Can brooder be too large?

Yo Yo Oreo

In the Brooder
Jun 26, 2020
23
41
46
So maybe this seems like a silly question but I'll ask anyways lol. I've been working on increasing the amount of laying hens and over the last two incubations I am at my goal of roughly 10 laying hens (started with just two female and a male). My next goal is to begin raising larger numbers at a time to process for meat. I have an egg incubator that will hold up to 35 quail eggs at a time. I have a grow out pen to transfer the birds into that will give 30 birds around half a square foot of space each. I've read you can do up to .25 sq ft a bird when raising for meat so I hope this will be fine.

My biggest question, that I am finally getting to, is about the brooder. My last two hatches were smaller with 10 or less birds being raised. I use a 20 gallon long aquarium and it worked but with just 10 current birds around 3 weeks old, its pretty cramped. I was thinking of making another pen very similar to the grow out pen (which I believe is 5' x 3') to use as my brooder area. Is that too large though? I want plenty of space to hold up to 35 baby quail and I think initially I could place food and water near the heating plate, with extra food and water towards the back as they get larger and roam more. Is that too much space though?

I also have these totes that I used for chickens in the past, oh maybe I have 3 of them total. They are roughly 28" x 18" floor space (or about 3.5 sq ft) which honestly might work for the first week. But I know they will outgrow those totes very soon after that first week or so. I also have a 40 gallon breeder aquarium not being used which is about 4.5 sq ft floor space.

What are your thoughts? I was thinking a large one would be nice to just start and keep them in but is it silly to worry about TOO MUCH space and them getting lost/not finding the heat source again? Thanks in advance, I really love the advice here on these forums.

Oh another thing to add - I have a single heating plate meant to hold up to 20 chicken chicks that I have loved using. I do have 3 extra red heating lamps I could use if I need to but I have enjoyed the heating plate as it keeps them quiet at night time. Would rather not buy multiple heating plates if I can avoid it though.
 

Nabiki

Quail Geek
Premium Feather Member
May 15, 2019
5,524
35,110
716
Sonoma County, CA
I use a 50 gallon tote for mine. I make sure they only have about half of the space for the first two days because they can wander away from the heat and get lost. After the first couple of days, though, they know how to find the warm spot.
 

FloorCandy

Songster
Apr 15, 2020
1,246
2,146
228
My last hatch I had 31, I planned to sell most so I took the ones I was keeping and put them in my small brooder with the heat plate. It is a 66(?) qt bin by iris, clear with purple handles. I put the rest into my biggest brooder, with the red heat light. I felt like the plate was too cramped with that many. I have raised 19 under the 10 inch plate and they were great the whole time though. My big brooder is a storage bin called 50 gallon stacker. They are easiest to find at Christmas, but I find them other times too. The Target ones and the Xmas ones have red handles, if you get it at container store, Home Depot, or Walmart, they have taupe (beige) handles. I can easily raise 20 chicks per large brooder all the way up to 4 weeks. I have a medium brooder too, it’s the iris 110 qt tote with purple handles. The 50 gallon stackers are like 100x more durable, and 30% more space for like $10 more.

Giving too large of an area before you wean from heat can result in chicks wandering away and dying from cold exposure, they aren’t smart. I Usually start with the small brooder, then move up to large after a few days with mine. I wouldn’t put into the size you mentioned until at least 2 or 2 1/2 weeks old.
 

thepick4uchicks

Songster
May 23, 2020
982
1,624
143
Mississippi
So maybe this seems like a silly question but I'll ask anyways lol. I've been working on increasing the amount of laying hens and over the last two incubations I am at my goal of roughly 10 laying hens (started with just two female and a male). My next goal is to begin raising larger numbers at a time to process for meat. I have an egg incubator that will hold up to 35 quail eggs at a time. I have a grow out pen to transfer the birds into that will give 30 birds around half a square foot of space each. I've read you can do up to .25 sq ft a bird when raising for meat so I hope this will be fine.

My biggest question, that I am finally getting to, is about the brooder. My last two hatches were smaller with 10 or less birds being raised. I use a 20 gallon long aquarium and it worked but with just 10 current birds around 3 weeks old, its pretty cramped. I was thinking of making another pen very similar to the grow out pen (which I believe is 5' x 3') to use as my brooder area. Is that too large though? I want plenty of space to hold up to 35 baby quail and I think initially I could place food and water near the heating plate, with extra food and water towards the back as they get larger and roam more. Is that too much space though?

