Brooder for 30 chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Brynansmommie, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. Brynansmommie

    Brynansmommie Out Of The Brooder

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    Last year we raised chicks in Rubbermaid bins with netted lids. (homemade) The only thing is that we only had 4-8 chicks at a time. Now we are planning a much bigger group of spring chicks. What do you use to house 15-30 growing chicks? HELP!!! Thanks!
     
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I put them right into the shed they will call home on the floor. I put the shavings right onto the floor and make sure they have enough of a thick layer to cuddle down into (and hang the light low enough to make 95 degrees or more under the light as they have plenty of space to get away from the heat.

    I usually start them off in the first few days in a kiddie swimming pool but after a few days I take it out as I am worried one will jump out and die.

    If it is bitter cold outside and I am feeling attached to them I put them in the mud room or garage in a couple of bins with lights overhead for warmth for just a few days. But I have learned that they enjoy all that space to run around in the shed. It is a double walled rubbermaid 7 x 7 shed. I don't end up allowing 25 large fowl to reside in there permanently though as that is too squeezy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2013
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    This. [​IMG]

    Chicks are brooded right on the floor of the chicken barns, the world round. As a boy, I brooded 250 on the coop floor every spring. Have multiple heat lamps, if you're using lamps. Just multiple everything. It's really no different than what you've done in the past. Just think of 27 chicks as three groups of nine chicks. This mentality will solve a lot of piling on issues as well. I'd use at least three lamps, three waterers, and three feeding stations. Less crowding, competition and congestion. Last time I brooded a batch that large, I just used my 5x8 utility trailer.


    [​IMG]

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    Last edited: Jan 27, 2013
  4. Brynansmommie

    Brynansmommie Out Of The Brooder

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    My husband said the same thing you guys suggested. My concern was that last time between knocked over waterers, pasty butt and the three kids needing supervised I was at the brooder for a large portion of my day.I really don't want to spend my day walking back and forth to the coop and sitting on the coop floor. I like the idea of keeping them indoors for a week or two and then moving them out. Also we lost 3 bantams this week to the cold. Of course we went from 50s to teens in one day but still...
     
  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/homemade-chicken-brooder-designs-pictures
    You might have a look here for some ideas! There are some really nice ideas here.
     
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I'll just share a different perspective. You can certainly take it or leave it. Brooding out 250 chicks as a young man gave me the farmer's perspective, along with being on an actual farm, of course. When you brood out 250 chicks, they aren't pets and you check on them in the morning, before school, do the chores, and go off to school. Once home in the later afternoon, you check on them again, do chores again. That's it. No fussing. No babysitting. It was, admittedly, common enough to lose a chick or two along the way, but we're talking 2 or 3 chicks out of 250.

    Now that I brood batches around 24, my mindset isn't all that different. I'm brooding 28 chicks right now. Yes, foolishly, in the dead of bitter cold winter. Yet? Same thing. Check on them in the morning, re-fresh their feed and water. Check on them again in the late afternoon. Check their feed and water. That's it. That's the full extent of it. There's nothing else I need to do.

    If I had to check on them a dozen times a day or do all the machinations you describe, I think I'd rather just skip chicks and buy brooded 6 week olds. I enjoy the chicks. I've lost perhaps one chick out of over a 200 brooded over the past few years. But, remember, I'm still just a farmer. It's a different "take" on it all, I guess. Here's hoping the best for you and your endeavor.
     
  7. Brynansmommie

    Brynansmommie Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks. I guess I don't have the farmer mentality (perhaps hubby does). I am in the mama mentality. I really enjoy the chick stage. One of the reasons we raise chicks is to teach the kids about where their food comes from and how to care for animals. I love that the kids want to handle them constantly but don't want to deal with the broken heart of a child who killed a chick(s) by being rough. My sweet niece accidentally killed several of my brothers quail last year. All our other birds are very tame and follow us (especially my daughter) around like puppies. We recently lost her favorite hen to a predator. This particular hen, a black copper maran, liked to be held. She would get in your lap if you sat down. My daughter got in trouble for bringing her on the school bus. Lol. I want that kind of experience for the kids again. That's a big reason I want the chicks in the house. To give the kids more access and make things easier for me.

    I definitely think the farmer mentality makes sense if you are a farmer. I am just not a farmer. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions.:)
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    I saw this thread yesterday and saw you were getting great advice. What they are talking about is pretty close to what I do.

    But we all have different goals and different conditions. We all do things differently. There is hardly ever one answer that is right for every one of us. You need to take what others do and adapt that to your situation. I don't know what your conditions are, if you will raise them in your house, in a heated garage or wherever. I'll try to give you a few general things from my perspective to consider, but it's up to you to adapt or ignore as you see fit.

    I don’t know how long you plan to keep them in the brooder. That will have a huge effect on how big it needs to be. I’ve kept 28 chicks in a 3’ x 5’ brooder until they were about 4 weeks old without a problem. It was starting to get a bit crowded but not too bad. I could have gone a little longer. But there were 23 pullets and 5 cockerels in that batch. I had another batch that was 4 pullet and 17 cockerels. They were starting to look just as crowded at a day or two older. Both batches were full sized chickens, not bantams. You might make it to 5 weeks with something that size but you might want to think bigger. Or split them like Fred suggested.

    You don’t have to keep the whole brooder one certain temperature. When a broody raises chicks she does not heat the entire world to one perfect temperature. She provides a warm place for them to go when they get cold. Think along those lines. Just keep one small area warm and let the rest cool of as it will. Many people are surprised at how much time they spend in cool areas of that brooder. By having different temperatures in the brooder, they can find their own comfort zone. You’ll find that is all over that brooder. I think they feather out faster and are more acclimated to cooler temperatures if they can spend time in cooler areas. I don’t keep heat on any chicks past 5 weeks, but they are used to those cooler temperatures. I would not move them from subtropical temperatures to arctic temperatures at that age without serious acclimation first.

    If they are turning the waterers over, fix the problem. There are a lot of different waterers and ways to fix them so they don’t turn over. I use this concept a lot around older chicks or adults. Take two pieces of plywood, separate them a bit with some wood and cut a hole in the top one so the waterer will fit.
    [​IMG]

    I use this in my brooder. I first make a very level place for it to sit. If it is not level, the water runs out. I fix a harness out of wire and support that from the top so the waterer won’t fall over if they hit it. This photo does not show it, but I put four screws around the base to form a pocket so they can’t get it to swinging. That keeps it in place on the base.
    [​IMG]

    If you raise these above the bedding they won’t get as dirty with them scratching stuff in.
     
  9. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    Nipple waterers don't get spilled or have shavings and droppings mucking them up. I used a gallon ice cream pail with my 10. Drill a hole in the bottom, pop in a nipple, poke a little hole in the lid. It takes minutes. Hang it just above their tiny heads in a way that it's easy to height-adjust as they grow. No mess, no worries; I'll never go back.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013

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