How early in the year can I start brooding chicks in southern MN?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by SouthernMNNewbie, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. SouthernMNNewbie

    SouthernMNNewbie Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 23, 2009
    Mapleton
    I'm planning on starting to raise chickens this coming Spring, and I'm wondering how early I will be safe starting them here in southern Minnesota. I have a small coop that I'm going to use to house layers and I have a barn, but I also have five always hungry barn cats.
     
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Where are you going to brood them? In the house, barn or coop?

    ETA: Keeping in mind that they are going to need to be kept really warm until they are feathered out. (mine took about 6 weeks)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 23, 2009
  3. SouthernMNNewbie

    SouthernMNNewbie Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm trying to decide between the water room in the barn and the coop. No electricity to either, so I'd need to run an extension to either.
     
  4. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm not experienced with your harsh winters, but I'd say as soon as you can heat the area you are going to brood to 90-95 degrees and make sure it doesn't have any drafts. (ventillation yes, drafts no) Then you can decrease it by 5 degrees each week. Just make sure they can get away from the heat if they want to. Mine never laid directly under the light, but around the edges of the light. If they are clumped in a pile, they are too cold. If they are panting, they are too hot.

    Also if your water room in your barn has concrete floors, that may not be a good idea. I've read that concrete can cause leg problems in chicks.

    My first chicks I got in late February and I brooded them in a dog crate in the garage. My second set of chicks hatched 10/24 and I brooded them in our well house (it's insulated and my husband didn't want them in the garage) until they were 6 weeks old, then I moved them to a small coop (not in with my older ones) with a heat lamp for a week, a 75 watt light bulb for a week, and no light/heat. It got below freezing last night, and they were fine at 8 weeks old. I will put them in with the older ones when they are bigger and can switch to adult feed.
     
  5. TK Poultry

    TK Poultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 25, 2009
    Greencastle, Indiana
    i say if you are going to do it in an outbuilding wait until it warms up but if you do it like i do and brood them in the house [​IMG] then do it when you feel your ready. I keep mine in the house for about three or four weeks then move them into the garage until about 6 or 7 weeks and then move them out to their designated run or coop. [​IMG]


    o and [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 23, 2009
  6. CARS

    CARS Chillin' With My Peeps

    My farm is in So. MN too. Not too far south where they act differently, but south Mn [​IMG]

    I wait till April to brood. Heat lamps take energy and I am not going to brood chicks in my house. Hatch, sure. But brood NEVER!

    Wait until mother nature starts to bud the trees. I haven't failed with that theory... yet.
     
  7. destiny_56085

    destiny_56085 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I also live in southern MN. Incubator is running full force here already. Chicks stay in the house here til they are about 4-6 weeks old. The first week they have a 250 watt heat lamp on them. The 2-3rd weeks they get bumped down to a 100 watt light bulb. By about 4 weeks they get a 40 or 60 watt bulb. The tiny babies have rubber maid tubs for each batch. The older birds get combined in huge tv or refrigerator boxes. Then they are ready for the garage pen. I have a couple of 250 watt heat lamps out there that they can go under. When its 30 below 0 outside, that garage is still darn cold. I wouldn't put anything out there in winter until its feathered out at least.

    I know not everyone wants to brood in the house. If you want birds old enough to lay for spring, birds mature enough for the show ring, or even birds to sell at the spring swaps then you almost have to. Look at the financial aspect of it too.... when everyone else wants to start in spring with their poultry, you'll have plenty of started stock available for sale. If you have purebred birds, that is when prices go through the roof. You get used to dusting alot! If you keep the brooder tubs cleaned on a daily basis then the smell is pretty much nill.
     
  8. SouthernMNNewbie

    SouthernMNNewbie Out Of The Brooder

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    Mapleton
    Thanks everyone! I won't brood in the house, I do my brooding in the garage [​IMG]. I guess I will have to wait until Spring and set up either the coop or the barn.

    That brings me to the next question. I'd like to have some hens laying right away in the Spring or early Summer . If I go to a swap/sale how am I sure to get healthy, true breeding hens?
     
  9. destiny_56085

    destiny_56085 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Buy from a reputable breeder.... Some hit the swaps on a regular basis. There are also several people you have to look out for. Some are known for bringing sick birds, some will try and pass off extremely old hens as layers, etc. There are a few people I'd have no qualms about bringing home a bird from them and not even worrying about quarantining it. There are more than a few that I can guarantee I'll have to load the bird up with antibiotics if I ever want it near my place. At least at a swap you have some control over checking the birds over and talking to the seller. If you go to an exotic sale like Jackson, you have no chance of knowing anything about it before bidding on it.
     
  10. SouthernMNNewbie

    SouthernMNNewbie Out Of The Brooder

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    How do I educate myself about which dealers are reputable?
     

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