be ok with it off at night?

    Thanks heaps :)
     
  5. Elemes

    Elemes Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A crow? Yikes! At 3 weeks I turn the light off at night, it's still 65ish and they huddle. I like that because it keeps their cycle (daylight/night) natural. You'll start to see them lose/grow out baby feathers in the next week and some will actually leave them outside at that point. I was very overly cautious with my first batch and don't think they needed all the light I gave them. The darkness let's them relax, but everyone has their own comfort level with chicks.
    I have built enclosures from lattice fencing, garden netting, anything to give them "yard time"....if there's no cover just stay there so you can monitor them. It's fun to watch if you can...
    Others have used things like portable dog crate or baby playpen.... Just look around and see what you have. They'll love a couple hours a day or more in the sun and dirt!
    My current chicks turn 4 weeks on Thursday. They sleep in the dark in 60-67deg exterior temps in the tub with lid (holes drilled in top for ventilation). They have lost almost all their baby feathers now and I will likely have them outside full time next week. They'll be as happy as I am to get to their grow out house.
     
  6. skybleu92

    skybleu92 Just Hatched

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    Thanks so much for your advice! I do think I'm being an overprotective first time parent with these chicks! [​IMG]

    The only thing I have at the moment is a baby travel crib/playpen....here's what I just rigged. What do you think? I put them in just now and will leave them out for awhile - it's only 60 but I'll keep an eye and see if they are acting cold. Hopefully that will help them burn off some energy! I'll drill holes in the lid of the tub I've been using (it came with a lid but I haven't used it) so I can put that on at night, and will try a night with no light!

    Thanks again!

    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    If you have them in a solid plastic tub they should have a wire top not a solid lid with a few holes punched. They need AIR flow so they don't suffocate. Some folks cut out a big window in the lid and attach (I don't know how) wire mesh to cover the opening.
     
  8. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The baby crib is a nice exercise option--just be sure to keep an eye as many predators can rip right through that mesh.

    And I second not using a solid lid on your brooder box...it will just turn it into an oven. My first brooder was cardboard moving boxes secured together with duct tape and put on top of a plastic tarp. The walls were about 3 feet tall (and 5x5' wide/long) which kept them reasonably contained until they were 5 weeks old without a top. I cut a "door" in the side of one of the cardboard walls so I could sit on a bucket and interact with them on their level--I just used a plastic clip to hold it closed when I wasn't there.
     
  9. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't know if you're willing to do this (or what your set up is like) but we actually brooded ours in our bathtub. The tub was filled with wood shavings over paper towels. The "lid" was a length of hardware cloth which we framed in cardboard (to keep from scratching the tub), which offered ventilation and was sturdy enough that they couldn't knock it down or pull on it (we even hung a swing on it). We clamped the heat lamp on the faucet fixtures.

    Our girls moved outside around 5 weeks. We desperately needed that bathtub because of renovation work in another bathroom so out they went!
     
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Move them out to the coop asap. Search for brooding chicks outdoors, there are good articles here about that.

    In the meantime, big cardboard boxes work wonders. Here in the States grocery stores have them for pumpkins, watermelon, etc during whatever season. Appliance boxes work well also, if you know someone who just bought a stove or washer [​IMG]. If all you find are smaller boxes, tape them next to each other and cut a door between them so the chicks have two rooms. Heat lamp in one box, food and water in the other.
     

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