How many brooders do I need?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Titus2Woman, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. Titus2Woman

    Titus2Woman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 7, 2011
    Ok, so I have been searching and reading about brooders... I get the impression that they quickly out grow these ones made from rubbermaid containers. I am not really sure what I am supposed to do with chicks after that since they will not be ready for the coop yet. But my question is: How many times do I need to upgrade the brooder before they go in the coop? And same goes for the water and food containers. How many times do those need upgraded? I need to know how much $ I am talking about before I go get my chicks. [​IMG]
  2. fiddlebanshee

    fiddlebanshee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 11, 2010
    Frederick, MD
    My plan with this batch of my first chicks ever was to put a brooder 5ft x 2.5 ft right in the coop. I will disassemble it when they are about 4 weeks old and most of their feathers have come in. Then they use that area for roosting. So, I'm only planning for one brooder. I have a heatlamp in the brooder right now, that easily heats it up to the required temp (and I am leaving the temp a bit lower than the text book says since they don't seem to be cold). Once they get out of the brooder I will also give some supplemental heat with a second heatlamp aimed at a corner in the coop.

    You can see pictures of my setup on my BYC page, it was all built from stuff I had laying around so it didn't cost me anything extra.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    It depends on your conditions, set-up, and how you manage them. Your climate might make a difference. Do you already have adults so you need to worry about integration? Are you willing to put them in the coop when they are feathered out or will you baby them until they are adults? How many do you have? Some people build little gingerbread doll houses for their chickens with all kinds of cute furnishings while I am more concerned with function than looks. I can't even come close to all the different things that might come into the decision. We all have different levels of experience, different goals, and different conditions. No one answer will be right for all of us. I'm not criticizing anyone else, just saying we are all different.

    I made my brooder large enough to give me some flexibility, not try to plan for the absolute minimum I could squeeze by with. I always brood in the coop, not in the house. The first time, before I had adults, I just turned them loose in the coop for about a week after they were 4-1/2 weeks old and were feathered out, then let them into the run. After that first time, I built a grow-out pen where I can put them after they are feathered out until they are ready for integration. I start integration at 8 weeks. Some people do it earlier and some wait longer. I generally let mine free range instead of keeping them cooped up in a run.

    There are a whole lot of different ways to do feeders and waterers. Some are free or practically so. Some can get a bit pricey. I've made feeders from scrap wood and feeders and waterers from plastic yogurt cups or cream cheese containers or those free 2 to 5 gallon plastic buckets you can get from most deli's or bakeries.

    I think your question is a reasonable one, but it is so broad and general, I really can't give a good answer.
  4. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West

  5. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    THe neat thing about chickens is that so many different situations/set ups work well.

    I keep my expenses down by making little waterers. THe current one is a plastic fluff container, with a smile shaped cutout 2-3 inches from the bottom. A circle cut out of the lid, near an edge , not in the middle. and the circle matches the diameter of a water bottle.

    I scope out the salvation army store for feed pans: cakepans, round or square.

    Keep searching and you will find great ideas here on BYC and determine which ideas may work for you.

  6. Titus2Woman

    Titus2Woman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 7, 2011
    Quote:Good point... sorry to be so vague. I will be looking at 6 hens. I would not mind babying them until they are adults but I have read all kinds of things about smells and horrible dust that I am not sure if I want to keep them in the house that long. I do have other birds but it sounds like my cockatiels and parakeets don't even begin to compare to the mess of chickens. [​IMG]

    I will not have any other hens to worry about integrating with. I am hoping to get the chicks in the March time frame which here in NE Ohio is still cold and most likely snowy.
  7. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    March? Lots of time to do research in this Baby Chick forum!

    I used to use 54 gallon Rubbermaid tubs for the entire 8 weeks, but this was in my bathroom and I left the top off the bin, even when the chicks started flying out of it. (Bathroom is an easy room to keep warm and to clean up evidence of wandering chicks.)

    I highly recommend getting an EcoGlow brooder (heater) from Brinsea, because that frees you from using heat lamps and securing them against falling, you don't need a backup lamp for when the bulb blows out (and they do, with regularity at the most "can't get a second one" moment). The chicks go under the heating platform to warm up and there's no extra light to upset the day/night cycle. Also, the EcoGlow uses MUCH LESS electricity.

    You can feed the chicks out of any low dish - those sold in stores as cat food dishes are perfect. Flat bottoms, no angled sides for tipping them over. Keep waterers raised on a brick out of the pine shavings so the water stays clean longer, or even investigate and make nipple waterers. Chicks learn to use them just fine even at day 1 out of the egg. NO mess and the water stays clean!
  8. AV Brahmas

    AV Brahmas Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 30, 2011
    The Great White North
    My friend who sold me my first geese when I was about 11 (don't ask how long ago just say he was in his 20's at the time and has snow white hair now!) has box brooders lined up on shelves and keeps different batches of chicks in each one. Probably a dozen total of these. Myself, I use battery brooders and have three of them. I no longer use these for waterfowl or meat birds. I have a brooder house with a floor brooder that I use for the messier birds. You can keep your birds in the battery brooder until they are bumping their heads. By that time they are off heat completely and ready to move out to a grow out pen in the yard. The last brooder I have is the one I use in the schools...homemade with a plexi front. Currently used as an isolation chamber or "hot box" for chicks that need a lift.

    That works for me, but we use a lot of natural incubation and leave the young with the mom. Only our Sussex tend not to sit but some of those do.
  9. Titus2Woman

    Titus2Woman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 7, 2011
    Quote:Yeah, I am a plan ahead kind of girl and I can't get the chicks until the coop is built and I can't build the coop until I find wood on my budget of nearly $0... I have leads so I am making progress. [​IMG]
  10. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    Another thing - regarding feeders/waterers, check out YouTube for some videos about making your own - you can often make them from items you have around your house already. Also, check out your local Craigslist - I've often found peeps getting out of chickens who have lots of feeders/waterers/equipment for sale on the cheap. Just make SURE you thoroughly disinfect anything you buy prior to use!

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