1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Cold Brooding?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by MrsWeasley, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. MrsWeasley

    MrsWeasley Out Of The Brooder

    26
    0
    32
    Dec 26, 2012
    I'm getting my chicks in a month. I had planned on using a traditional brooder with a heat lamp, but I stumbled upon cold brooding. I'd love more information about it. What are the advantages other than lower energy costs? Where is the best information on how to do this? Thanks.
     
  2. lonicera23

    lonicera23 New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    May 23, 2013
    Hi; I'm interested in this for my ducklings. Did you ever find any more info on this/ end up trying it? It's still chilly where I live, esp. at night, although it's the end of May. But I'm tired of these sweet - stinky, messy - little gals in my kitchen... the best idea I saw so far was a box insulated with bubble foil insulation, acting as a hover brooder. I may put some jars filled with hot water under it, refilling them a few times a day.
     
  3. lonicera23

    lonicera23 New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    May 23, 2013
    Oh, forgot to add - at least with ducks, supposedly, the advantages are hardier birds that grow feathers faster.
     
  4. Megaputz

    Megaputz Out Of The Brooder

    51
    1
    38
    May 21, 2013
    Try it. They'll develop feathers faster but grow slower. In the end they sem to catch up fine.
    A 40watt equivalent compact florescent light is a nice touch too... a night light. So they have an idea where to cuddle and don't get as scared.

    Depending on temperatures they will be in. Ducks like to play in the water. If they are outdoors a small 75w IR light would be good so they can warm up or dry off. Or if they get caught out in the rain.
     
  5. Spice Glen Hens

    Spice Glen Hens Out Of The Brooder

    I would be careful, and keep them plenty warm at first.

    Chicks shut down and freeze in the cold. (Less than 90 degrees). They will chirp loud.
    Hard to ignore their plight. Cold.

    Maybe they can handle dropping to 80 degrees for week 2 but that is about as fast as a baby can survive the cold.
    A 18 watt compact Flourescent puts out too little heat in my opinion.
    You have to "Brood" them for a few weeks. That means keeping them warm.

    Spicy
     
  6. WildWestChick

    WildWestChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    530
    27
    108
    Mar 24, 2014
    Southwestern Utah
    I have been 'cold brooding' 4 chicks as an offgrid experiment in 40*-50* F. temps with fabulous results. If anyone has any questions I'll be happy to help out anyway I can! Even though this is an old thread lol! ;)
     
  7. Mini Meat

    Mini Meat Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would love to hear how you went about this. Always up for new info.
     
  8. WildWestChick

    WildWestChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    530
    27
    108
    Mar 24, 2014
    Southwestern Utah

    Hi Mini Meat! :)

    This experiment is still ongoing... The chicks are a little over 2 weeks old right now and still going strong. I had to try this as I live offgrid and don't have enough power to run a heat lamp all the time. But it has been working amazingly well for an experiment I didn't think would work (I was taught that chicks could not survive without a broody momma or a heat lamp) but I've sure shown that that isn't the case.
    I started out with a small cage about 1'x2'x1' then I added a draft barrier around it that was about 5" tall. The food and water is in the cage area (1'x1' area) and I made a 'mini coop' for them to warm up in that was also 1'x1'. The coop is a cardboard box lined with emergency space blanket foil, and then chopped straw was added until it was 1/2 full. There is also foil under the lid of the box that is attached at the top of the front of the box. And it drapes down to the back where it rests on the straw. There is a chick sized hole in the front of the box so they can come and go as they please.

    This setup is in an uninsulated workshop with a small wood burning stove that is lit at night to keep the temp around 40* F. Other than that there is no suppplemental heat. The chicks were maybe 2-3 days old when I got them, and with the 4 that I have (2 white crested black polish, cuckoo marans, Easter Egger) they cuddled to keep warm. So far they are at least 50% feathered out already, they are a tiny bit smaller than they would have been under a lamp. But from the research that I've done they should catch up in size once they get big enough to go outside.
    I hope that helps, if you have any more questions please ask! ;)
     
  9. Mini Meat

    Mini Meat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for the info, and good for you for giving it a go. What we are ALWAYS told is not ALWAYS in our best interest.

    I always wondered how chicks could survive a two day ship and THEN need a heat lamp.

    I may want to try this in the future. The foil is not something I had thought of... good Idea.

    How do you find their activity level under this system?
     
  10. WildWestChick

    WildWestChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    530
    27
    108
    Mar 24, 2014
    Southwestern Utah
    They seem to be about the same as heat lamp brooded chicks, but maybe just a little less skittish. They are pretty active though. I got 4 more chicks that are the same age yesterday...only they have been heat lamp brooded until now, they are only slightly bigger than my original chicks but it's barely noticeable. So, so far so good I guess! :)
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by