chicks in coop vs brooder

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by fiddlebanshee, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. fiddlebanshee

    fiddlebanshee Songster

    Mar 11, 2010
    Frederick, MD
    A very basic question. I'm getting my first chicks (15) at the end of September. I have a 7x8 ft coop that does not have any other chickens in it. Can I just put up a heatlamp in a corner and call it a brooder? Or do they need some other kind of enclosure?

    I thought I should probably cordon off a 4x4 section of the coop, at least for the first couple of weeks. At which age would they be safe to explore the entire coop?

    hope someone can help me so that I can prepare a suitable welcome for the fuzzybutts.

  2. allieloveschickens

    allieloveschickens Songster

    May 20, 2010
    San Diego
    You can definitely cordon off part of your coop and add a heat lamp in the corner, once they have lost their fluff and grown in real feathers (after a few weeks) You could let them roam the whole coop. I want some photos when your chicks come! [​IMG]
  3. 10 point

    10 point country boy

    Feb 19, 2011
    LaFayette, NY
    Quote:X2 by 8 weeks they will be fully feathered and they can roam the whole coop. but by then it will be cold so i would keep the heat lamp on until 12 weeks or maybe even a little longer.

    hope this helps 10 point
  4. fiddlebanshee

    fiddlebanshee Songster

    Mar 11, 2010
    Frederick, MD
    so are you saying that until they are fully feathered they cannot even roam the inside of the coop? I'm not talking about letting them out in the run, just inside the coop with a heatlamp on. I was planning on keeping them in the 4x4 ft enclosure perhaps for 3 or 4 weeks and then let them roam the coop. Then at 12 wks and up they could go in the run if they wanted, since they'd be fully feathered by then.

    Is this a good plan?
  5. fiddlebanshee

    fiddlebanshee Songster

    Mar 11, 2010
    Frederick, MD
    A follow up question:

    what is the best method for poop management if I have them in the corner of the coop? Should I place something under the bedding so that I can remove the soiled bedding easily or can I just keep building up the bedding like in the DLM? I have two pans that go under washing machines abt 40x40 inches. I could build the enclosure around those and then remove one pan at a time when it is cleaning time. Would this work?

    Eventually these pans will go under the roosts when they're old enough to start roosting on the big roosts.
  6. Jloeffler

    Jloeffler Songster

    Jul 22, 2011
    Northeast NC
    We did that with our chicks and they grew up just fine. They had the roam of the coop and nest boxes. We closed off the doors and put in one little dowl rod perch for them. We adjusted the heat lamp temp by moving it farther up the wall beams as they needed less and less heat and just monitored the chicks for any sign of being cold. Good luck and x2 with the pictures!
  7. I've learned mine are happiest in the coop as soon as I can get them in there. They are also a lot more resilient to cool temps than I thought. After the brooder (about 2-3 weeks) mine go into the first of 2 "grow up" coops. I have done this regularly, even with winter hatches. The first coop has 2, 4x4 boxes. One contains the light for heat as need be, the other is where I put the food. They also have access to the outdoor run (completely fenced and covered to keep them safe from predators) and it is roughly 10x10.

    After this coop, they move to a larger coop complete with roosting poles, etc, etc

    Good luck
  8. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:Alot would depend on what the temps. are like where you live, but I can't see the sense in waiting until the chicks are 12 weeks old before allowing them access to the whole coop and/or the run.

    Here's the temps. you will need to maintain in at least a portion of your coop for the first five weeks - 90 to 95 degrees the first week (this varies because I've never had a chick that liked it that hot), decreasing by 5 degrees a week until such time as you are down to 70* (end of week five) at which point the chicks will normally not require supplementary heat.

    The chicks don't need their whole coop to be at those temps.; in fact it makes good sense to give them an area a bit cooler so they can learn to self-regulate; going under the heat when they need a quick warm up. This is the only reason it makes sense not to give them full run of the coop at first. You need to keep them close to the heat source until they've learned to self regulate.

    They can also go outside on nice, windless days when temps. are above 70 or so. Be prepared to have to shoo them back in the coop though, since they won't have a broody mama to teach them. Keep in mind that small chicks are most vulnerable to predators, so that run needs to be super secure.

    Also, and this is extremely important, be sure your heat lamp is secure in at least two ways! An example would be hanging from a stout chain and zip tied too. More than one coop fire has been started by a heat lamp that fell onto the bedding.

    Now that I have raised brooder chicks and watched my broody hens raise chicks, I have to say that I like the broody's method better. She doesn't keep her chicks under her full-time, she lets them roam a bit, always on stand by to call them back under her should they start to get chilled. I've seen chicks out when there was still snow on the ground and they grew up fine with a mama hen there to take care of them.

    The ideal situation would be to mimic the care of a mother hen as much as possible.

    Also, don't worry so much about the bedding getting soiled. Keep it clean but not sterile. Chicks need to be exposed to germs to develop strong immune systems.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: