Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by sebloc, May 9, 2016.

  1. sebloc

    sebloc Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2016
    For our brooder, we used a plastic tub with walls about a 2 feet high. We then in the inside placed cardboard to surround the plastic walls, and corners. We decided to hang the lamp from the ceiling into a corner on the brooder. Should we have any concerns of the plastic melting, cardboard catching on fire, or anything else? The lamp is secured to a hook on the ceiling rather well.
    Also, what would be a good amount of space per chick? We have 6 chicks in 1 brooder. I figured between 1 and 2 square feet per chick. At the moment, they are about a week old, so.
    Thanks, anything you can add would be helpful. :D
  2. Choco Maran

    Choco Maran Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 25, 2009
    Ribera New Mexico
    As long as the lamp don't touch the side of the tub or the cardboard no you should not have a problem. Yes 2 square feet per chick should be just fine. This gives them enough room to get away from the heat source if it gets to warm for them, as well as each other. Good luck with the chicks.
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs I Wanna Be A Cowboy Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    My suggestion would be to not use a 250 watt bulb, 125 or less is best. After the first week or two your chicks will need more room. I like to take mine outside for the day as long as it's warm enough. I turn a 5 gallon pail on it's side and it heats up like a brooder, provide shade, food and water.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I raised 28 chicks (mostly female) to five weeks in a 3’ x 5’ brooder. I also raised 21 chicks (mostly male) to five weeks in that same brooder. In both cases they were starting to get a look crowded but I had no behavior problems. Even at that age I think cockerels need more room that pullets. In both cases this was less than 1 square feet per chick. How long you keep them in there will make a difference but I can’t see you having any behavioral problems with that much space as long as you don’t keep them in there too long based on square feet per chick. I also don’t think square feet per chick is that important. I’ll get to that.

    Be aware that they will very soon be capable of flying out of there. I’ve seen two week old chicks fly 3’ horizontally and 2’ vertically when Mama took them to the roosts. You may want to cover that tub so they can’t fly out.

    It sounds like they are in your house. I suspect that is heated. They don’t need a lot of heat. I very strongly believe your goal should be to keep one area of the brooder warm enough and other parts of the brooder cool enough. That way they can self-regulate. Even straight out of the incubator mine are really good at self-regulating temperature when given a choice. My brooder is out of doors in the coop. We have some pretty big temperature swings. I have to account for that so one end is often over-heated to handle the really cold times. The other end is a long way from the heat and well ventilated to let them get away from the heat if they need to. Inside a climate controlled house it should be a lot easier to maintain the warm enough – cool enough areas. Adjust that by wattage of your heat bulbs and how high above the brooder they are. With a wire cover on the brooder you may have limits as to how low you can go.

    Any time you use electricity you have a fire hazard. Firmly securing that lamp so it can’t fall will really help a lot. (use wire, do not depend on that clamp that comes with it at all. I throw those clams away.) That’s what I do. Whether that heat lamp will catch the cardboard on fire or melt the plastic depends on what wattage bulb you use and how close it is to them.

    One concern with you set-up is that with only 6 chicks and that amount of space per chick, it may be a bit of a challenge to provide the warm enough – cool enough split, though in a house it can be done without huge prolems. But why I don’t see any magic in a square feet per chick number is that what is important in chick and later chicken behavior is that in case of conflict, the weaker needs some room to avoid the stronger in case of conflict. Please bear that in mind especially with your coop and run. You might follow the link in my signature for some of my thoughts on that.

    With really young chicks that is usually not that important as long as you don’t keep them in the brooder until they get close to puberty. Then it becomes really important. I’m going to give an example using imaginary numbers just to make the math easier. These come close to adult chickens, not chicks, but the principle is the same. Besides chicks grow so fast you can’t get a good number for them.

    Say you have six chickens that each take up 1 square feet of space when they are standing still. So they occupy 6 square feet at any one time. Say you give them four square feet per chicken total space in your coop. That’s 24 square feet total so subtracting 6 from 24, they have 18 square feet available for them to explore and avoid the other chickens. Not too bad.

    Say you have twenty chickens the same size and you give them the same four square feet each. That’s 80 square. Subtracting 6 from 80 gives them 74 square feet available to explore and avoid the others. That’s a huge difference and why my 28 chicks in my brooder cannot compare to your 6 chicks. That’s comparing apples and oranges. You need more space per chick. And that’s one reason I don’t believe in magic numbers for chickens. There are too many variables.

    I don’t know the actual dimensions of your tub. I suspect it is plenty big enough for quite a while. I suspect it is bigger than many other people use for 6 chicks. But as some point it will start to get crowded. I suggest you make sure your coop and run are ready for them sooner rather than later.

    Good luck and welcome to the adventure.

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