Brooder outside?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by deineria, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. deineria

    deineria Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 3, 2010
    Huntington, WV
    This will seem a very silly question to experienced folks, but would it be wise to build a brooder box for my side porch (totally predator safe, somewhat enclosed) and move chicks into it . . .say a week after hatching?
    Anyone else do this? What would you recommend doing as far as building in regards to insulation and ventilation? How many lamps in a box for - at most -24 chicks - at a time? Keeping them inside is VERY hard with little kids, a dog and limited space. . .esp more than 6-10 at a time for very long. . .
  2. papschmitty

    papschmitty Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 21, 2010
    [​IMG] I'm curious about this too!
  3. NonnasBabies

    NonnasBabies Muddy Acre Farms Premium Member

    Sep 20, 2009
    On the Farm!
    I brood mine outside when it's warmer. I cover part of my 3 x 7 brooder with a tarp and put the heat lamp on that side, that way it will keep the drafts off them when their sleeping!! But with the cold weather like it is now I'd keep them inside!!
  4. Michigan Transplant

    Michigan Transplant Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2010
    Marionville, MO
    I am no expert since I have only had chick (chickens) for about a year but I would NEVER put them outside in a partially enclosed anything. If you can't put them in an out building of any sorts, I have a feeling you will loose them all to the weather. This time of year is no time to have babies outside even partially. If there are drafts it is not good for the chicks.
    I raised 25 RIR's out in a chicken house but in a large box up off the ground. I had one red heat lamp at one end and their food and water at the other end.
    Now they are all out in the chicken house. Mine is not insulated and they have made it fine all winter. I did have a red light at the end of the building in case some of them got cold but didn't ever see many under it.
    I hope you rethink the outside for the babies since I would hate for you to loose them and hate for them to die.
    Good Luck.
  5. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Yes. You can do anything you want if you know the risks and prepare for success.

    But any out of doors brooder has to be totally insulated and free of drafts. Consider that Nature broods chicks in spring, when the season warms. The mother helps them stay secure and warm, out of the elements. You have to do the same.

    Most people who brood outside erect or utilize a shed or building of some kind. Ive used a large brooder cage on wheels, constructed of nothing more than wood and wire. However, I kept the bottom snug by sealing it with many layers of newspaper, covered in sawdust. I kept the sides and tops insulated with sheets of bubble wrap and canvas, tightly shrouding the cage in a snug coat.
    I used a heat lamp on one end with a sheet of bubble wrap separating the heated section from the non heated end. Chicks need to be able to duck in and out of the heat and will seek their own comfort zone. A hover serves the same purpose.

    I suggest the book, "Success With Baby Chicks," by Bob Plamondon. Get it from his website, ebay or alibris.
  6. ranit

    ranit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2010
    What it really boils down to is if you can maintain a 90 degree temperature to keep them from getting too cold. If not, you will have problems.
  7. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Quote:True. But dont forget drafts - temperature alone isnt enough, if cold winds are whipping in among them. Seriously, they are very susceptible to chills and chill related stress in the beginning.
  8. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 19, 2009
    We brood chicks "outside" year-round in Michigan. Last year the turkey hens got a wild hair and laid a clutch that ultimately hatched on December 3rd, so this winter we've even had poults out there -- which tend to be more fragile than chicks. Your ambient temperature need not be 90 degrees -- ours tends to be just about exactly what it is outside, recently at night that's below zero -- they just need a 90+ degree area directly under the lights where they can hang out when they so choose. And they will choose to be under the lights sometimes and not other times even with ambient temperatures below zero degrees F. Our feeders and waterers are not under the lights, they go out to eat, drink, run around and "play", etc and then go back to the lights when they need. One light for 24 chicks should be plenty if it's a 250+ watt heat lamp. If you go with lower wattage/regular bulbs you would need more, I personally wouldn't suggest that though. Above all, listen to YOUR chicks. If you set them out and they pile up and stay that way (a little doggy pile when you first put them in is normal, everything is new and you're standing over them, they look for the security of the group, but they should spread out in relatively short order) then they need more heat, lower the light, give them a second light, etc.

    What everyone has said about drafts is absolutely applicable. It doesn't need to be an air tight area, but you don't want drafts blowing directly on the chicks. Our brooder is FAR from air tight, it has a LOT of ventilation, just no hard direct drafts on the chicks.
    EggSTOREYdinary likes this.
  9. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Quote:There is a big difference between drafts and ventilation. Avoid the former and provide plenty of the latter.
  10. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    What Davaroo and Olive Hill said.

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