Brooder Size

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Auscal, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. Auscal

    Auscal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 29, 2010
    I am planning my first brooder for six 1 day olds I will be getting next week. I have a question on size - my thoughts are a large rubbermaid tub - what is the minimum size that would be suitable - at least for the first few weeks?

    I picked up a reflector shield - and two different bulbs today - one is a 250W red heat lamp, the other is a 125W white "Brooder heat Bulb". Once I have the box I'll experiment to see what will give me the temperature I need to start with (95 deg - right?)

    Also, heat at one end - water and food at the other, clean pine shavings for the floor. (And paper towel for the first day or two). I have a thermometer to check the heat, bag of starter crumbles...

    Am I missing anything?
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2011
  2. allpeepedout

    allpeepedout Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 2, 2011
    Southern Indiana
    I think babies need .5 sq ft each first two or three weeks and then weeks 4-8 it goes up to 1.5+ sq ft? Would depend on breed, too. They grow unbelievable fast, and their increase in food and water usage (and output) is as remarkable. I have 7 chicks in a 2x3 dog kennel and now at 3+ weeks they want more space and will move to big dog kennel today. They really want to run around now and practice flying. Be sure to measure temperature AND observe: mine were much too hot at 95+ degrees and one baby wasn't smart enough to move away. Keeping litter clean is challenging. I laid down fresh layers of paper towels throughout day with complete change and cleaning every 24 hrs. They are really fun. Good luck.
  3. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    What allpeepedout said is what I would have said as for their space requirements. Unless you're brooding outside in freezing conditions the 250w bulb will be much too large. Start with the 125 and see if you need to go down from there. Even the largest Rubbermaid tub is kinda small when it comes to keeping them warm inside.
  4. N&MSchroeder

    N&MSchroeder Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2011
    SE Idaho
    I used a large, clear 105 quart plastic container for my first brooder. I had 11 chicks in there and they grew out of it in two weeks. I loved the clear plastic because I could sit and watch them! It was also super simple to clean. I did use a 250 watt red bulb set up as you described. I clamped it about 2 feet above the brooder and the temperature immediately under the light was about 90 degrees.
  5. Noymira

    Noymira Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 9, 2011
    Chittenden County, VT
    Good post, I've been wondering this myself!

    I have a 35 gallon (about 1.5' x 3') plastic bin I was going to use for the first few weeks with our 8 chicks (not arriving til the end of April), but I guess I'll need something bigger for them after a week or two?

    What have other people used for brooders? My husband works in a warehouse and can probably get me a big sturdy cardboard box, but I guess I'll have to do my math and see how much space we'll need. We also have a cat, so I'll have to find someway to cover the top, or keep a look out for a large dog crate.

    How old are they before you put them out in the coop?
  6. Minniechickmama

    Minniechickmama Senora Pollo Loco

    Sep 4, 2009
    depends on how many you have?
  7. Auscal

    Auscal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 29, 2010
    [​IMG] at self - a very good point , Minnie, I could have swore in my OP I had said 6 lil peeps, but, no.......

    off to edit post
  8. Minniechickmama

    Minniechickmama Senora Pollo Loco

    Sep 4, 2009
    That is okay.
    I have three big tubs in the basement right now with chicks from hours old to 3 weeks. there are 7 in the older tub and around 20-25 in the other two. As they get bigger I split them up and put them in bigger brooders. It is cold here still so they can't go outside anywhere yet. I have to put my knockdown brooder in the garage up and get the biggest ones out this weekend. It is insulated out there but not heated. The temps are getting up in the 50's this week, so I think they will be fine with a 250-bulb in the corner to keep them toasty.

    The tubs are nice to keep clean, and if you get all the same size, will stack neatly for storage.
  9. kahlertm

    kahlertm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2010
    Durango, Colorado
    I am starting with the clear plastic tubs, and then move to a little kids plastic pool that we keep, not for the human kids, but for the feathered kids! I wrap cardboard around for draft protection with some duct tape attaching it and place wire over the top when they start to get frisky. I can easily find a scrap piece of wood to stretch accross the kiddy pool as a perch if you intend to teach them to perch. Some immediately take to it. My swimming pool from walmart has lasted me 4 years of brooding. I bleach it twice and scrub it down inside and out and it has served many chicks and even ducks well.

    I have then moved on to the large wire dog kennel as a way to move them in and out in spring time weather. When they are feathered out and starting the slow habituation process to temps outside.

    I provide a box or basket for cuddling. Peter Marshalls Grass Caves for rabbits work wonders for hidey spots and bantams love to lay in them. I give them to the little buggers to use as environmental enrichment. That same brand makes little foldable grass houses with holes and such. My chicks and bantams love them. Expensive as a disposable, but for the bantams. I hose it down or swish it in hot bleach water occasionally if it gets too soiled.

    Last edited: Mar 17, 2011

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