Anyone have an outdoor brooder?


9 Years
Aug 30, 2010
Western Mass
As much as I love having the chicks in the house, there is dust everywhere! I had no idea how much dust they would make, it is making all of us sneeze. Does anyone use an outdoor brooder. The coop is in our barn, lower level. The barn is built into the side of a hill. Would it be ok to section off part of the coop and put the brooder lamp down there. I realize it is getting chillier at night here, but probably wouldn't go less than 60 degrees. The chicks will be 3 weeks on Wed., and the current temp in the brooder is about 75 under the light and 70ish everywhere else. I know this probably sounds too cold, but this is where they are comfortable. Any warmer and they were as far from the light as possible. Thoughts? Ah-choo!
I don't brood chicks in the house. My first chicks were brooded in an outbuilding for the first two weeks and then moved to the screened porch when the building started getting too hot during the day (late April).
My current batch of chicks were on the screened porch from day one. Two heat lamps that were turned off for good at two weeks of age, because of how hot the summer got, real early (mid-June). There was no way to safely raise the light and have good control of the temps. With a draft guard and each other to snuggle with at night they did just fine.
Chicks do not have to be brooded in a house. There is no law written down anywhere that says they need to be. All chicks need is a predator proof, draft free space that can be kept to the temp. necessary per their age.
I have a 2'x2' pen in the computer room, to put them in fresh from the incubator. There are 2, 4'x4' pens stacked in the barn. I have 3 outdoor growing pens. 1, 16'x16', & 2, 8'x8'. Right now I have turkeys & Salmon Faverolle chicks in here with me, talking to y'all. There are 2 different age Salmon Faverolle & Red Shouldered Yokohamas in the barn brooder pens, & peachicks, quail, & pigeons in the outside pens. I have more hatching all the time. I NEED more pens! My adult birds freerange, but I keep them penned until they are 12 to 16 weeks old, according to breed.

I hang lights for warmth in all of the pens.
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Thanks, that makes me feel better. The coop is almost ready, we put up all the hardware cloth yesterday and I put 16" plywood across the doors to keep in the woodchips. (I plan on using the deep litter method) The coop is about 12' x 20' x 8'.

Should I section off an area with the lamp or let them have the entire space?
I just built an outdoor brooder because I couldn't handle the dust. It gets everywhere!! It has recently been getting pretty cold here at night (50s), but they seem fine. I haven't checked the temp in there, but they are 3 weeks old and I don't turn the lamp on during the day. They have quickly outgrown it and I am trying to feather them out so I can put them in the coop!


I have moved my chicks out to coops at 2 and 3 weeks (and later of course), with TWO light bulbs (two 100 watt bulbs to start and two 60 watt bulbs later).

My heat bulb exploded once outside when it got wet.

If one bulb burns out in the middle of the night, they won't die with two bulbs.
Mine go right from the incubator to an outdoor brooder in the barn. I use a large all-wire (heavy duty wire) rabbit cage and cover all the sides with cardboard to stop drafts, then I spread hay on the bottom of the cage to prevent drafts from below and give them a non-slippery surface to walk on and I set a heat lamp on top of the cage. They do great out there, it's so much easier to clean and easier to get them acclimated to the rest of the flock.

My husbands hates when I brood chicks in the house and frankly I'm not a fan of the stink and the dust either, so I found an outdoor brooder works best for me. My husband never goes out to the barn, so he never knows how many chicks I've hatched. Win/win.
Thanks for all the replies. This is my first time with chicks, so I'm a little cautious. They are doing great and feathering nicely. I like being able to peek in and talk to them often, but the dust is just too much. My business is on the first floor of the barn, so it really won't be too much to go downstairs. I guess I was just looking for some reassurance that I'm not being a bad chick momma for wanting them out so soon.

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