brooder size for 27 chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jonih, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. jonih

    jonih Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 19, 2013
    Neosho, MO
    I just ordered 27 chicks from mcmurray for late march delivery. How big of a brooder tub do I need? Will a large rubnermaid (~30gallon) be large enough to start them in? I'd also thought about getting a stock tank to have them in until they can go in the coop. How big of an area will they need to be comfortable? I've raised tons of livestock but not baby chicks yet!
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    You'll need a 4x8 or 5x8 area very, very quickly. They grow incredibly quickly. They'll be huge and you'll have to put netting over the top, in just a few weeks, as they'll be flying right out.

    I'd go ahead and start them right out in something large enough, but that's just me. 27 chicks? I don't even think my 5x8 utility trailer would be marginally big enough. You're gonna need to move them out to a barn pen soon. Hope you can string an extension cord out there or have electricity available.

    Also, you need multiples of everything. Feeders, waterers, etc. Also, one heat lamp won't work. You'll need at least two, with three being even better. Good luck with your herd, er... flock. LOL


    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  3. mderby48

    mderby48 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 10, 2013
    Mexico, NY
    I read that the chicks should have 1 sq. ft. Each until 2 weeks, then 2 sq. ft. Each until they go outside at 6 weeks. Therefore 27 chicks need 27 sq ft to start ( roughly a 4x8 )
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I don't know what people read, here and there, what they've "heard", or so forth. I just know about brooding chicks for 50+years. Each spring, my dad would bring home 250 day old chicks. We just brooded them right on the coop floor. We took a heavy-duty exterior grade extension cord out to the coop. The commercial folks brood millions of chicks in barns, the world over. I can assure you this. If you crowd chicks and they are bored? You have cannibalism and such that can run rampant.

    The point is the WHERE of the brooder isn't relevant. As long as you can provide an adequate environment, appropriate to their age, you're good to go. I've been brooding in the unheated garage, all winter long, and right through zero weather.

    There's no way in under God in heaven my wife would allow me to brood 27 chicks in the house. The smell and dust would be the end of both of us, in short order. [​IMG]
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I’m not going to argue with anything Fred said. He’s one of the people on this forum I trust when he says something.

    It’s hard to come up with a magic number for how much room they need. What breed are they? At what age will they come out of the brooder? What sex are they? Males take up more room than females of the same breed once they grow a bit. How big will they be when you let them out? There are so many variables I don’t see how you can come up with a magic number that covers everyone.

    I know if you don’t have the experience you need something to start with. That’s why you are posting.

    I fully agree with Fred. Start bigger than you think you need. You have a whole lot more flexibility if something does not go according to plan. And I think you are a lot less likely to be posting about how things went wrong if you go big.

    I don’t do it exactly like Fred. I’ve raised 28 chicks in a 3’ x 5’ brooder until they were about 4-1/2 weeks old. They were almost all pullets and it was getting crowded. Another time I raised 21 chicks to about the same age in that brooder. They were almost all cockerels and it was getting pretty crowded. In either case if I’d had one or two that were pretty aggressive I could have had a problem. I built a bigger brooder and now normally hatch fewer chicks to put in it.

    My brooder is in the coop. If you have electricity out there I see no reason to raise them in the house. I kinda like staying married to the same person I’ve been married to for a few decades.
  6. jonih

    jonih Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 19, 2013
    Neosho, MO
    Great answers all, and pretty much with what I expected from raising other species. I think I will start with a large tub in the garage for their very first few days, then transition them straight to the coop if they're healthy. I am constructing a large 8w x 8l x 4h coop, raised 2' off the ground. Three sides are wire with doors that close to seal it up tight. The fourth side has a solid 4x4 door, then soliddoors to access the 12 nest boxes. Roosts are staggered on the back half. so I can run extension cords to the coop and use plywood to create a small area and increase it as weather and chick size cooperates.

    I am playing with a few heritage breeds. I ordered five hens each of buff orpingtons, black minorcas, columbian wyandottes and silver spangled hamburgs, all large not bantam. I have two roosters of all but the orpingtons as well, and one random rare breed. My hopes are that one or two of the orpingtons will eventually go broody to raise chicks for me. I will probably construct some runs and separate cools for the roosters eventually, and cull heavily this first year. My hens will be free ranging, and roosters too as long as everybody is getting along. I'm sure ill have lots more questions as I go along! This is an experiment for sure. I look forward to going to the turkey creek poultry swap in joplin as well as poultry shows.

    I agree with everybody's comments about wanting to stay married! My husband has asked if we can have a pet goat in the house, but pretty sure even.two or three stinky chicks would be a major issue for him!

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