Do I buy an all inclusive brooder or?

CoconutCoffee

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Oct 27, 2021
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I'm generally against "pre fab" housing. They look nice and seem like they'd be useful but usually aren't. The advertised dimensions are, at best, 7sqft of space and around 5sqft with the "layer (internal)" dimensions. That's not a lot for 20 chicks. The more space they can have the better off they are.
I think building a brooder would be the best choice. It'd be cheaper but with better materials. All they need is a heat source, draft free, safe from the elements, and predator proof.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
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Feb 2, 2009
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They give the internal dimensions of the brooder, the part where the chicks are, as L 35.8” x W 19.3” x H 15”. I would not try to keep 20 chicks in this until they are five weeks old. Their capacity chart shown below agrees.

I know this is getting a bit picky, but that "week" chart is a bit misleading if you are not careful how you read it. We typically don't say a chick is a week old until it is alive for a week. Their "Week 1" does not mean the chicks are a week old, it means they are in their first week. So where you see "Week 6" it means they are into their 6th week of life and are 5 weeks old. I agree with them, in most climates chicks will not need heat after they are 5 weeks old.

I don't think this brooder is for you.

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I could not find any ambient temperature requirements in that heat plate literature. If I were going to use this out of doors in freezing weather I would contact the manufacturer and see what they say about that.

I would not worry about the size of the heat plate taking up a lot of the brooder floor space. By the time they are a couple of days old they will be able to hop on top of the heat plate so no lost room. The bottom of the heat plate is the only part that is heated so they will be comfortable on top. Just expect to be cleaning poop off of the top of the heat plate.
 
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CoconutCoffee

Songster
Oct 27, 2021
251
465
121
Eastern NC
They give the internal dimensions of the brooder, the part where the chicks are, as L 35.8” x W 19.3” x H 15”. I would not try to keep 20 chicks in this until they are five weeks old. There capacity chart shown below agrees.

I know this is getting a bit picky, but that "week" chart is a bit misleading if you are not careful how you read it. We typically don't say a chick is a week old until it is alive for a week. Their "Week 1" does not mean the chicks are a week old, it means they are in their first week. So where you see "Week 6" it means they are into their 6th week of life and are 5 weeks old. I agree with them, in most climates chicks will not need heat after they are 5 weeks old.

I don't think this brooder is for you.

View attachment 2950004
I could not find any ambient temperature requirements in that heat plate literature. If I were going to use this out of doors in freezing weather I would contact the manufacturer and see what they say about that.

I would not worry about the size of the heat plate taking up a lot of the brooder floor space. By the time they are a couple of days old they will be able to hop on top of the heat plate so no lost room. The bottom of the heat plate is the only part that is heated so they will be comfortable on top. Just expect to be cleaning poop off of the top of the heat plate.
Agree, they'll be packed like sardines in 5sqft. When I first got chicks, I completely underestimated just how fast they grew and how active they are. Not to mention the poop. They're factories. I'm sure many owners can attest to that as well. Limited space will increase the likelihood of bullying too.
 

3KillerBs

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I was looking this up earlier for someone else:

Recommendations for space in the brooder vary from 1/2 square foot to 1 square foot per chick for the first 4 (or 6), weeks.
Then 1-2 square feet per chick for the next 4 (or 6), weeks.
Then about 2 square feet up to about 12 weeks.
Then, as they approach POL, the full 4 square feet like an adult.

Big is good -- as long as the chicks can find their food, their water, and their warm place. I divided my 4x8 brooder in half for the first week or two and found that the moment I let them into the full space they used it all.
 

jBabychickn

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Jul 19, 2021
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Soon to bee chicken owner here, So I have been thinking on what to get for a brooder, Do I get a fancy all included brooder? or do I buy bits and bobs by themselves? I'm worried that a hot plate+ wall+ feeder+ water is going to be as much as the fancy all inclusive brooder, but I have to accommodate around 20 chicks.

Any recommendations of set up? our garage, workshop is not insulated but has electricity and chicks would be here in april with temp averaging 57F - 27F at night
This is what I was comfortable doing, as a first time chicken owner. I wouldn’t have been comfortable doing it outside, especially in winter my first time. That’s just me.
Personally, I’d say: If you have a good building that’s enclosed like a garage with electricity, then your golden! — Get a doggie play pen and zip-tie Cardboard borders around it to keep drafts out, then set up a Heating plate that covers the amount of Chicks your buying… I’ll attach a pic of what I did. I set mine up in our She-shed.
 

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rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
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Jul 3, 2016
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Ok so this is the "all inclusive brooder" I have been checking,
brooder cage up to 23 at 5 weeks

I considered this hot plate that fit's up to 30 Hotplate up to 30 chicks If I do the outdoor thing.

I'm half way in my coop build (it needs one more weekend) and planing to finish the run around it before the chicks are home, I'm worried about the temperature since I'm in the mountains in high desert (when I say average I mean annually for April) so lows in the mid 20 at night and up to 70F in the warmest of the afternoon.
If you can run electricity to the coop for a heat plate/heating pad, that's what I'd do - cheaper than buying/building a brooder, and no need to acclimate the chicks to a new home outside. Especially if you're thinking around 20 chicks, they'll need a lot of space to expand as they grow faster than people expect.

That brooder cage is $325!! :eek:
 

Kurczaklover

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Dec 3, 2021
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My first brooders, an rubbermaid container nearly big enough to put a body in, and my 80 lb dogs kennel. The first I used until supplemental heat wasn't needed, then the first flock went into the coop about 7 weeks. Pictured is a heat lamp and it worked fine, I actually have a sticker thermometer I used on 6 gallon jugs that I put on the inside. The second batch of chicks was not as many and I put the modified dog kennel right under the hen house at the end of May in Florida and just kept an eye on night temps. My husband has accepted this will be a regular thing so now building a 3 x 12 3 foot tall addition along the front side for brooding, which can be divided into 3 for medical/timeout needs. The second picture is just because they were so adorable.
 

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