How long will 3 chicks last in this before I need to move them?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by WhySayWhat, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. WhySayWhat

    WhySayWhat Chillin' With My Peeps

    523
    0
    119
    Nov 5, 2010
    Spokane
    [​IMG]

    It is a 45-Gallon plastic tote that I plan on turning into a brooder for my soon to be had pets. We went and priced hardware cloth at the Lowe's near our house (a block & a half down the street) and found a 2' by 25' roll for about $30. From the roll, I plan on making a "vent" on half of the lid for ventilation and a light (brooder fixture is $8.99 at the local feed store and the bulb is $6.99). The green handles fold up from the base to "lock" the lid in place, a nice feature since the brooder will share the space that we currently use for our cats' food and potty box. Also, one side has wheels on the bottom so it will be easy to move around by myself. None of this besides the size of the tote is useful in deciding how much space is there, but thought I'd add it so someone doesn't think I'm leaving it "as-is" for the chicks. [​IMG]

    The plan as of right now is to be at the feed store on Feb. 1st when they start taking orders for the chicks they will start getting in mid-March (I was hoping they would have them in-store mid-Feb so I could go get them while my nephew is here to enjoy the experience). I know I want 3 (max. # I can have in the city...), along with the "types" I want for the most part (EE, though the feed store says they're Araucana's, for sure...maybe a RIR, and either a BO, BR, SLW, or a sex-link, they have both Golden & Black).

    So, how long can 3 chicks spend in my "extra large for a small flock" brooder? My hope is that they can stay in this until they are big enough to go out to the coop (which is currently a shed awaiting remodel once the snow subsides).

    After they are big enough to go outside, more remodelling on the shed/coop will take place. We don't yet have a "set in stone" plan for the run, mostly because I was the only one planning all of this until we had a talk today about supporting our partner in stuff they want to do instead of standing in the way ( [​IMG] ). A 50' roll of 2"x4" welded wire fencing is $45 here, and hopefully enough to make a decent sized run for 3 hens (they'll also install it for an additional $5 (I'm guessing per foot), 5'x10' run, plenty big enough, lol. The pop door will go in before the run does, but I will lock it up tight until the run is built. Until then, I have a dog training pen (8-10 2' panels all attached together) that I plan to use while I'm out in the yard with the gals. All of the future accomodations for our 3 hens seem oversized for the number, but I just can't afford the $1600 coop at the feed store right now, so they will have to use what I already have here, an underused shed that is roughly 6' by 10'!
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    A month, maybe a week longer. By 6 weeks they'll fly right out. [​IMG]
     
  3. WhySayWhat

    WhySayWhat Chillin' With My Peeps

    523
    0
    119
    Nov 5, 2010
    Spokane
    With the lid on?!? [​IMG] They should be feathered enough by then to go out with the heat lamp I would guess...I read somewhere that most breeds are feathered by 4 weeks (though I have read many more places that it takes MUCH longer than that!

    Got my SO convinced to help rather than hinder my endevour, so getting his electrician buddy over to wire up the shed for a light or two and plug ins for things like my security camera (another "to buy" item on my list) should be a breeze. [​IMG]
     
  4. moonlyghtegirl

    moonlyghtegirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    368
    0
    129
    Feb 16, 2009
    I never keep the original lid on. I always use screen or hardware cloth. I give you 2 weeks to a month at most. I usually have six at a time and move them to larger accommodations after two weeks.
     
  5. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    They can LIVE in there for the 8 weeks brooding cycle, but you will need to do one of two things:

    Put a wire lid on it to keep them in, 'cause they'll start to hop and fly out within 3 weeks or maybe less.

    Or, do as I do, keep the brooder in the bathroom and LET them exercise and explore. It's only a bathroom and it's easy to clean up. I cheer mine on when I find the chicks perched on the edge of the brooder.

    And that's plenty big for 3 chicks. I have one just like it.
     
