Getting started

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by AlbertaChick, Jun 15, 2016.

  1. AlbertaChick

    AlbertaChick New Egg

    6
    0
    9
    Jun 15, 2016
    Hi all!
    Our very first day old chicks arrive next week, yay! But we've never owned a bird in our lives, soooo..... I've been researching like crazy but still have a few questions I can't seem to find an answer to! Quick background:
    We are getting 30 Rhode Island Red chicks. We live in central Alberta, so a few questions relate to climate. We're almost done our 10x12 coop, which is fully insulated. But here are my questions:
    1. In winter, how warm should the coop be for optimal egg laying? Will one infrared bulb be enough?
    2. I've read that chickens need sufficient light to lay well. We have short winter days. How many hours of light do they need and should I be leaving a light on a few extra hours to lengthen the 'day'? How much light for a 10x12 coop (was going to wire for one bulb, will that be enough?)
    3. Should feed and water always be kept in the coop, or in the run? (When it's not freezing temps). How many feeders/waterers for 30 chickens?

    Regarding brooding the chicks:
    I would love some advice from fellow cold climate people. We're at high altitude, so even if the days get to 20*C or more, the nights are still single digit (and often is that chilly at night throughout the summer). I was planning on keeping the chicks in an oval livestock trough for a week, in the house. But that won't hold them for long so I was wondering at what age can I put them in the coop with only an infrared heat lamp? I can section it off to keep them in a smaller space. I really don't want to put a space heater out there bc of fire hazard :I

    Any other tips or advice would be so wonderfully appreciated!
    Thanks :)
     
  2. Jucodeo

    Jucodeo The Sky is Falling!

    329
    52
    106
    Jun 15, 2016
    Hello and welcome to our forum. I will try to answer your questions based on my chickens needs and how I treat them in these circumstances. First in Winter this may sound shocking but you do not need a heat lamp. Many chicken owners and I know because I did this too dont want their chickens freezing. Well the truth is most chickens do not need a heat lamp. Us humans tend to ignore the fact that they are totally prepared. Unlike us chickens have feathers that are designed to get them through the winter. I would recommend not using one but if you still want to get one get one that is less radiant like a flat panel lamp. The only problem with heat lamps is MAJOR fire issue. You put a heat lamp in with dry chicken bedding and that is just a disaster waiting to strike. Of course if your chickens are laying chicks then they would be less likely to survive and a heat lamp would be needed. For your next question I would definitely recommend leaving the light on for a few hours after it gets dark. Light is not necessary for chickens but it is nice to have especially in winter. Lastly the appropriate amount of feeders and waterers for thirty chickens is 3 of each. This will sustain all thirty and will have some left over. So there you have it if you have any more questions related to this I would recommend going and posting your question to the Incubating and hatching eggs forum the link is https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/5/incubating-hatching-eggs so there you have it I my advice helped and welcome to BYC!
    Justin [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. ksmith2006

    ksmith2006 Just Hatched

    12
    1
    14
    Jun 16, 2016
    The most important factor in getting chicks off on the "right" foot nutritionally. I have been using an all natural nutritional supplement and performance enhancer called Avia Charge-2000 and Immuno Charge which is an all natural antibiotic. This starts the chicks out with all the vitamins, minerals, etc. that they need to start their lives off. I continue to use on a daily basis. Their health and welfare has never been better. Proper nutrition will also help alleviate stress which is a big factor that can negatively affect health and performance.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,401
    172
    143
    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    If by "coop" you mean the little house they sleep in, 10x12 is fine. If you mean the whole thing, pen, run, whatever you want to call it, 10x12 is waaaaay too small for 30 birds.
    Full grown chickens don't need a heat light, for many reasons.
    For layer lighting you need at least 14 hours. Most people use timers to turn the light on several hours before darkness then they turn off whatever time 14 hours after sunrise is. This is very important that the off & on cycle be consistant. i.e. you can't turn the light off @ 9 pm one day, then 7 pm one day, then 8.30 pm the next, then entirely forget about it the next day, then leave it on all night the next, etc etc.
    Hope this helps.
     
  5. AlbertaChick

    AlbertaChick New Egg

    6
    0
    9
    Jun 15, 2016

    Yes, the coop (house) is 10x12. We haven't got the run built yet but have paced out the area. It'll be roughly 700sq ft, but we have room to go bigger if that isn't enough?
    Thank you for the lighting information! I will get a timer in there come the fall.
    I'm sure there's a thread on this, but absent a heat lamp, what's the best way to keep the waterers from freezing in the winter?
     
  6. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,401
    172
    143
    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    Some folks use heated waterers or heat tape wrapped around regular waterers. Folks that see electricity in the pen as a fire hazard use those heavy rubber bowls like what you get at TSC and dump the block of ice out and refill it with warm water several times a day.
     
  7. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    7,783
    1,819
    421
    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop
    Just a super post which hits all the right points. Congrats!
    Karen
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
  8. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    7,783
    1,819
    421
    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop
    Hi,
    What breed do you have? Chanteclers?
    Best,
    Karen
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by