Brooder pen size recommendations for 25 chicks?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Life is Good!, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Songster

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    Our layers came old enough to put in the coop with a heat lamp, and they were fine. Fully feathered out, no problems. (They were between 4 and 5 wks old when we got 'em from the farm). I'd set up a brooder for them, expecting to use it. Never did. Not sure how it'll function, as it's not been tried.

    I ordered 25 day-old Freedom Ranger chicks, set to arrive 4/6. Our brooder is a humongous rubbermaid tank (think small stock tank) with a homemade 1/4" mesh wire lid. I know it'll hold 25 chicks for the first 7-10 days, then they'll outgrow it.

    As the weather won't be condusive to put them in their tractor on grass (well, with this wierd winter, maybe the weather will be!), what do you use for a bigger brooder?

    Or do you put them in a tractor with heat lamps? I'm building modified Salatin style tractor (10x10), will that be sufficient for 25 birds? (I'm thinking I'll need 2 of them - as it was tight for my layers last spring, there were 12 of 'em).

    Thank you for your input.

  2. ericsplls

    ericsplls Songster

    Feb 25, 2010
    I have an A frame tractor that half of it is closed. The opening to the rest of the tractor is about a foot high. I put a 1x6 across it until they are big enough to start jumping out then just take it out. By then they know where to go when they ger cold. You will be better off to have two or more smaller wattage lights than one big lamp with the rubbermaid. Just one and they will either pile under it smothering the ones on the bottom or they will form a wall around the edge of light with some chicks getting stuck in the middle and getting to hot.
  3. Poupoulles

    Poupoulles Songster

    Jul 17, 2007
    Mayberry (really!)
    The big thing I found with my brooder for 25 meaties is that meaties are generally grosser than layers. Even the FR are, though they are less disgusting than the CX. So whatever you do make sure it is EASY to clean out.
    Your stock tank might be perfect- maybe all you need to do is put it on a low bench/table/frame so that you can easily reach in with a scoop as needed.
    My brooder was hard to reach the back and required me leaning in a lot. Oy my back!
    Newduckdaddy likes this.
  4. Sundown_Farmer

    Sundown_Farmer Chirping

    Apr 2, 2010
    Non-Chicago, Illinois
    How big is "humongous"? Last year I used a 300 gallon rubbermaid tank to brood up to 75 chicks for the first 18 days. They got fresh wood chips every day and things were fine. I did not clean out the tank until I was finished brooding for the season. By the end of the year I had very healthy chicks living on a hot, deep pile of compost. They found interesting things to eat in there too. We also have an outdoor brooder for larger numbers of chicks. This year we're trying a 4'x4' inverted box brooder in the greenhouse surrounded by straw bales. Should brood 300 chicks.

    100 sq. ft. is plenty of room for 25 meat birds. You'll butcher them sometime between July 4th and August 1st so the tractor, moved to fresh grass daily, will cover something like 11,200 square feet...1/4th of an acre. Your grass will thank you for a year long rest between chickens.

    I have put a heat lamp on a chicken tractor. I don't recommend it. I think you're better off letting them feather out and, if necessary, giving them some dry straw to lay on.
  5. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Songster

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    Thank you for the input! I've only had experience with layers, so this is new territory for me. I'm hoping to keep the 25 in one brooder for at least 3wks. I'd not thought about doing deep litter method with them. Great idea! I'll give that a try to start out. Might help keep some of the heat in (unheated barn).

    Yes, our 2 acres of grass will get grazed pretty well, but will be fine. It's our dog I'm worried about - he thinks chicken turds are the BEST treat ever! I think he'll likely gain as much weight as the FR! I just know how crowded the tractor was for our 12 layers when they got beyond 4#'s. It was tight! I don't know how the FR will do, but we'll see! I like a good challenge.

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