Brooder Help for a Chick-Raising Newbie :)

Kaiser5000

In the Brooder
Feb 13, 2020
22
12
23
Hi friends! We have 10 chicks who are 2 weeks old today. We have them in our upstairs loft area. We used cardboard for the floor, covered with pine shavings and then interlocking cardboard walls from My Pet Chicken. They have a feeder, a waterer and two heater panels. Things have been fine but we are wondering what we are supposed to do when they get bigger? One has already flown outside of the coop--- I suppose we could put some netting over the brooder for that issue--- But will 15 square feet be enough space for growing chicks in the upcoming weeks? I guess my question is: will we need to upgrade or change our brooder situation before they are put in their outside coop? If so, any affordable ideas for this?
 

Kaiser5000

In the Brooder
Feb 13, 2020
22
12
23
I'd move them to their outside coop as soon as is possible and provide a heat source there. They will rapidly outgrow their present brooder.
Thank you for the advice! It wouldn't be too soon at 2 weeks of age? The outside coop is an enclosed area of our barn that has shelves for laying and roosting. (They will be free range, otherwise). Would we need to worry about rodents since the are still so small--- While the area is enclosed, I suppose a mouse or rat could find a way in somehow? We do have power run to the area so we could put the heaters out there . . .
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Jul 23, 2018
14,582
109,861
1,492
Apalachin, NY
My Coop
My Coop
Thank you for the advice! It wouldn't be too soon at 2 weeks of age? The outside coop is an enclosed area of our barn that has shelves for laying and roosting. (They will be free range, otherwise). Would we need to worry about rodents since the are still so small--- While the area is enclosed, I suppose a mouse or rat could find a way in somehow? We do have power run to the area so we could put the heaters out there . . .
Predator proof the area properly with 1/2" hardware cloth so nothing larger than 1/2" can gain entry ANYWHERE then move the chicks and their heat source out to the coop.
 

Kaiser5000

In the Brooder
Feb 13, 2020
22
12
23
Predator proof the area properly with 1/2" hardware cloth so nothing larger than 1/2" can gain entry ANYWHERE then move the chicks and their heat source out to the coop.
Great! Thanks so much for the advice, all. We love them but it will be nice to have our loft back as well and be able to clean up ha, ha.
 

Kaiser5000

In the Brooder
Feb 13, 2020
22
12
23
Okay--- So I am such a nervous nellie. The draft won't be of concern? We are using heater panels that do stay super warm but they have to be right up against them. The lows at night here can still get into the 30's. While I know we have to do something (my husband just texted to let me know that the cardboard enclosure had completely collapsed and the babes were flying around everywhere in our loft :barnie) everything I read says that we have to wait until at least 4 weeks to put them outdoors . . .
 

rosemarythyme

Free Ranging
Jul 3, 2016
7,086
13,764
642
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
everything I read says that we have to wait until at least 4 weeks to put them outdoors . . .
Hens have been raising chicks outside for thousands of years...

I'd be more concerned about a possible rodent issue. Mice probably won't do much (other than eat all the food) but rats could definitely kill chicks. I'd get to pest proofing the coop area immediately.

In the meantime, toss the cardboard corral thing and get some cardboard boxes, tape them together if you have to to make a bigger enclosure. You MUST cover the top with something - hardware cloth is ideal, possibly netting or chicken wire if that's what you have on hand. Chicks can easily jump a couple feet by 2, 3 weeks.
 

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