Coop Brooding vs Indoor

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by TabbyKat70, Mar 14, 2016.

  1. TabbyKat70

    TabbyKat70 Out Of The Brooder

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    Will be a first time chick mom come the end of May. I've been studying BYC every day!!!! Read an excellent article about brooding babies in the coop rather than in indoor brooders and I think I am going to go that route. I understand that they will still need to be confined to a smaller area within the coop and will still need an additional heat source, but I just wanted to ask the veterans who have brooded babies both ways to share pro's and con's of each and their preferences, ideas, etc. Thanks!
     
  2. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    :welcome

    I'm going to definitely vote outdoor brooding. Young growing chickens produce a TON of dust. One of many newbie mistakes I made when I first got chicks in 2009 was brooding them in the basement. The chicks did great, but the dust they're capable of producing can threaten your sanity, LOL.

    I just got some hatchery chicks Friday, and I have them set up in a stock tank up against the house, under the deck. The overnight lows have been in the low 50s. I have the front wrapped in a heavy blanket for insulation, and another blanket covering the top during the night, and part of the top during the day. With the heat lamp in there, it's nice and toasty for them, and there's no dust or noise in the house. And there is also a homemade custom-fit hardware cloth lid for the tank as well, to keep predators, particularly the barn cats, out.

    The main concerns with brooding them outside is keeping them warm enough, and keeping them safe from predators. Pros of course is no dust or noise or smell in the house. I also like that my brooder happens to be close to the garden hose, so I'm not tempted to use a sink for refilling their water. I also like that when they're about 5 weeks old I can easily start getting them accustomed to the overnight lows (assuming the temps are reasonable of course) and then can move them into the chicken tractor, so they can learn to eat greens and bugs from a young age. By keeping them on the cool end of their comfort range, they feather in faster, and so can be moved onto pasture in the chicken tractor sooner. The sooner they can get out on pasture, the better foragers they'll be as adults. Indoor-brooded chicks are more pampered temperature-wise in comparison.

    Pros of brooding indoors is that you can get chicks year round. I would hesitate for example to brood November-February hatched chicks outdoors, just because it could be difficult to keep them warm enough. Cons of brooding indoors include the dust (this is a biggie, the amount of thick heavy dust they can produce is insane, at a minimum you'll want to cover an indoor brooder with a sheet) and the noise and smell.

    Your climate is very similar to mine, so late May chicks should be quite easy to keep nice and warm, even in an outdoor brooder, so long as it is free of drafts. Just keep them warm, safe from predators, and like you say, confine them at first so they're never too far from heat, food, and water, and they should do great for you. :)

    .
     
  3. TabbyKat70

    TabbyKat70 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you so much! Very helpful!!
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    There are two articles I know of on outdoor brooding. Blooie's and mine. We've both done it both ways, and we both are huge fans of doing it outdoors now for a variety of reasons.

    While Blooie focuses on utilitarian benefits, I focus on benefits to the chicks' development such as learning and being able to cope better with the social order due to being raised in close proximity to the adult flock, as well as physical advantages such as immune system augmentation and early cold hardiness.

    My article is linked below. And here's Blooie's. https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/yes-you-certainly-can-brood-chicks-outdoors
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2016
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  5. TabbyKat70

    TabbyKat70 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you Azygous! Your article was actually the one that got me interested in outdoor brooding! I kind of feel like I am talking to a legend!! LOL
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2016
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    You just made my day! Thank you!
     
  7. Funfarmer

    Funfarmer New Egg

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    I bought a beautiful divided coop in DEC 2015 from a guy named Lawrence Kudlik in Massachusetts. I requested a partition and safe heat fixture. I'm raising my chicks in one side and put them on the other side once they are older. In my opinion, If your coop has a separate heated area, it's nice to have them in their home as they grow.
     
  8. shawn54

    shawn54 Out Of The Brooder

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    I brood my boys turkey and meat birds for 4-H in a 4x4 wooden box outside with a heat lamp door open in the day and closed at night when we get turkeys nighttime low can be in the 20s and they don't have trouble.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2016
  9. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, I too also believe that outdoor-brooded chicks are hardier, smarter, and develop better chicken instincts and thriftiness than indoor-raised chicks. Just my opinion.

    I also like to start mine on greens and bugs - in addition to the free-choice chick starter - as early as possible. It makes them less reliant on the feeder as adults. There are no grasshoppers or crickets here yet, but there is lots of young tender clover that I've been offering them each day. They mostly ignored it Friday, but have become more and more interested in it each day, to the point where most of them each had some today, at 8 days old.
     
  10. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Outdoor brooding: They are acclimated to outdoor conditions from day one. They have more brooding space available to them. They get to act like chickens. They are not crowded into a tiny little space that is apt to overheat. If you brood them with a heat pad instead of a heat lamp, they have natural day/night rhythms. You are more apt to get them into an outdoor run at an earlier age, which helps them develop their immune system.

    Indoor brooding: IMO, it's helpful to get them started under your watchful eye... for the first 24 - 48 hours. Otherwise: Indoor brooding brings with it: dander and bedding dust which is hard on human lungs, it coats your entire home with a fine layer of oily silt. Chicks are noisy. Children and pets can unintentionally harm little chicks. It doesn't take long for chicks in a tiny brooder to start stinking. It's very easy to overheat chicks in an indoor brooder. You have to acclimate them to the coop. Chickens don't like change! If you're using a heat lamp to brood chicks, IMO, it's no safer to use it in the house than it is to use it in the coop. If you're going to introduce a fire risk, better to do so outside your home. (Did I mention that I am a fan of heat pad brooding????????!!!!!!!!!)
     
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