Anyone ever use a coop as a brooder?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by yomama, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. yomama

    yomama Overrun With Chickens

    I have chicks coming in April. I've also got a 12'x4' coop that my adult chickens are not utilizing at all. It is well built, very secure, and has electricity, so I would be able to have a heat lamp. I thought that it might be nice to not have to set up a brooder this time around, but I'm a little worried about a few things. First of all, the the temps in April around here can range from 30's at night, and 40's-50's during the day. Also, as with most coops, there is alot of ventilation, which can let in cold air. Lastly, the coop would not be right near the house. The coops are about 20 yards away from the house. I'm a stay at home mom, so I will be able to check on them frequently.I would appreciate any advice, or pros or cons about doing this. Thanks!
  2. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    You could brood them there if you build a smaller pen with plywood to stop drafts and keep them close to the light. What does concern me however is the "peeping" sound. I personally think it's a signal to preds. I understand even rats will take a chick. I would try to make sure it's as pred proof as possible.

    I wish you well,

  3. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I have a coop I use as a brooder. Last winter I put cardboard over the studs to insulate it to hold the heat better. Along the bottom I put pieces of vinyl siding to keep the birds from pecking at the cardboard. Works great.

    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011
  4. yomama

    yomama Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:I never thought of the "peeping", and it attracting predators. Definitely something to think about.
  5. yomama

    yomama Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:Great pics. I put plywood over the wood planks in the coop already, so aside from the vetilation, there aren't any gaps. Have you ever had issues with their peeping attracting predators?
  6. fiddlebanshee

    fiddlebanshee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 11, 2010
    Frederick, MD
    I've used my coop to house my chicks from day 1. I wouldn't worry about peeping sounds, I had no problems with predators, but of course you have to do due diligence and make sure the coop is super secure.

    I made a brooder box in the area that they would use for roosting later, using the poopshelf as a base, making an area of about 7 ft wide and 30 inches deep. You can see pictures of my setup on my BYC page, you have to scroll down quite a bit to see them. I put a 250 w heatlamp above the setup, and one thing I was super careful about is how I attached the heatlamp. I used two ways of securing it, each independent from the other so that I could be sure that if one failed, the other would hold the lamp secure. Using a brooder box inside the coop also makes sure that the ventilation will not harm the chicks, because you can block airflow with the walls/top of the brooder.

    Temps in late September here in MD were a bit warmer than what you are describing you will have, so I would do a dry run of the setup before you decide. Just put a brooder box and lamp in there as if you have the chicks already and monitor the temp. One thing that I learned is that my chicks didn't like it quite as hot as the books describe that they need. Mine were perfectly happy at 90 degrees the first week and I rapidly decreased the temp after that, about 10 degrees a week.

    By 4 weeks I let them out of the brooder box to roam the entire coop. I provided the heatlamp in a spot on the bottom of the coop and kept it at about 70 degrees that week, then I put in a smaller bulb and decreased the temp. By week 8 I took away the heatlamp altogether and temps were in the 30s by then at night.

    I hope this helps.
  7. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    My coop is being used a a brooder at this time. None of the other hen will lay in there now. The mama hen seems to be just a bit sassy for the others, so they all go to the dog house to lay. I'm working on some fencing to make the dog house a brooder so I can get her out of the coop. She's been in there a month now. The chicks are 8 days old.
  8. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Never have seen the added value of odors and dust in the house. Aaak!! Always brood outside, as folks did for a century before us. I use my utility trailer, a light bar, with multiple lamps which enables me to provide the necessary warmth.

    Yes, I also have pulled 1/2 sheets of plywood over the top, creating a "roof". This also helps hold the heat in during sub-freezing nights.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011
  9. Jay262

    Jay262 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 21, 2009
    I have a very small coop i use as a brooder its around 3x4 once i put in a 250 heatlamp it stays well up to the temperture needed to brood chicks even in the late parts of winter.
  10. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    As I got kicked out of all of our outbuildings by my DH for the dust, I have since brooded outside in a coop. It works great. There were day old chicks in this. (with a heat lamp of course)

    When they are between a week to 2 weeks old, I open up the door to the run so they get outside time.

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