Discussion: Where do you put your brooder, and why?

BigBlueHen53

Fragile, Beautiful, Strong
Premium member
Mar 5, 2019
3,531
11,116
597
SE Missouri, USA
We had a good-sized existing coop with not many hens, when we ordered 24 baby chicks last spring. Three did not survive. We brooded the survivors is our well house in a brooder with a heat lamp. It worked out well. There came a time when we needed to move them outside so we put up a grow-out pen adjacent to the older girls' pen where they could "see but not touch" each other. It was made of panels of chain-link fencing and was originally a dog kennel, but worked great. We also got a kind of plastic storage shed for theor coop.

They no longer needed heat by this time but we left them a little night-light. Their food was separate, no layer food for them! We provided grit in a separate dish.

After a month I combined their food with the big girls' all flock and there was also oyster shell in adddition to the grit although they were a month away from laying yet. I left the gate open between the two pens. It took several days before they realized they could explore each other's digs, but there were no problems, they integrated just fine. And now I have one big flock, so yahoo!
 

rosemarythyme

Free Ranging
Jul 3, 2016
6,178
11,524
642
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
First batch I brooded indoors, in a bathtub in a spare bath... never again! The dander went up the walls as far as 6'.

Second batch I brooded outdoors, in the run alongside the hens. They were off heat sooner and very active, with much less mess and stress to us. The beauty of this is this they naturally integrated in with the rest of the flock within weeks. Here's my brooder setup: https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/short-on-time-recycle-a-prefab-brooder.73985/ obviously you can skip the part on integration if you have no other birds.
 

Deebot

Chirping
Aug 10, 2019
39
98
69
Vancouver, WA
The birds were got in April, spent 15 weeks in our Living Room. We built the Brooder below from Lumnah Acres, with one change. The Hardware Cloth, kept the Kittens out, but the addition of Fine Mesh Window Screening, kept the Dust to near Zero! Dust seems to be the biggest complaint of Indoor Brooding. We lined the carpet with a Water Proof Tarp and set the brooder on top. 4" of Pine Shavings and 2 Cups of Sweet PDZ, Horse Stall Deoderizer, with daily turning and Bi-weekly replacement, kept the smell down as well...JJ


This Brooder can be Set up and Taken down and stored in minutes...
Very nice setup! Curious, how many chicks did you have in there with a brooder that size?
 

Chef JimmyJ

Songster
Oct 17, 2015
252
731
191
The Mountains of EMPORIUM, PA
S
Very nice setup! Curious, how many chicks did you have in there with a brooder that size?
Started with 10 but one died very young. So 9...5 Jersey Giants and 4 Gold Laced Wyandottes. They were there 15 weeks because the coop was not finished. These are pretty large birds, 5 pounds, at 15 weeks. There was the usual Pecking order disputes with a reminder as to Who eats First, etc. But there was no major fighting...JJ
 

juls_farm

Chirping
Aug 12, 2019
9
55
54
Montague, NJ
For my first batch last year, I used a small bathroom with shower stall. It was great for temperature control, but the cleanup afterwards was insane (everything was coated with dust). I moved the chicks to a make-shift brooder in our garage afterwards.
This year I am setting up a brooder (for my new keets that arrive this Wed) in a spare coop.
 

Compost King

Free Ranging
Apr 19, 2018
2,419
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Salisbury, North Carolina
I have multiple brooders, and I brood in 3 stages (but have more than 3 brooders when breed segregation is needed) The first 3 weeks is inside next to the incubator. I really only need them inside for the first week so I can observe them the first week to look for problems that need to be corrected. weeks 3 to 6 they go a large outside brooder on my deck. this is the one where they get to grow out and exercise in. Cockerels often spar off and they have pecking order competitions. they even have room to fly and a roosting bar to fly to (because its a former Serama cage) however rarely do the use the vertical over head space. from week 6 and beyond they go to a small brooder in the Juvenile bird coop where I keep birds until they are ready to join a specific flock. They can be seen and heard by the juvenile chickens and anywhere from 1 day to 3 weeks they can be in that brooder depending on circumstances. Most are out with in the first week. However if the the Juvenile Bird coop is crowded and I have very few birds in the Integration brooder I keep them in longer due to the odds of being picked on increases greatly.

IMG_1916.JPG
Integration Brooder, in this example some of the older chicks are smaller than the chicks in the brooder. Those larger chicks are a meat bird I created using Dorking's and Red Rangers. The 2 larger chicks on the outside were supposed to be in their flock but they kept breaking confinement to go back to the Juvenile coop. I highly recommend integration brooders in the coop if you add chicks to your flock frequently.
 

TwoShepherds

Crowing
Apr 4, 2019
513
2,734
287
Southeast TN
I put the brooder in our attached garage where I had room to expand the brooder as the chicks got bigger (they grow SO fast!) and where the mess wouldn't be as much of a problem. They had stopped using the heat plate around week 4 (it's warm fairly early here), so I moved them out to the coop just as soon as it was delievered and I had finished the floors.
 

ValerieJ

Enabler
Premium member
Jul 24, 2016
7,321
41,578
1,127
Washington State
Yes, my boyfriend was trying to convince me to keep them in a small room in the middle of the house, or a small bathroom. I am thinking a small, insulated room in the garage that is just steps from the house, because of the dust and smell like you mention! I mean, they are gonna be our pets, but they are still barn animals/livestock! :lol: And good to know about the coop. Maybe we'll start on that this week and order the chicks next week if we've made good progress.
That's what I do. I have a room in my garage with a heater, and then I use a heat lamp as well. I start them for about a week in a large tote as it is more insulated. Then I move them to a dog crate with wood siding around the bottom 1/4 of the cage, and still use the lamp. My hubby makes the wood panels for me. I do this so I can set them in a window and they can see out once their big enough to see over the wood, and because they have natural sunlight in the daytime. I keep a thermometer in the brooder to maintain proper heat in one side of it and allow it to be cooler in the other side. It will be fun watching your progress! Good luck!
 
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