Brooder box (yup, same question, different person)

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by herechickchicky, Nov 26, 2013.

  1. herechickchicky

    herechickchicky New Egg

    9
    0
    7
    Nov 26, 2013
    (skip to third paragraph to get to the point)

    (1)I'm not sure how I put this in the right topic area but I'll try to figure that out after I post this. I'm on a mad time crunch! There is so much conflicting information out there that I thought it would be best for the survival of my chicks to just ask the age-old question tailored to my specific needs.

    (2)So here we are at the end of November near Salisbury, Mocksville, Mt. Ulla, Mooresville, Statesville, NC and my chicken journey so far has been pretty backwards. First I got the hens and rooster, then I got the chicken coop, then I lost a rooster, then I got 2 roosters to my two hens, and now I need more hens to my roosters (who are 15 wks old currently). I found a local guy who is going to give me a call in a week or two when his next batch hatches (orpingtons) and I will get my first batch of baby chicks! (Now tell me how excited you are for me!) I realize it's not the optimal time of the year for baby chicks but this is when it has happened for me and even winter chicks need homes.

    (3)First, the quick questions: a) I plan on ordering 25 chicks from mcmurray hatchery early next year. Any advice on this company? Stay away, very reputable, etc? b) How badly do the chicks smell (I'm not a dirty person so I will be cleaning out the brooder box everyday but this first one will be in my living room so I would like to know what to expect)? c) being that winter is approaching in a few weeks, how long do they need to be inside before I can put them outside? d) Is anyone in my area selling adult hens right now? I would like to mostly stick with heritage breeds and colored egg-layers. e) At what age do roos start to, uhm, "jump" the hens? My 1.5 year RIR hens don't like my 15 week orpington roos and are kind of mean to them but I need to know how much time I have before I need more hens for the roos. Even though I'm getting chicks next week I don't think they'll fit the bill for the roos yet since they are 4 months behind them in life. But I don't know anything so anyone chime in.

    (4)For 10-12 chickies, I plan on building a 2'x4' at 2' high box (I think that's 8 square feet of floor room? Tell me I learned something in geometry? lol) out of 1/4" plywood, OSB, or MDF (suggestions?) and either plexi-glass or upcycled single-pane farm windows for the front for viewing. I may add a partial second level since they'll be in there so long. If they need to be in there longer than 6-8 weeks I may build a 4'x8'x3'high box in the unheated garage and move them there for as long as I need to until I can put them out.

    (5) And lastly, does anyone have any good cleaning tips for the brooder box? I was thinking about laying some scrap laminate on the bottom underneath the shavings so their mess doesn't soak into the wood. I'd love to hear tips from the ones who have been there and done that.

    I'm sorry, I said I have a lot of questions but I did try to keep it short. I just want to make sure I'm not ill-prepared for the chicks. Any help is great. Thanks!
     
  2. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

    84,499
    3,807
    646
    Jun 15, 2012
    Washington
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!
     
  3. herechickchicky

    herechickchicky New Egg

    9
    0
    7
    Nov 26, 2013
    Thank you!
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,723
    2,687
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    2) It isn't the optimum time of year but still doable. I plan on having at least one more hatch this year. I've raised chicks all year. As long as the power doesn't go out, I prefer winter to summer. I can make the chicks warmer but I can't make them cooler. There's no AC in the brooder house. I forgot to mention that I raise them in an unheated, uninsulated building from 2 or 3 days of age.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    3) a) I haven't ordered from them but I haven't heard anything bad and they're huge so must have a lot of satisfied customers.
    b)If crowded, they smell a lot. Worse is the dust. They produce a lot of dust which is why they don't get raised in my house.
    c)If you have a building that stays dry and has electric, you can make it cozy in any weather.

    e)That depends on breed. I had a Jaerhon that tried to mount anything that moved at 8 weeks. Others may be fairly mellow till 20 weeks or so. Young roosters aren't romantic so can be fairly obtuse.

    4) I'm assuming this box is for the Orpingtons you're getting in a couple weeks. They grow fast. By 8 weeks of age large fowl need 2.5 sq. ft. per bird. Your 2'X4' box will become overcrowded by 2 weeks of age.

