Can a brooder be too big?

hodor

Songster
Nov 6, 2015
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Just wondering if a brooder can be too big, especially for day old chicks? My heat lamp would only bring a small area to the recommend temperature which I was thinking would be OK if I put their food and water in that area. Or is it better to restrict access to a smaller area for the first few days/week?
 

Pork Pie

Flockwit
Premium Feather Member
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Jan 30, 2015
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I'm certainly no expert as i use hens to raise my chicks, but i can't imagine why having a large brooder should be an issue. It will give them space to run around, reduce boredom and also the likelihood of aggression. I guess it may reduce the surface area of the "correct temperature" as heat will dissipate faster. If you have lots of chicks, then it may be an idea to enclose the area where the light is on 3 sides to maintain warmth. A general rule of thumb is that if you see the chicks huddling together as close to the heat source as possible, then they are not warm enough -if they are running around doing "chick" things they are fine.

I'm sure other members with experience of raising chicks will give more comprehensive advice.

CT
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
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Mama broody does not heat the entire area. There is only a warm spot under her. The chicks explore, then dart under Mama to get warmed up, or if she or they sense danger. They do fine out and about exploring, even when it's pretty cold out. So, IMO, a large brooder is much preferable compared to a small one. It's great if the far end of the brooder gets down to the same temp as the surrounding area. Are you brooding them outside, in the house, or in a shed/coop? The only other possible issue might be if they get away from the heat lamp and huddle there instead of going back to the heat source. Sometimes, they're a bit um... not so smart in the first few days. That heat lamp does not know how to cluck them back to safety the way Mama broody does. Hope you have it covered. They grow those wing feathers mighty fast, and will be flitting around like parakeets by the time they are 2 weeks old!
 

azygous

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You are growing baby chicks not hot house plants. You do not need to keep them at a uniform, constant temperature. Chicks will move in and out of the heat zone as they need warming, much like little campers warming up at a campfire.

The larger the brooder, the better off all around the chicks will be, as Lazy pointed out, and the dangers of over-heating become almost nil. On the flip side, colder areas are beneficial as it lessens the possibility of the chicks becoming overly heat dependent, and that will reduce the time it takes later on to cold harden them as you graduate them to their coop.
 

hodor

Songster
Nov 6, 2015
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Australia
Thanks everyone. I was thinking bigger was better.

Lazy that link looks really interesting. I might try and get them out side sooner using info from that article, it is summer so even nights are mild. Maybe they can spend their days outside at least after the first week. I'll read it properly later.
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
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Summer? Where are you? If you put general location in your profile, it helps folks to better respond to any issues you may be facing. You could do ALL of your brooding right in the coop, and bypass all of the chick dust/dander issues in the house. I keep mine inside for 2 - 3 days to be sure they're eating and drinking ok, then they go right outside. They do wonderful with the broody heating pad. They are much more friendly, seem to grow and feather better, and seem to be all around "better socialized" than lamp raised chicks.
 

hodor

Songster
Nov 6, 2015
138
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Australia
I'm in Australia. I can't get power to the coop. Think nights get down to around 15c (60f).

I will want them out of the house asap so as soon as they can tolerate that they're gone! They will be my first ever chickens so everything is a steep learning curve.

All this assumes I've done well enough that they hatch in around two days.
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
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Wishing you the best with your hatch. Heating pad is a great option for in the house as well! Just be sure it has the constant on feature, and the Sunbeam XPress has a lot of temp setting options.
 

hodor

Songster
Nov 6, 2015
138
52
126
Australia
Can you get battery heat pads?

Do watched eggs ever pip? Want one to pip so I feel they can make it but it is probably a little early so I want them to take their time. Such a conundrum
 

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