Housing for chicks???

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by sikesjj, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. sikesjj

    sikesjj Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 11, 2012
    Edmond, OK
    My husband surprised me with 15 chicks that are now about 1 1/2 weeks old. They have been living in my laundry room in a big rubbermaid tote, with food, water, and a heat lamp. I don't want them in my house anymore they are smelly. I have a metal storage shed, it doesn't have electricity and a simple wood floor that possibly something like mice or rats could get in. I was thinking a extension cord with a heat lamp may work. What do you think?

    If they must stay in my laundry room how long should they stay? How can I control the smell? Any other advice is greatly welcomed!!!!
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    There's no point in lecturing about getting chicks without a plan, so I won't.[​IMG]

    OK, yes, move them out. You're in OK, so unless the weather turns brutal, which isn't likely, the heat lamp, extension cord and outdoor shed is just fine, more than fine. I brood outside ALWAYS. (Photos and description on my BYC page). If you need to, you can even run a couple lamps, for additional warmth. You can also aim the lamp into a cardboard box, tipped onto it's side, making a little cardboard "cave".

    Move them out. Save your sanity.
  3. Chicken_Pauper

    Chicken_Pauper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2011
    Southern California
    Well... I kept chicks I bought in my rather large bathtub in the master bath -- with newspaper covered in hay, food, water, and a light for warmth.. (just a regular light bulb most of the time) for the five weeks it took for them to feather out. Then, moved them into a cage inside the run and coop for a few days to let them "eat with" the rest of the flock ... kept a light, or heat light on out there for them for a while, too.
    So.. do you have more than one bathroom and tub? [​IMG]

    Oh, really.. I get it... I was so ready to get them out of my bathtub with their mess by the end of the five weeks they were in there. It was worth it.

    If you look on Craig's list there can be people selling cages.. rabbit cages, chicken cages, etc.. or, how about a garage or barn? Is that sweet husband good at building things? And, there are chick brooders "fairly reasonably priced" on line... they are little pens with a light n the middle. I haven't ever ordered or used one, they come in several qualities and prices from what I have seen.

    Ask at the local feed store, they might be able to help as well.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
  4. Chicken_Pauper

    Chicken_Pauper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2011
    Southern California
    If these are your first chickens, chicks ever... Buy the book "Raising Chickens for Dummies".. great book, good info. on all subjects -- as well as use the Search here on BYC for all subjects. And, is hubby planning on building a coop and run for them? Or, do you already have other chickens and a coop, run, etc.? There is a book, I have not read.. "Chicken Coops, or Building Coops for Dummies" as well, for ideas and plans, I think?

    Mine didn't smell much... I know that newspaper alone can be too slippery for the little chicks feet/legs.. so.. I layered MANY layers of newspaper first.. then, put some hay (I used alfalfa hay) on top of it, leaving a space for the food and water.. and, then, I would go in daily, pull up a couple layers of the paper, hay, mess and all.. (moved the chicks into a pet carrier first)... put some fresh hay, clean water and food.. (water and food changed as often as needed or twice a day).

    There was little smell -- but, I didn't have 15 chicks and as they get bigger it will be worse, I am sure.

    If you can afford to buy a pre-built coop (and run), that would be good... if you can't afford that.. a brooder in the garage?
    I don't think a metal shed is the best idea... unless it's clean, empty, has a window or two with screen (ventilation), closes all the way (predator proof), and has electricity, is safe. And, even then, a brooder would still be good centered inside it, in my opinion.

    You have less than four weeks to go... until they are "feathered out".

    Best of luck.. they will be worth the trouble now.
  5. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    First off Welcome to the [​IMG]

    Second my suggestion would be to
    #1 Get a dependable Thermometer
    #2 Get a large #40lbs. bag of medicated chick feed
    #3 Get a bottle of liquid vitamins to drop in water container
    #4 Get some organic apple cider vinegar to drop in water
    #5 Go to an appliance store after measuring the shed and get the largest appliance box you can cut to 4 1/4' tall
    #6 Remember week 1 85* degrees week 2 80 degrees week 3 75 degrees and lower by 5 degrees until week 7
    #7 Remember they are babies and have baby stomachs. Feed them bland treats hard boiled eggs and bland foods
    #8 Make sure they have room to get out of heat and vent the shed like crazy.
    #9 Remember we are human and make mistakes and this is a learning experience.
    #10 Start on a brooder and sleeper now they will need it in less than 4 weeks and then where do you put them?
    #11 Have fun or what the point and love them and enjoy them

