Brooder help -cleaning and growing


Oct 19, 2020
Middle Tennessee
Our current brooder is made of 8 brooder panels from Premier 1 Supplies. I am currently having a couple issues.

1. Where do I put the chicks when I clean the brooder?

They were so small the first week that we used a plastic storage container as a brooder. We just put them in another one to clean it and put in fresh bedding. Do I need to keep them in the brooder while we clean it? If we had done it Friday, when it was in the 70's, sunny and calm, we would have put them outside. It rained yesterday, and today it is 55 degrees and windy, and the ground is very soggy. Therefore that's not an option.

2. The birds can get out of the brooder. When can I move them outside?

The brooder panels are 16" tall. The chicks hatched and were shipped March 9, so they are just shy of three weeks old. They are more content in the brooder than out so I'm hoping repositioning the panels to achieve the largest footprint and moving the heat plate further away from the wall will help. However, they can jump/fly from the ground to the top of the panel.

A little more info- I live in middle TN where the average last frost date is a month away. Average low temps are in the low 40's. Average high temps are upper 60's. I am using the Pilgrims Pride heat plate that can be put vertical and used for radiant heat in a coop. Right now the heat plate is at its tallest height and they spend a lot of time away from it. They are housed in a stand alone garage that we use for storage and is not heated. Our flock consists of 3 white leghorns, 11 black sex link, and 13 barred rock. I have attached photos so you can get an idea of their feathering.

I'm thinking maybe next week put them in a small coop (1.5 - 2 sq ft per bird) either in the shop or outside, but not give them a run? Any suggestions or advice is welcome! I'm headed over to the coop section to get ideas for an interim coop, which we will need because many rainy weekends have set back our permanent coop construction!


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5 Years
Sep 30, 2015
Bristol Tennessee
Good morning o also live in Tn and have hatched so many chicks lol. When I clean the brood and it’s cold outside I do not let them on the ground I’ll take a another tub and put bedding inside it and move the heat light to the clean tub until I clean everything. I don’t let the chicks outside on the ground until they get their feathers unless it’s really warm outside then I will move them to the new coop but I always make sure they have a heating light just in case the temp drops out.


Oct 19, 2020
Middle Tennessee
I’ll take a another tub and put bedding inside
The problem is, I don't have any other container big enough. I have 27 chickens. Our brooder is an octagon of approximately 15 - 20 sq ft. I have a 7 sq ft tub and a heat lamp that will hopefully work for today. I'm not sure it will work as they get bigger.

Suggestions on something inexpensive I can get or other options? The brooder panels and bedding are an a tarp. It may be as simple as getting another tarp. (Stress clouds my thinking!)


Scarborough Fair
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
Just get some cardboard boxes to hold them in while cleaning - using multiple boxes is fine.

Brooders need to be covered to stop escapees and to keep other pets/kids away from chicks. Not your fault, but I wish they'd stop selling these "brooding panels" that are simply too low and flimsy to effectively serve as brooders.

Yes they're big enough to move to an interim coop next week or so. I'd suggest working on weaning them off heat in the meantime... with your temperatures they should be fine without heat at 4 weeks old, if you work at reducing temps every couple of days.
May 28, 2020
Bonney Lake, Washington
Where do I put the chicks when I clean the brooder?

For my first round of chicks, I'd either transfer them to another bin to clean the brooder or just clean around them. Depends on how deep of a clean you're doing. If there's a spot in your house you can block off maybe let them run around while you clean!

The birds can get out of the brooder. When can I move them outside?

6-8 weeks is standard - when they're feathered. I'd try to cover it if you can. Chicken wire or something like a window screen over top.

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