    5) I start them out on paper towels, roll them up a couple times a day and replace. I do this for 2 or 3 days and then put them on pine shavings. The building I have them in has a concrete floor but sometimes I'll put down a scrap piece of plywood before the shavings. When they move out it makes cleaning the floor much easier.

    You might want to post questions in the raising baby chicks section.

    ETA

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/11/raising-baby-chicks
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
    2 people like this.
  5. MsChickenMomma

    MsChickenMomma Overrun With Chickens

    22,927
    118
    351
    Dec 2, 2012
    Michigan
    :welcome Glad to have you join us!
     
  6. Banriona

    Banriona Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hope that helps! Happy chickening!
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. herechickchicky

    herechickchicky New Egg

    9
    0
    7
    Nov 26, 2013
    I had a little bit longer post but there was an error when I submitted it and it was all lost. Long story short: thanks for all the help!

    Chickencanoe, I was having trouble finding the appropriate forum link earlier so thank you for the link. I'll re-post this there as soon as I get a chance. Banriona, thanks for the listing links. I spent all day on craigslist yesterday and barely found anything.

    I've revised my plans. For the first two weeks I'll keep them in in my living room in one of those 50-55 gal tubs. I'll use paper towels the first couple days then switch to shavings.Then, I'll move them to the garage and put them in 4'x8' 1/4" thick OSB set-up with a tarp on the ground and shavings on top. At 8 weeks, I'll give them the boot to the coop.

    Questions:
    My neighbor is a commercial wood-worker so literally has mountains of wood shavings to go around. Do they have to be pine shavings or will a mix of any be okay? I'll assume he mostly works with pine but I'm not positive.

    Will 1/4" OSB be good enough or should I get thicker? I'm trying to keep this low-budget for now because it's very last-minute and not well-planned. Next year, I will be building the nicer-looking, more durable plans but for now cheap and efficient is all I need.

    It is very cold and drafty in the garage. It's actually more of a warehouse and there's no heating but I can run an extension cord out there for the heat lamp. Am I understanding that so long as I keep their area covered and have a heat lamp, they'll be fine?

    Is there anything wrong with my new plan or does it sound okay now?

    I am so excited! Thanks again for all the warm welcomes, fast responses and great advice!
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,723
    2,687
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Any pine is ok. If the bedding is bone dry it may not matter but hardwoods, if wet, can develop a dangerous fungus.
    The reason I use paper towels is they're cheap, they provide good footing and chicks (without a mother's advice will eat whatever is at their feet. That's why I don't start on shavings.
    Go low budget. The chicks don't care. 1/4 is fine. All they need is some type of containment. I prefer two heat sources in winter in case a lamp burns out during the night.
    My best advice is to simulate nature. Healthy chicks are not fragile and given the proper temperature are independent from hatch.
    A mother hen will provide a warm spot and that's it. It could be cold, damp, breezy and the chicks are ok because they have a place to warm up. That's what the heat lamp does.
    If the garage door is closed, how drafty can it be?
     
  9. herechickchicky

    herechickchicky New Egg

    9
    0
    7
    Nov 26, 2013
    In my original last response I had asked if I should use one lamp or two but I forgot to write it again so thanks for reminding me. Pretend it's 20 degrees outside because it should be when I have them, what wattage should I use?
    My neighbor uses their wood shavings for their coop so I think what they use will be okay. It's what I use in my coop too but I think I'll err on the side of caution and just buy some pine shavings for the chicks. Do I just go to Lowes or HD to buy those?
    As I said, it's really more of a warehouse. You can't park your car in there but it's about the size of a 2.5 car garage on the floor but it has a 20' ceiling and then connects to an independent portion of the house which is not heated so it has kind of a loft-type area which is about the size of a 3 car garage, all unheated with no insulation. It also has two very large barn-style sliding doors on either side of the warehouse which only keeps out the wind. They do nothing to keep out the outside weather. It's hard to explain because it's all very weird but only bought the house; I'm not the one who built it. =)
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by