    [​IMG]and [​IMG]
  6. LittleFarmInWV

    LittleFarmInWV Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 30, 2011
    If you move them out to the shed I would definitely get a wire cage to keep the rats from getting them! Cages can be expensive and they will outgrow it quick so if you can't find a cage cheap enough just go to a farm/feed store and get a roll of wire mesh (about $15). Cut it into two strips and fold into thirds to fit together to make a box (A 12' roll would make a 2'X2' box and 24' roll would make 4'X4' box). Use zip ties to put it all together and set cardboard around the sides to keep the draft out. Hang the light above the cage and Voila! you have a draft-free and predator-proof brooder! I would recommend the wire not only for predator protection but also for fire protection. Hanging a light near cardboard can be a fire waiting to happen. The wire mesh acts as a protective barrier in case it falls. Good luck with your endeavors! Someone brought me a clutch of just hatched chicks on Halloween night and I had to keep them in the house. The only way I kept them from smelling up the house was to layer cardboard newspaper and shavings and change daily or every other day.
  7. sikesjj

    sikesjj Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 11, 2012
    Edmond, OK
    I have a small coop with a rooster and two hens now, I let them out everyday to roam around on our three acres. I do have two bathrooms but I have guests in and out, my two year old daughter, Jayla, and Beau my one year old son, so lots of activity. If they need to stay inside I guess I will deal with it, I don't want my son's respiratory issues to come back and I am really scared with the smell that it may. Any tricks to help with that as in bedding choices, cleaning stuff, or anything? I clean twice a day. I feel guilty for wanting to kick them out, they are predicting snow for next weekend! So any advice y'all can give is apperciated, I wasn't going to prep for chicks until April or May. I can't get mad at my hubby he knew I wanted some and wanted to surprise me, so I am keeping my complaints to myself. Thanks to everybody and this site has been a LIFESAVER!!!!!!!
  8. tec27

    tec27 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 6, 2011
    I kept my chickens inside until they were two months. I had them in a glass aquarium. To control the smell, i used pine shavings as bedding and changed it every couple days. I also used DE. I sprinkled some on the bottom of the aquariums. It controlled the smell very well. I barely noticed i had chickens.
  9. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Big difference in dust and smells between 4 or 5 chicks and 15 chicks.

    No garage or any other outbuilding of any kind? In a month, they'll be huge, in comparison, active, flying, jumping, running and will need to be somewhere. You are right to be concerned about your son's breathing problems.

    The dust chicks produce, especially 15 chicks, can be ungodly. The dust isn't just from the shavings, but from the skin and feathers of the growing birds. It is pretty astounding how much dander/dust 15 chicks can produce. I brood, outside, in an unheated garage or barn, in 20F weather with no problems. If you have a brooder box or make a one out of cardboard, they contain the heat pretty well and temperatures can be maintained at 80-85 even in 20 ambient temperatures. Here's a link to current thread about a brooder box that shows why this is so. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/624268/first-time-building-a-brooder

    On my BYC page, here, you'll see how I brood, out of the house, in 20 degree temps. https://www.backyardchickens.com/a...

    Be creative. Be inventive. Use the ideas you see on these links. Be safe with the heat lamp, but be inventive on rigging up a temporary brooder out in the shed. It can be done. String the heavy duty extension cord and move them out. I find yellow straw to be less dusty than wood shavings, but the dust and dander of the chicks cannot be eliminated.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  10. kittycooks

    kittycooks Chillin' With My Peeps

    I agree that you can move them outside with a brooder lamp or two. My last set of chicks I kept them outside in the coop during the day and brought them inside for the night, but I'm in Minnesota. Fifteen chicks will produce a fair amount of heat. Do you have a garage? You could always put them in an appliance box for the night. Have a brooder lamp in each spot. Do have wood shavings or straw on the floor for them. Chicks are very messy!

    Just watch their behaviors. If they huddle during the day they may be cold, but if they move away from the light they are just fine! Really!

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