Chick dust issue - revisited

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jonalisa, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. jonalisa

    jonalisa Codswallop!

    383
    59
    151
    May 28, 2013
    NH
    My Coop
    Hey all,
    I have read all the chick dust threads I could find but have some specific questions that I'd like your opinions on.
    I did not consider the dust issue until now and so now I have some decisions to make. I am almost done building my brooder. It is 4'x6' and about 3' tall. I know it is big - I am getting 10 chicks (heavy layers) and I wanted to be sure there was plenty of room now and for possible future use.
    I live in NH and my chicks are shipping April 28th.

    The room I planned to use is an upstairs bedroom that I use as my craft room. I was recently warned that I should put plastic up on all the walls and cover everything. I had no idea.
    I have no garage, mudroom or enclosed porch. I do have a one small windowed basement that is not so much damp but is musty. That's the only other option for me. My concern is that I didn't want them to be so far out of sight that I can't keep an eye on them. I bought a used shed that will be here by April 6th, but temps here in May might still be really cold, especially at night.

    From what I've read, it seems that the intensity of dust can depend on size of brooder, quantity of chickens, time, etc. So here's my question:
    With the size of my brooder (4x6) and 10 heavy breed chicks, will dust likely be an immediate issue (first few days) or do you think it is possible to have them in the upstairs room for 1 or 2 weeks before the dust becomes an issue? I am hoping I can have them upstairs for at least the first week - then if necessary, move them to the basement.

    Your thoughts?
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,534
    174
    186
    May 18, 2012
    Northern Virginia
    My Coop
    Great brooder! That's about the size of the grow-out pen I had for my 6 chicks.

    I didn't have a garage or basement, either, and the brooder was in the bathroom next to my bedroom. I used large size pine shavings topped with paper towels initially and that really kept the dust down. It also made clean up very easy so I continued with the paper towels on top of the shavings as long as I could, about two weeks, I think. With the paper towels, the dust was greatly reduced.

    I then changed to sand and the dust was so bad I couldn't walk into the bathroom. Everything in there was coated in a fine layer of sand-type dust, I'm guessing because it was a small room. I kept on the exhaust fan 24/7 and the dust actually clogged the vents. I was worried about the chicks respiratory health and took out that entire brooder, ditched the sand, and changed back to pine shavings without the paper towels. There was dust with the pine shavings but it wasn't as bad as what we had experienced with the sand.

    We then built them a grow-out pen which wasn't as big as your brooder. As the outside temps were getting warmer and the girls had a few more feathers - guess they were about 5 weeks old by this time - we put the grow out pen in the actual chicken coop with the heat lamp to keep temps to about 70-75 degrees at that time. I didn't like having the heat lamp in the coop due to risk of fire but we secured it to a pole attached to the brooder so it couldn't get knocked over.

    Yes, dust is a real issue and if there's anything in that room that is precious to you, I'd box it up or cover it in some fashion. As your girls are arriving the end of April, hopefully the weather will cooperate and you'll be able to get them out of the house sooner.
     
  3. jonalisa

    jonalisa Codswallop!

    383
    59
    151
    May 28, 2013
    NH
    My Coop
    Thanks, that is good information. So maybe I could get through the first week...?
     
  4. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,534
    174
    186
    May 18, 2012
    Northern Virginia
    My Coop
    Given the size of your brooder, you could actually set another smaller container for the chicks inside it for the first few weeks. They won't need that much room in the beginning and they tend to huddle in one spot. That would reduce your litter needs - and your dust - for as long as they're able to be in that smaller space. It will also make it easier for you to use paper towels on top the litter and easier to change it out.
     
  5. Bogtown Chick

    Bogtown Chick Overrun With Chickens

    5,624
    1,518
    361
    Mar 31, 2012
    Northern Minnesota
    My Coop
    I look at that beautiful craft room and that brooder and say to myself....[​IMG]....NO! LOL.

    It is amazing what those 10 chicks will do laying down dust!

    As you were talking musty basement what comes to mind is moisture. You might be pleasantly surprised at what your heat lamp bulb will do for the moisture in the basement....may have drying affect down there. Can you dehumidify it a bit? Or do a fan to blow some musty smell out the window. Heppa filter for a day or two? That or a bathroom... I know you're limited as you've said...Beautiful beautiful Brooder. Wow.

    I brooded my flock in our attached garage which is insulated BTW...but in April/May in Northern MN that garage door was opened 4-6 times a day with our comings and goings....I know sometimes that garage was 40-50 degrees a few weeks....but with the heat lamp in place the chicks found their comfortable spots --slept comfortably all sprawled out. 90 degree brooder was no problem even. Heat Lamp would warm up the garage...though too. It all sort of amazed me. They are a bit tougher than we give them credit for...If you think of spring chicks and a Momma hen brooding them they experience cooler evenings in and out from under the hen in the elements. My Grandma brooded her chicks in an uninsulated large coop in MN during April. When your Shed comes in April...I wouldn't be afraid to start using it right away.
     
  6. jonalisa

    jonalisa Codswallop!

    383
    59
    151
    May 28, 2013
    NH
    My Coop
    Hey, that's a really good point! Thanks [​IMG]
     
  7. SusanPC

    SusanPC Chillin' With My Peeps

    179
    22
    83
    Feb 28, 2014
    Southwest Florida
    I had lots of questions about dust and have now had my 4 chicks for two weeks, so here's my experience. We started out with a clear plastic tote about 3 x 2 feet and set it up on my dining room table (with a sheet over the table) right in the middle of my open concept living, dining, kitchen area. I used pine shavings from Tractor Supply (fine) from the first day. I don't feel I had any major issues with dust at all within the first week, except when I would put sand in for dust-bathing (in a tupperware). The sand created a lot of dust on everything inside the tote, so I let them play for a while and then took it out. I changed the bedding about 3 times within the first 10 days. After having them for about 10 days, I felt the tote was too small, but still no major dust issues outside the brooder. This past weekend, my husband and I went on a scavenger hunt to try to find a bigger brooder. We hit the jackpot when we acquired a crate with thin masonite/hard cardboard to be thrown away from a big-box store. We debated, but because of the unpredictable hot/cold temps, we put the new, remodeled 7 x 3 feet brooder on the floor in the dining area. I have still not experienced much dust outside the brooder yet and tomorrow will be two weeks of chicken-rearing. The sand, though, does create dust inside the coop, so I placed it at the very end of the 7 foot brooder, away from food/water. The sides are pretty high, so I think that helps contain the dust. From what I hear, within the next week or so the dust will get worse, so we are planning on moving the king-size brooder to either the garage, shed, or porch. I think for the first two weeks at least, the dust situation shouldn't be too bad, unless you use sand. Of course, this probably depends on how many chicks, type of bedding, and "open-ness" of brooder.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

    5,622
    880
    316
    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    Use the shed! I have not brooded chicks in the house and because I have dust allergies, won't. Besides the dust, they smell like a farm. And I think the cute peeping sounds of happy chicks would get old at night. A heat lamp plus wind protection is truly plenty. They don't need the air in the entire space to be warm and it's really better for them if it isn't. They can regulate their temperature by moving in and out of the heat lamp circle if you give them the opportunity.

    Now, I haven't had weather below 19 degrees while I had chicks but I can say that 175w was enough at 19. 100w is enough when temps are above 30 and I found myself needing to turn it off altogether when the weather reached the middle 70s and the chicks were mostly feathered because they were away from the lamp and still panting. They are pretty obvious about how comfortable they are.

    As for keeping an eye on them, get a comfy chair and put it by the brooder. Chick TV is entertaining, possibly addictive...
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. jonalisa

    jonalisa Codswallop!

    383
    59
    151
    May 28, 2013
    NH
    My Coop
    Lots of really good information and perspectives here. This has really helped me a lot.
    Thanks for taking the time to put in your 2 cents, everyone!
    [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by