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Getting geared up for new chicks...need some help.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by missnu01, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. missnu01

    missnu01 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I need to fashion or acquire a brooder large enough for 50 chicks...I am hoping to put it outside simply because I can't think of anywhere in my house that I can put something large enough for 50 chicks...
    We have an outdoor cinder block building, with a garage and a couple of rooms downstairs, and upstairs is all open and is my present chicken coop..anyway there is a large potato bin also made out of cinder block inside one of the rooms, and I am thinking they might be able to brood in there...It would be safe, and I could keep it warm, but it probably won't be big enough for the whole time...15 of the birds are going to be separate from the others, so I guess I could put 15 in something and the other 35 somewhere else...I am not sure on the dimensions of the potato bin, but I feel like it is probably 4'x2' and probably 3 ft tall. so could the 35 fit in there and perhaps the other 15 in the largest rubbermaid I can find? I am just trying to get all my ducks in a row before I get my chickens...Lol. I am so excited and I need to do something to take my mind off the waiting, what better way then getting everything all ready? So..time to get building. Yay! I don't have any hardware mesh, so I will have to get some to build a lid for the potato bin, and I'll go tomorrow and get the bin all cleaned out and take some pictures so you guys can give me some advice...but I was wondering how much space I need for 50 chicks, or a split of 15 chicks and 35 chicks. They really need to be able to stay in these establishments until I can get a couple more coops built. I want to build at least one 8x8 that will be for the 15 birds we talked about earlier, but could I not use that as like an intermediate coop until all the chicks are around 8 weeks old and then I will put 35 of them into the big coop with the other chickens? I know the chicks will need heat until they are fully feathered so I would have to put something in there to warm them...Jeez. I didn't really think about what I would need for 50 chicks.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    This can get a little long so bear with me. The most I’ve done is 28 at a time and most of those were pullets. That makes a difference after they grow some. I kept those 28 in a 3’ x 5’ brooder until they were about 4 to 4-1/2 weeks old, then let them out. They were starting to get pretty crowded in that brooder. I’ve had 21 in there that were mostly cockerels and they were probably more crowded at the same age as the 28 mostly pullets.

    By the way, my brooder is in the coop from Day 1. I want to stay married so I don’t even think about brooding in the house. If you have room and heat out in some building, you can brood them there.

    I don’t know what your weather is like or will be like when you finish brooding them. In the heat of summer I’ve turned the daytime heat off at 2 days and the nighttime heat off at 5 days. That’s days, not weeks. In colder weather I’ve kept the day and night heat on for 5 weeks. There is no one magic number for this. It depends on your individual conditions. Until you get experience err on the side of caution, but after a while you’ll understand what they are telling you they need if you pay attention.

    I’d probably split them. With as bunch of chicks like that it is possible they could panic and pile up in a corner, hurting or killing the ones underneath. There is a difference in what can happen and what absolutely will each and every time. It is not guaranteed some will die because of this, but since they will be separated eventually, splitting them might be a reasonable precaution to take.

    I don’t think what you are talking about is going to be big enough even if you split them. What I think you need in a brooder is a good draft guard. You need to keep a breeze from hitting them directly. You also need good ventilation up high so they get good clean air. Ammonia is lighter than air so they need ventilation higher than their head so the ammonia from their poop can escape. Warm air also rises and carries more moisture than cooler air. You want that moisture to escape too. Again, you need ventilation higher than their heads.

    What you do not need is to keep the entire brooder one perfect temperature. A broody hen does not warm the entire world when she raises them. She provides a place they can go to warm up if they get cool. What you need is to provide heat in one area so they have a place to go to warm up. They will probably sleep near the heat too. But during the day, they will roam all over that brooder, including the cooler parts, going back to the heat to warm up when they need to. Many people would be surprised at how much time they spend in those cooler areas.

    By only providing heat in one small area, they can find their comfort zone. I don’t have to stress out if the temperature is a few degrees higher or lower than perfect. Also, I’m convinced they feather out faster and get acclimated to cooler weather much better if they are allowed to play in the cooler sections.

    However many you have in the brooder, they need to all be able to eat at the same time. Provide enough room at the feeders so they can do that. It is possible, again not an absolute certainty but a possibility, that a bully will keep the weaker ones away from the food. That’s part of the intimidation in setting up a pecking order. Giving space at the water is not as important, but they still need plenty of water.

    With your conditions you should be able to set up a brooder or two that will work. Draft protection, good ventilation, predator protection, heat at one end, and feed and water. It doesn’t have to be fancy.

    Good luck!!
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. missnu01

    missnu01 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you. I'm just going to have to look all around and see what I can manage. I also thought I might use a heating pad in one and a lamp in the other because I am going to split the chicks up. I mean they are going to live fairly separately other than when they are ranging about...So, no reason for them to be friends right off the bat. I am so excited! I can't wait. The bin that I am thinking of using is just like a dugout kind of thing that runs along the wall in the building, I'm just thinking that it would hold heat well, but also have really good ventilation since the whole top is open..I would have to put some screening over the top...I don't know, I've got to look. I have room for the number of chickens, but finding somewhere to put all the babies will be my issue.
     
  4. Oakieridge

    Oakieridge Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If all else fails we have been known to use big rubbermaid tubs with chicken wire over the top. Then we hang the heat lamp over that.
     

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