How does my brooder look?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by kirghizstan, Feb 23, 2015.

  1. kirghizstan

    kirghizstan Out Of The Brooder

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    My local TSC's are getting chicks this week so this first timer had to put together a brooder. THey are going to have to be in for awhile because here in massachusetts it is freezing and 3 feet of snow on the ground.

    Is there anything you think i need to change here. I'm using a 75 watt bulb that i tested and the inside got to 95degrees. I'm going to put a dimmer on it to lower it as the weeks move one. I will use newspaper for the first week then switch to pine shavings. have the organic chick starter feed ready.

    If they arrive tomorrow I will probably be buying them so any last minute changes I need to make will be greatly appreciated.

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for your help
     
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    My only advice is to use paper towels instead of newspaper. Newspaper and slippery and won't give them traction, and as such they could develop splayed legs. Otherwise, looking good!
     
  3. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ditto on paper towels for the first few days. Also, temps can get really hot in plastic brooders so keep a close eye on the temperature. Temp under the light should be around 90 the first week, but on the far side of the brooder it should be cooler (80-85).

    They will grow very fast. By the time they're 2 weeks old, allow at least 1 square foot of space per bird. By 3 to 4 weeks old, they'll need at least 2 square feet of space per bird. To provide enough space, I can only use a plastic tote for 1 to 2 weeks before having to switch to a large cardboard box.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  4. kirghizstan

    kirghizstan Out Of The Brooder

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    I guess the size requirements make sense but why do so many people show brooding chicks in smaller tubs than what I have.

    So if I'm understanding correctly, after a few weeks 6 chicks are going to need a 3x4 space if they are going to stay in a brooding space at least 8 weeks
     
  5. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    You see nothing but brooders such as the one you've shown us because most people don't know any better, and since "most people" do it, it must be terrific, huh?

    I had already raised two batches of chicks in a conventional "box on the floor" and I was at a loss as to why my chicks were running, screeching away from my hands every time I wanted to pick them up. Everyday it became worse.

    I had just joined BYC at the time, and I stumbled onto a thread where everyone was talking about their chicks running away afraid. A lightbulb went on in my head, and I thought, could it be that we're all thrusting our hands down into a box of chicks like we were predators of some sort?

    And that was it! I made another trip out to the stores, and checked the dumpsters out back of a rent-to-own appliance store and dragged home a couple large cardboard boxes.

    I had a lot of fun cutting windows and doors into it, the windows I covered in see-through plastic, and the door on the side, I left cardboard at the bottom to act as a hinge. I fastened it at the top with a popsicle stick screwed into the side.

    Then I installed my new babies. What a transformation! They were calm, friendly and tame and trusting. They could see I was me and not a scary predator attached to some scary hands. After that, I always placed my cardboard brooders on a table and accessed them from the side. I have the tamest flock of chickens in the entire state, I'd wager.

    I line the bottom with heavy plastic, and I plan on using puppy pads during the first few days in May when I get more new chicks. It holds up better than paper towels and they can't eat it, like they do paper towels. I always folded up my brooder boxes and reused them the next time I got chicks, but they're cheap enough you can toss them when you're done.

    I got a double batch of chicks some years back, and I just went out and got another box, taped it onto the old one, cut a pass-through into the common wall, and instantly had a two-room chick condo! I cut holes near the top and slipped a stick through and hung the water bottle from it so there were no more spills and no wood shavings in the water from then on.

    The thing I like best, besides tame chicks, about side-access brooders, is I can sit in a chair and play with the chicks or clean the brooder without it killing my back.

    So, your choice. Stick with what "everybody" does, or do it right!
     
  6. kirghizstan

    kirghizstan Out Of The Brooder

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    I never said i would do what everyone else did, I was just confused and wanted to make sure I understood correctly. Thanks for your input
     
  7. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, especially by the time they get to 5 or 6 weeks old, as they will be very active and trying to test their wings. You could get away with something smaller (and many people do), but it tends to increase stress among the flock when they're constantly running or flying into each other.

    Take it one step at a time. As they grow, you'll probably know when they need more room. That was my approach. The chicks would be fine one day, and the next I'd be saying, "Gee, we've got to expand the brooder to give them more room! They're driving each other crazy!"
     
  8. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That looks more like a chicken oven than a chicken brooder. I use about the same size tote but with a regular 60w house bulb about 6" from the floor in my light. I don't try to heat my whole brooder and have never put a thermometer in a brooder. The chicks go to the cold end to eat & drink and scratch around and when they get cold they go huddle under the light to warm up. Kinda like what a chick does in real life with a hen.
    I only keep them in it for about 3-4 days after they come out of the incubator so I can make sure they are thriving then it's outside to a wire brooder cage.
    I don't like stinkin chickens and the filth they generate in my house.
     
  9. kirghizstan

    kirghizstan Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 19, 2014
    Mass, USA
    it has a 75watt bulb in there. I put a thermometer in there and let it sit and only got up to 95 degrees directly below the center of the light.

    with it negative 14 this morning and a few feet of snow on the ground, outside isn't possible
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  10. KensingtonHens

    KensingtonHens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is what I'm thinking as far as moving them quickly out of the house and into they're cop / run. I figure I can run an extension cord and hang the red heat lamp, it only gets to about 50 at night and up to the mid 70's in the day. Ive read so much conflicting advice.
     

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