  6. WhySayWhat

    WhySayWhat Chillin' With My Peeps

    523
    0
    119
    Nov 5, 2010
    Spokane
    As far as the lid goes, I've been debating it. Originally, the plan was to make a good brooder that could be sold after we were done with it (since we can only have 3 birds at a time within our city limits). To that extent, I was going to make half of the lid a cut-out with hardware cloth ontop. The newest idea/plan, is to construct a fully wire lid and then save this lid for after they are out to use the tote to house the feed and such out in the coop with them. The coop itself is gigantic for only 3 hens, it is approximately 6' by 10' as it is an under used shed that came with the house when we bought it (there's a pic of it on my page, along with my current "to-do" list and finds as I ramble on about them). It has it's own issues with being a "sound stucture" that I discovered when I went out to get interior pictures so I could better plan a while back. Including a leak in the second story that will need to be fixed prior to any repurposing construction that will be happening.

    I may stay with the cutout lid idea for the brooder and just buy another tote, they're about $15 at Wal-Mart right now. I really like the idea of a locking lid, since I need a safe way to keep my cats (12 & 18 pounds) from being able to get at them while they reside inside.
     
  7. WhySayWhat

    WhySayWhat Chillin' With My Peeps

    523
    0
    119
    Nov 5, 2010
    Spokane
    gryeys...Thanks! I do plan on keeping a lid on at all times (save cleaning/feeding/etc...) as they will have to share the same space my 2 cats use, I am NOT buying chicks to use as cat food! [​IMG] The bathroom is also a good idea, but our bathrooms are not the greatest for that purpose. The main bathroom is completely inside the house (no exterior walls) but has a vent... The matser bathroom is way too small, the brodder wouldn't fit in there (but it does have an exterior wall/window for fresh air. The other option is the laundry room, which houses a toilet, the washer/dryer, AND our heating system (hot water heater, gas furnace, etc...)! It has a window though, lol.

    If they need more room, I can always cut out the base of a 5-gallon bucket and connect a second tote well, lol. Gorilla glue to the rescue! [​IMG]
     
  8. BeardedLadyFarm

    BeardedLadyFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2009
    Cobleskill NY
    Considering that the egg industry standard would cram about 40 chickens in that space for their entire lives... Your 3 will be happy in there for at least 2 months. Of course, you'll want to take them out to play with them, and take them out exploring on nice days. You can even move the whole brooder into your coop once they're feathered and let them decide if they want to roost, or snuggle back in their brooder. I've used the same tubs as brooders and even when I take them outside, the youngsters fly back in at night. It's home and it's secure.

    I will say this year, I'm brooding in tanks at eye level. It spooks the birds much less than coming at them overhead. The seem to be calmer and more trusting of me. There are cheap almost clear bins much like that one that might be a good choice as well.

    Keep them clean, warm and dry, and you'll have no problems!
     
  9. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    453
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    The figure I usually read for fully feathered is 8 weeks. 3 will have plenty of room in there for that long, and I predict they won't need to be in the house that long, anyway. My 5 week olds have been out running around all day since one week. They feather a little faster when raised outdoors -- but we had a cold December, 30's lows and 40's highs, with wind, and still they were out.

    What I would caution you about is, don't overheat them. I do not believe chicks need temps as high as the usual recommendation of 95 for week one, etc. Mine always ran away from it. Plastic brooders are fine -- but they can overheat in them easily. I'd put your heat lamp at one end so they have someplace to go.
     
  10. WhySayWhat

    WhySayWhat Chillin' With My Peeps

    523
    0
    119
    Nov 5, 2010
    Spokane
    Good idea...I didn't think about putting the whole brooder outside! Of course, it's taken me the better part of 2 months to get my other half on board with the whole idea (it took me crying when he once again told me it was a bad idea, he's convinced I'll just kill them and him talking about his latest idea, a website he wants my help setting up to get him to agree to support me in this). Hmm, maybe I'll move up plans to "electrify the coop"....
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by