I also have these totes that I used for chickens in the past, oh maybe I have 3 of them total. They are roughly 28" x 18" floor space (or about 3.5 sq ft) which honestly might work for the first week. But I know they will outgrow those totes very soon after that first week or so. I also have a 40 gallon breeder aquarium not being used which is about 4.5 sq ft floor space.

What are your thoughts? I was thinking a large one would be nice to just start and keep them in but is it silly to worry about TOO MUCH space and them getting lost/not finding the heat source again? Thanks in advance, I really love the advice here on these forums.

Oh another thing to add - I have a single heating plate meant to hold up to 20 chicken chicks that I have loved using. I do have 3 extra red heating lamps I could use if I need to but I have enjoyed the heating plate as it keeps them quiet at night time. Would rather not buy multiple heating plates if I can avoid it though.
All I want to say is that you Quail farmers are awesome and have an abundance of energy and dedication which I do not have in me any longer in my life mainly due to health reasons. However, to be honest I am not sure I ever had that much energy in me for taking care of small tiny things. I took care of people patients with patience for a long time. Maybe that is why and I love my animals but shew. Don’t have that much. Y’all are awesome and tireless I am sure. I just wanted to give a much deserved shout out to you because you deserve it because it is a lot of work which people along with those who also do not appreciate chicken farmers who raise the chicken they eat as meat and eggs near enough for their time and hard work along with the sacrifices they make to put food on our tables. Thank you all.
 

FloorCandy

Songster
Apr 15, 2020
1,246
2,146
228
All I want to say is that you Quail farmers are awesome and have an abundance of energy and dedication which I do not have in me any longer in my life mainly due to health reasons. However, to be honest I am not sure I ever had that much energy in me for taking care of small tiny things. I took care of people patients with patience for a long time. Maybe that is why and I love my animals but shew. Don’t have that much. Y’all are awesome and tireless I am sure. I just wanted to give a much deserved shout out to you because you deserve it because it is a lot of work which people along with those who also do not appreciate chicken farmers who raise the chicken they eat as meat and eggs near enough for their time and hard work along with the sacrifices they make to put food on our tables. Thank you all.
It’s funny, I read a lot of the chicken threads, and I really wanted chickens. We are looking to move to acreage in the next few years and I had hoped to raise our own meat birds, as well as the quail, and possibly a couple ducks for eggs. But chickens seem like so much work compared to quail. The quail don’t care if I spend time with them, they can’t free range, as long as I put their tarps on in bad weather, fill the food and water, and toss in new chips here and there, they are happy. My neighbor always says “I would never have the energy for that”, but seriously I have a bucket I fill with waste when I clean and sift, but I watch my other neighbor with chickens wheeling her chicken waste in a huge wheelbarrow!
 

Nabiki

Quail Geek
Premium Feather Member
May 15, 2019
5,524
35,110
716
Sonoma County, CA
It’s funny, I read a lot of the chicken threads, and I really wanted chickens. We are looking to move to acreage in the next few years and I had hoped to raise our own meat birds, as well as the quail, and possibly a couple ducks for eggs. But chickens seem like so much work compared to quail. The quail don’t care if I spend time with them, they can’t free range, as long as I put their tarps on in bad weather, fill the food and water, and toss in new chips here and there, they are happy. My neighbor always says “I would never have the energy for that”, but seriously I have a bucket I fill with waste when I clean and sift, but I watch my other neighbor with chickens wheeling her chicken waste in a huge wheelbarrow!
I did a lot of research before I got birds too. I started with looking at chickens. The more I read about chickens, though, the more I realized that they weren't for me. Quail are perfect. I had no idea when I started that I would enjoy raising quail as much as I do.
 

FloorCandy

Songster
Apr 15, 2020
1,246
2,146
228
I did a lot of research before I got birds too. I started with looking at chickens. The more I read about chickens, though, the more I realized that they weren't for me. Quail are perfect. I had no idea when I started that I would enjoy raising quail as much as I do.
I thought raising quail would prepare me for chickens, but I really love raising quail so much, I’m not even hot for chickens anymore. I have dogs for affection and companionship, so I don’t need that from chickens, but birds are fun to watch and listen to in a way dogs aren’t. They’re like a little community in my backyard, having arguments, getting excited, carrying things around. I think I’d get attached to chickens because they live longer, and I would end up spending a lot of money on vet care, and I already have dogs to fill that role as well.
 

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