1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    Not a member yet? join BYC here & then introduce yourself in our community forum here.

advice for my upcoming hatch!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by nursebay, Nov 29, 2008.

  1. nursebay

    nursebay In the Brooder

    Nov 2, 2008
    Inkster, ND
    Hello all-I wanted some advice for my upcoming hatch on how keep them safe and warm for the first several weeks.

    I live in Montana, where the weather gets pretty cold (nothing like North Dakota or Minnesota cold) but it can get to below 0 here. For the most part I think the average hi here in the winter is like 20 and lows can go below 0. I have a few hatches coming up (first being December 5 and my second incubator like a week later). I live in a fairly small house, that has a small basement that just has the wather heater and such down stairs and a loft that runs the lenth of the house that we created into my daughters room. Its 12' wide by 32' long. She uses really the back part as her room and has toys in the front part. The basement really is maybe 15'X15'. We have a very small utility room. To get to my point is, where and how should I keep my chickens? even with a heat lamp in the coop I think it will be TOO cold for them until they are fully feathered, and I think they will still need heat lamps.

    1.) whats the best set up if they are going to be in the house (structure with heat lamp)
    2.) I have two cats that are declawed in the house, so where should I keep the chikcens in the house?
    3.) when would i dare let them go outside?

    My daughter REALLY wants full sized chickens by may so we are starting now. I have a small utility room that has a countertop that is about 6 feet long by 2 feet wide. Any tips that will keep the chicks just right would be greatly appreciated. If you have pictures that would be even better

    Is there a set up outside close to the house I could do? Thanks!
  2. birdsofparadise

    birdsofparadise Songster

    Nov 15, 2008
    North Kohala, Hawaii
    It depends on how many chicks you are talking about. Each chick will need 1/2 sq ft of floor space in the brooder. For 4 - 6 chicks, a big appliance box and a heat lamp will do. For more, you have to supersize it. I use a 4ʻ x 4ʻ wooden box 24" high with a wire floor and a screen top. It holds 25 - 30 chicks depending on the breed.

    Definitely use your basement even if cramped. Underground, the temps remain a constant 50 degrees or so plus there are no drafts. In a garage or out-building, you will need a lot more heat. Just donʻt feel sorry for them and move them into your living quarters. Even a few chicks will begin to smell gamey after a few weeks no matter how often you clean the brooder.

    You may be a little premature though. In Michigan, we used to figure out the last frost free date and then subtract 6 weeks to determine when we wanted chicks delivered. This usually meant around April 1st. That way, they were big enough to let outside and into a coop just as the weather got warm enough. If you start now, you are going to have some large and loud birds downstairs by the time its warm enough to air them out.
  3. Pumpkinpup

    Pumpkinpup Poultry Princess 10 Years

    Jul 16, 2008
    North-West Georgia
    Hubby built me a brooder out of 2 sheets of 4x8 1/2" plywood, a set of hinges, a small piece of hardware cloth and 5 2x4's. It's 2' deep, 2'wide and 8' long. It is basically a rectangle box with a hinged lid. The lid has a 4" wide vent that runs about 5' long down the center for ventelation. I have two reflector type clap lamps installed, one on each end and they have a 100 watt bulb in them. This set up is in my barn. It is getting down to freezing here at night and some days the high is only around 40 but this set up houses a decent number of chicks, cost very little to build and is very simple to maintain with good results. Hope maybe this helps. Word of advice, the "heat lamp bulbs" are real dangerous and expensive to run in comparison to a regular lightbulb so with this setup, you don't need them, it's a real plus. [​IMG]
  4. nursebay

    nursebay In the Brooder

    Nov 2, 2008
    Inkster, ND
    Thanks...my husband is building me a 3 feet sqaure, 2 feet deep brooder. he made it with 1X1 1/2 inch wood and he just made frames that were 3X2 and framed it in chicken wire. He put a plywood bottom and another chicken wire frame for the top. I am wrapping it in clear plastic for now while they are small to keep the heat in. I have a kennel tray to put on the floor......The top will have hinges. Its break down-able so it can be moved or folded up.

    I am just wondering how old a chicken has to be before it can with-stand winter temps. When they are fully feathered or older?

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: