Chick Newbie! Brooder and Coop Questions

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by heathercara, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. heathercara

    heathercara Chirping

    Jan 18, 2019
    Santa Cruz Mountains
    Hi! I'm Heather, and my BF and I just bought a house in the Santa Cruz mountains after renting for a long time in the Bay Area. We love our area, and now that we own a house, I can fulfill all my animal dreams :)

    I have never had chickens, and I can't wait. (I always have to stop at the feed stores to "visit the chicks"). I've wanted silkies and the funny-looking ones forever, and my boyfriend is excited for the better egg-layers.

    I am planning on getting chicks this spring, and I have so many questions. This website is such an awesome resource!

    1. We are planning on getting 6-8 chickens (3 bantams, 4-5 larger). Would a 46 x 46 puppy playpen be a good brooder? Or should I get the giant rubbermaid tub? They will be living indoors in a spare bedroom until they're ready for their coop. I already got the Brinsea Eco-warmer thing.

    2. How big should the coop and run be for when they are adults? They will need to stay in their coop/run area unless we are outside with them due to predators.

    3. What do you do if you get a rooster?

    Thank you so much in advance!
  2. bantamsrmyfav

    bantamsrmyfav Free Ranging

    Congrats! I remember driving up the Santa Cruz mountains looking at houses when I lived in California.

    I've always used rubbermaid tubs.

    For the coop I am not too sure- my parents built it, I think ours was 12' feet long for the run and a general coop.

    If you get a rooster you can see if someone on craigslist will want it. There was a guy on there I think his name was Vern in Castro Valley who would take roosters if you bring him a 50 lb bag of feed for him to feed it.
  3. Chick-N-Fun

    Chick-N-Fun Almy Acres Farm

    Jun 26, 2014
    Corning, NY
    Hi Heather! :frow Welcome to our FUN-omenal community! Best wishes and have lots of FUN!!!! :wee
  4. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Welcome to Backyard Chickens Heather, very nice to meet you.
    rjohns39, JedJackson, 007Sean and 8 others like this.
  5. heathercara

    heathercara Chirping

    Jan 18, 2019
    Santa Cruz Mountains
    Aw - thank you so much for your help! We love it here so far...gorgeous surroundings, such nice people, and again - space for animals!

    And look at the pics of your babies!!! <3

    I read about the cardboard box brooders, but I feel like those might get yucky quickly, and since we are keeping them in our house. Can they hop out of those giant rubbermaid tubs?

    Oh that's so good to know about Vern. I'll have to hunt him down if we end up with any boys. It would be wonderful to know that they can have a good life with someone.
    rjohns39, JedJackson, 007Sean and 7 others like this.
  6. heathercara

    heathercara Chirping

    Jan 18, 2019
    Santa Cruz Mountains
    Thank you! :)
    rjohns39, JedJackson, 007Sean and 6 others like this.
  7. cassie123

    cassie123 Crowing

    Jun 13, 2017
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!
    rjohns39, JedJackson, 007Sean and 7 others like this.
  8. Animals45

    Animals45 Songster

    Nov 8, 2018
    Welcome to backyard chickens so glad you joined the flock! Feel free to ask questions and answer questions and make yourself at home!! Hope you enjoy this site as much as we all do!!:celebrate:highfive:
    rjohns39, JedJackson, 007Sean and 6 others like this.
  9. DobieLover

    DobieLover Easily distracted by chickens

    Jul 23, 2018
    Apalachin, NY
    My Coop
    Hello Heather and welcome to BYC! :frow Glad you joined.

    For the mix you want the minimum coop size should be 4x5. I'd go 4x6 for better use of lumber if you are building it.
    The run minimum should be 60 sq feet. But I recommend about twice that. That is what I built and mine get let out daily into a 1/4 pen and they STILL want more!!
    rjohns39, JedJackson, 007Sean and 8 others like this.
  10. FlappyFeathers

    FlappyFeathers Free Ranging

    Feb 5, 2018
    Northwest Oregon
    My Coop
    awesome.gif Thanks for joining BYC!

    welcome-banners.gif hithere.gif

    Congratulations on your new place! If you already have the puppy playpen, go ahead and use it... it just may be difficult to keep the bedding contained, and if the fencing has spaces bigger than 1 inch, those tiny chicks will be escaping. I've used a giant rubbermaid tote in the past (so easy to clean), but no matter what you choose, the top will have to be covered.
    This pic was my first batch at 4 wks old... before I learned about the heating plate idea. Your chicks will grow and feather out super quick with one of those, and be ready to go outside in just couple short weeks! If your coop is ready, you can just brood them right in the coop. I designed my new coop for that very purpose.
    Start Raising Your Chicks Outdoors
    You Certainly Can Brood Chicks Outdoors

    I say build your coop and run as large as possible, especially the run! And especially if they can't free range. You'll probably discover that you love chickens and will want to get more later on, so you'll wish you had the space. My birds spend most of their time outside, they hardly ever go in the coop unless to lay eggs or sleep (roost). My run is completely secure so I don't find it necessary to close a pop door or keep food or water inside the coop... they have free access to the covered run at all times, where I keep food and water. And I let them out in the yard usually all day.
    I consider these 3 articles the holy grail of coop building:
    How Much Room Do Chickens Need
    Chicken Coop Ventilation - Go Out There And Cut More Holes In Your Coop!
    Predator Proofing


    I've had really good luck getting day old pullets from the feed store, but if you happen to get an accidental cockerel, do have a plan ready. One rooster, if a good one, may actually turn out to be an asset for your flock in case you do try free ranging, they are great protectors (and fathers). Otherwise a new home may be in store, and keep in mind they may not end up in an old age retirement home. Many folks save extra cockerels for the dinner table. In case you want to give it a shot, here's a nice intro:
    From Coop to Kitchen: Pets vs Livestock and Respectful Chicken Harvest

    Well that's enough for now...
    Best wishes in your future chicken adventure!
    rjohns39, JedJackson, 007Sean and 8 others like this.

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