Do I need a brooder?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by rmelvin23, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. rmelvin23

    rmelvin23 In the Brooder

    Jun 22, 2009
    I live in orlando and the overnight temps have been in the upper 70's to low 80's. I have a batch of cornish x coming in two weeks. Do I need to have them in a brooder, or can I have them in a seperate part of my chicken yard without a light source. I would like the old ladies to get used to the new girls so that when the size difference is not so great the transition will not be so much fuss. I have also heard of people building essentially a tomato ring for their little ones to go to when they are getting picked on.The size of the fencing will allow the babies to get away from larger hens. What age would you think that this is possible?
    One more question. I want to free range my cornish x. At what age will they associate the coop with sleep and put themselves to bed? Thanks.
  2. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

    Jul 17, 2009
    The chicks need to be kept at 100 degrees for the first week, 95 for the second, etc. So, they will need a light source. You should make sure they can get away from the heat, if they need to.

    I would keep them seperate until they are comparable size, and then maybe free range the flocks together...just so they can meet up & make friends.
  3. JMPE

    JMPE Songster

    Aug 1, 2009
    Western Wisconsin
    You will want to provide extra heat and shelter for you chicks until they feather out. Once they can maintain their body temp, you can have them out but separate from the others until the size difference equals out. Then start with free ranging them together and watch their interaction. My brooder is a XL plastic tub with a wire mesh lid. Creating a brooder is cheap and easy. Just make sure the chicks can warm up and cool down as needed and that it's easy to clean.
  4. rmelvin23

    rmelvin23 In the Brooder

    Jun 22, 2009
    thank you
  5. lowillobe

    lowillobe In the Brooder

    Jun 8, 2008
    Yup, the chicks need warmth at night.
    We use paper towels on the bottom for easy clean up. If they are gonna be outside make sure they are secure. Bc it is surprising how many things like to eat chicks.
    Also, make sure the water is shallow so they don't drown.
    I would put them outside after they feather or are the big enough so predators don't get them.

    GOOD LUCK they will be sooo much fun and soooo worth it.
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I am having excellent luck with freeranging my now 7 week old chicks - 13 layers, 18 meaties - with my adult birds. When the adult birds encounter a chick they choose to completely ignore them. Either the adults are hoping if they ignore them the chicks will simply disappear or it's a result of my adult flock being all brahmas and they're a pretty laid back anyhow.
  7. OliviaDeHav

    OliviaDeHav Chirping

    Jul 21, 2010
    I think that the temps I've seen people say chicks need is WAY too high! I tried so hard with my first batch to keep it at 95 degrees and the poor things were panting and too hot!! Mine liked right around 88 degrees. They are 3 weeks old now and i don't have ANY light or heat during the day, just at night and the lamp is WAY up away from them. I have 3 who are 6 weeks old now and they were the same way. I stopped lights altogether for them around 4 weeks. You have to go by your chickies [​IMG] I've also read not to have ANY drafts until they get all their feathers.... what did baby chicks do on the farm??? stay in until they are 7 weeks old?
    Also, i tried to introduce my little ones to the bigger girls. The first day they were fine, the second day.... it did not go very well. I say follow your instincts. My hubby has a lot of really old farming books, living off the land etc... and in the old days the chickens and their chicks were just in the barn with the other animals. Farmers did not have special boxes, lights etc... Yes they had mom to keep them warm at night, but in the winter, chickens fed off maggots in the cow poo, and whatever the cows and horses etc... spilled. I'm not saying go that far... i spoil my girls and baby them, but I guess what i am saying is raising animals seems to have gotten WAY too complicated and it does not need to be.
    I'd have a brooder/box for them, but watch the light/heat....introduce the girls with the penned off area you mentioned, that might work well. I am going to work on mine getting to know each other... good luck and update at some point and let us all know how it went and what you did...
  8. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Songster

    Oct 31, 2008
    My two week olds are perfectly happy and the thermometer is reading 80. I think drafts are much more dangerous. Can you keep them outside and yet draft-free? Mine are in a very big box to keep drafts off.
  9. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Just to bring up a point, direct sunlight can be a threat to tiny chicks that only have down and no feathers to insulate them from the radiant heat. So being outside, even though the air temperature is within range for them, absorbing too much heat from direct exposure to sunlight can drive their body temperatures beyond a safe limit.

    When you do introduce the babies to the outdoors, shade is an important consideration.

    And I agree that the temperature guidelines are just guidelines. Chicks will let you know when they're too warm or too cool.

    Just as an example of that, last night I had a power outage at midnight. I didn't know how long the power would be out so I filled several plastic bottles with hot water and placed them in the brooder around my two-week olds. As I was bringing the fifth and sixth water bottles in, I noticed one chick had hopped out of the little "fort" of water bottles, panting with her beak wide open. She was telling me that I was over-doing it, and maybe I had put too many hot water bottles in there.

    These chicks of mine like it between 80 and 85 degrees. The "guidelines" call for 90 degrees at their age, but that appears to be too hot for their comfort.
  10. OliviaDeHav

    OliviaDeHav Chirping

    Jul 21, 2010
    Maybe my really deep brooder is the reason they can have cooler temps...... no draft what-so-ever in there. And we just started to take them outside this week and they are the ripe old age of 3 weeks....

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