Garage kittens and chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by katvdh, Nov 11, 2015.

  1. katvdh

    katvdh New Egg

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    Hello all!

    I'm a long time reader, but just joined BYC. Very excited to be here as you all have been a huge source of information for me!

    We have two 6 month old kittens who we are moving into the garage to be "barn" cats (our barn is too far away for the kittens to live in, but the garage will serve the purpose. Tomorrow, we have 46 chicks arriving, and we're planning on setting their brooder up in the garage. Now, their brooder is as predator proof as we can make it (it's basically a 4' x 8' box 100% lined in 1/2" hardware cloth) so the kittens won't be able to touch them, but they can certainly look and jump on the brooder. I'm concerned that the chicks will have heart attacks just from being near the kittens. Is this possible? Am I overthinking this? We can keep the kittens indoors for a few more days, but I'm wondering if it's better for the chicks for the kittens to be the norm, or to introduce them after the chicks have a chance to settle in.

    Would love any feedback!

    Thanks all from "sunny" (not at all) Helvetia, Oregon
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    It's highly possible that the cats will send the chicks into a panic, and they'll stampede into a pig pile in the corner, smothering the ones that get packed into the corner first. Also, if you're using a heat lamp, is it going to be inside the brooder or shining through the hardware cloth? If it's outside the brooder, cats, in an effort to get the chicks could cause fire risk if the heat lamp is not absolutely secured in a way that there's no way it could be knocked down or against something. I'd not risk having chicks alone with any other animals, no matter how secure the brooder is.
     
  3. katvdh

    katvdh New Egg

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    Hi,
    Thanks for replying and your advice. The lights will be inside the brooder and secured via chain to the top bar (which is still under the hardware cloth). Alternatively, we can have the brooder outside with 3 heat lamps and wood shavings on the bottom. Do you think that would be warm enough for them? It'll get down to the high 30's.

    Cheers,
    Kat
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Kat, sorry you've gone to the expense of a heat lamp. I'd recommend that you move them outside after the first few days for a bunch of reasons. But, you've gotta be sure that the cage they are in is covered with 1/2" hardware cloth. Otherwise, they are predator snacks. If it's in your budget, I recommend that you scrap the heat lamp idea and move to this method: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/yes-you-certainly-can-brood-chicks-outdoors. Those of us who've tried this method swear that we will never go back to the heat lamp! But, for 46 chicks, you might need to use 2 x- large pads. Is your brooder big enough? You're gonna need 1 s.f./chick before they are weaned. Is your coop ready and available? If so, and you have electricity available, you could put them right in there. (assuming there are no full sized chickens in there now)
     
  5. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    In deciding where you wish to brood your chicks, you need to have a solid understanding of their heat requirements. Try to get it out of your head that the entire brooding environment must be of a uniform temperature. The reality is quite the opposite.

    Even with 46 chicks, three heat lamps would be excessive and unnecessary, even detrimental to the health and well being of your chicks. Try to think of your chicks as little campers on a camp-out. They only need one heat source to warm up under when they begin to chill. They will not spend all their time under the heat.

    If you have a brooder that's as small as you've planned, 46 chicks will have a hard time finding cool spots in which to cool down as they become over-heated. Be aware that having no feathers, just thin down, makes it impossible to insulate against excessive heat as well as cold.

    Regardless of the heat source you use, it's absolutely essential that your chicks have enough space to move in and out of the heat zone you provide, or you will risk losing some to over-heating and over-crowding. A 4 x 8 brooder may be sufficient for a dozen chicks, but not 46.

    If you have a coop available, it would be foolish to disregard it as a brooding space for such a large number of chicks. It really is irrelevant that the temperature may get down into the cool range, or even into the freezing range. Your chicks will seek out the heat zone as they need it, and they will spend the rest of their time running around exploring the world.

    But do give the heating pad system of brooding a serious look. I'm one of the converts to this system who will never, ever go back to using heat lamps to warm chicks.
     
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  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    An other advantage of using the heating pad, and brooding outside in the coop is that you don't have to ever, and I mean EVER worry about hardening your chicks off to outside temps, b/c they'll be hardened off right from day 1 just as if they had a mama broody hen. No inside stink, no dander: which would be an issue even in your garage. Imagine blowing lint from your dryer through a fan that also dispensed atomized oil. That's what chick dander is like. It forms a fine silt over EVERYTHING.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2015

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