Brooding and beyond


6 Years
May 30, 2013

We are planning to get a small flock of day old (or there abouts) chicks in the spring to start off with chickens. We want chicks because we don't have the space or an extra coop to do side by side introductions with adult birds.

We have a large indoor guinea pig cage like this: which we are going to use as an indoor brooder, with a heat lamp (not decided on red vs white)

I have spoken to some chicken people locally (this weekend is the county show so a good chance to talk to people which we don't often get to do) and one person said that this would be fine for the first 10 days, after which the chicks would out grow it and would need to be put in something else.

So as we're in the planning stage, this is a good time to figure out what to put them in next. At 10 days old will they still need to be kept indoors? And at what age should they be put out into our proper coop? Is there any point in putting them in one of those triangular chicken arks on the lawn for a few weeks, or will they be able to go straight out into the run by the time it is ok to be outside? What age is safe for them to go outside without heat? What age would they come off heat inside?

By the time they go out it SHOULD be warm, however this is England, so you can never be sure what the weather will do.

As your chicks are growing out they'll need/want 0.5 square feet (465 square cm) per chick at 2 weeks. By the time they are done with the brooder (4 to 5 weeks of growth) they'll be wanting 1 square ft of brooder space per bird. The cage you showed would work well for 6 chicks and more to brood in all the way to being put outside. This past spring we had 11 chicks hatch and being brooded in less than 6 square feet so put them out at 3 weeks old as it was getting very cramped in there.

You can speed up the feathering by taking away the heat gradually. I start brooding temp at 95F and lower that to 90F in 3 days. Raise the lamp again at 7 days to lower the temp to 85F. By 2 weeks I turn the lamp off during days and at three weeks take the light away all together. Being spring and still heating my house temp is 68F days and 59F at night. From there it depends on weather but usually I can put them out in their grow out coop (we have existing flock in large pen) a month after Easter. Hatch for Easter and three to four weeks later they are outside. I live in Northern New England so besides the rain our temps are same to colder than in England.

Note I started with 4-5 weeks brooding and ended with what I brood. If you don't keep them heated, and they don't need it, they will feather faster. It's a visual thing to know they are ready for spring weather which will include a light frost now and then as they are in a coop.
Last edited:
Ok, the cage I showed isn't actually the same one we have, just a similar design. I'll measure the one we have and figure out the square footage. We want to get about 6 chicks I believe, I'll let you know my findings :)

Thanks a lot
So our cage is 3'x2', so we should fit 6 chicks in there up to 4 weeks then? And we went to a show today and got a good deal on a brinsea mini advance incubator and an ecoglow brooder. Experiences?

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom