How much room for 75-100 chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by clkingtx, Dec 30, 2009.

  1. clkingtx

    clkingtx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I ordered chicks today for my mom and myself. We are getting 25 asst banties; 50 asst standard chickens, and 25 asst ducks. I have been reading about not brooding ducks with chicks, so I am trying to figure out an alternative for them. I will be brooding them in our garage, which is not heated. It stays above freezing in there, but I am not sure by how much(if I had to guess, I would say mid to high 40s right now. I ordered from Ideal, and I put the date for after Jan 6; but my choices didn't show available till the 13th, so that is when I am expecting them. I want to be ready by the 5th, if possible though; just in case. So I have a week or two to figure out how to brood our new babies.

    I have a play yard set which we no longer use, which is basically four two part hinged sections about three feet long each part(so each part is about 6 feet long). With two of them together, it makes a square about 3x3. Three of them joined together makes a hexagon about 5 feet across, and all of them together makes an octagon about 8 feet across. We are going to put up some sort of draft shield inside, as the "fence" has 2 1/2 inch holes throughout. I figure we will use cardboard, plastic, or paper; just something that will block the drafts( about 18 inches high). I plan to get large heat lamps, at least 2 of them for the largest enclosure.

    One possible alternative with the ducks, short term, is a plastic storage compartment I have: I don't remember the exact size, but it is about four feet long, by about two feet wide. Would that be big enough for the ducks, short term? Really; if I absolutely have to separate, the best I can do is have the chickens in one enclosure, and the ducks in another. I will not be able to manage more separate spaces than that. I could probably scrounge up cardboard, or something to make a makeshift enclosure, if mine won't be big enough, I just need direction, lol.
    So I guess the most important questions are:

    How much room is needed for 75 chickens, and 25 ducks?

    Has anyone brooded similar numbers at once; how did you do it, and how did it go?

    How many feeders/waterers will I need?

    How many heatlamps?

    thanks a lot
    Carrie
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I have no experience with ducks, so cannot help you there. All this is about the 75 chickens.

    I think you are wise to be ready early. For chickens for the first three or four weeks, they need about 1/2 square foot per chick. After that, about 1 square foot per bird is enough until they feather out. Be prepared for them to grow vey fast.

    I'd suggest cardboard or plastic for the draft shield. They might destroy the paper if they can get to it. And I'd suggest avoiding corners if you can manage it. When they are startled or frightened, they will pile up and some may get hurt or killed. I had 28 in a 3' x 5' rectangular brooder with sharp corners and none got hurt, but they did pile up when I fed, watered or tried to take pictures. They also like to sleep in piles. As many as you have, some could suffocate. Not saying they will, just that it has been reported on this forum. Sharp corners seems to make this worse.

    I don't know how many heat lamps you will need. The recommendation is to keep their brooder at 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit the first week and drop the temperature 5 degrees each week. I found they liked it a lot better if you keep one part of the brooder this temperature but let other parts of the brooder be up to 10 degrees cooler. They will find their comfort zone and just like people, it can vary between individuals. If they bunch up in the hot or cool areas, you know it is too hot or too cool and can make adjustments. Since you are wisely getting ready early, you can set it up and stabilize the temperatures before they arrive. Use a thermometerand check out the temperatures you are maintaining. Then you can adjust the heat lamps, add more or take some away to get it right. Please secure the heat lamps firmly. Those chicks will be jumping, running, and trying to fly very soon. They can easily hit the heat lamp and knock it off. I ran an extra wire to support it so it could not fall in the brooder. Be very careful with this.

    You need enough feeder space so they can all eat at the same time. I can't remember how much that actually is, either 1" or 2" per chick. I think it is 1" for the first few weeks then 2" after that. Hopefully someome else will help with that. They do things in a mob, including eat. Drinking, they seemed to do more as an individual and not in a mob, so you can get by with less room for the waterers. Not sure what kind you are using but I'd probably give them 1/2" each for room to get to it. They do need water. I'd also have at least two different waterers for your number. The dominant chicks can sometimes try to keep the less dominant from the feeder and waterer so an extra gives the less dominant better access.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!!!
     
  3. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    If it were me, I would split them into 3 brooders at least. One for the ducks, one for the banties and one for the standards. This way if there is any piling, it will be kept to a minimum. All will need a heat source and good space to move away from the heat if they need to. The above poster gave good info on space requirements. 25 chicks do well with one of those long red chick feeders. You may need 2 for the larger group. I'm not sure what to use to feed ducks, as I don't have any. Keep in mind ducks like to slop in water and are in my opinion quite a bit more messy than chicks, so be prepared to clean their brooder more often.
     
  4. clkingtx

    clkingtx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for your reply. I measured the hexagon(as I already have it set up), and according to the formula I found online(way too long since I was in school to remember, lol) The hexagon is about 239 square feet. I don't understand how, because it doesn't look that big, but the formula I found was measurement of parallel side to parallel side times measurement of one angle to diagonal angle(I think that is the way to say it), times .75. If that is wrong, or my math is wrong, someone please let me know. Even with figuring the square foot of a circle, which it will be when I line it with cardboard, it will still be 220 square feet(3.14xradius squared) Seriously anyone; if my math is wrong, I would like to know. I am operating on no sleep, so I want to be sure I am thinking right.

    If that is correct, then as far as square footage, I am more than good to house 100+ birds. I will find cardboard to line the enclosure with, and it will make my square footage a little smaller, but still way way more than 1/2 foot per bird starting point. Maybe I can divide the brooder so I have a section for the ducks; so they won't muck up the chicken's part, but can still keep it to only one enclosure. I figure I will need a heat lamp for the ducks, and two for the chicks.

    How about bedding? Anyone had luck using shredded newspaper, even if just for part of the bedding?

    I will make sure I get at least 2-3 feeders for the chicks, and another 1-2 for ducks? And a couple of waterers for each maybe?

    Ok, I will have to think about further dividing up the area to accomadate the banties. I wondered about that, with them probably being much smaller than the standards.

    thanks so much for your input.

    Carrie
     
  5. The Chicken People

    The Chicken People Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2009
    Smithville, Mo
    I have a cabinet shop close by and they give me their shavings to use for bedding...maybe you could check that out?
     
  6. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Because they are gonna be on a concrete floor I would suggest putting down a thick layer of straw on the floor then top it off with pine shavings. I agree with hinkjc about seperating them into 3 groups, the standard chicks will be quite hard on the bantams trampling over them or laying on top of them and when they get older they will probably end up picking on the bantams. cheap plywood boxes slapped together with some 2 by 2's would be your best bet for draft free enclosures. I have built many pens that way and it's very cost efficient especially using materials you may already have laying around or find freebies on Craigslist in your area. If you used plastic over the dog run thing you spoke of the chicks could eat it and that would end up being a major issue as they pick at everything when they are at that curious age. As far as the ducks go I have never raised ducklings but I do have a pair of call ducks in with my chickens and they are REALLY MESSY! they like to scoop up feed and drop it in the waterers sloshing it all around. I end up having to change the water at least 2 times a day with them around. Best of luck to you with your new additions [​IMG]
     
  7. kman

    kman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:not sure where that formula come from but i have never used it, but if you have 6 equal sides then do this square footage (length of side 1)^2x2.6 that should do it for you. who knows with all the formulas in this world yours may be just as right but it never hurts to double check it
     
  8. clkingtx

    clkingtx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, it came up to the same number I was getting, so I have plenty of room, it will just be a matter of dividing everything up how it needs to be.

    thanks for all the help!
    Carrie
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:I cannot see how you have an octogon out of four sections, hinged in the middle but each of the four total 6 feet long, and come up anywhere close to your area. If I use a square 6 feet on each side (assuming you can straighten them out to a straight 6 feet) I get 36 square feet.

    If I use a regular octogon, where each of the 8 sides are 3 feet long, I get just over 47 square feet. Using the lousy sketch below, I get 4 triangles (3.2 sq ft each), 4 rectangles (6.4 sq ft each) and one square (9 sq ft).

    [​IMG]

    I'm not going through the math and will accept your measurement of 8 feet across the octogon. It looks about right if you make this a circle. The diameter is 8 feet. The radius is 4 feet. 4 x 4 x 3.14 = 50 square feet, real close to the 47 I get for the octogon.

    Using your formula, I get parallel side to parallel side + 7.26 feet. Across diagonal corners I get 7.85 feet. So 7.26 x 7.85 x 0.75 = 43 square feet, less than my 47 so I figure I am probably looking at the wrong diagonal line.

    I don't believe you have as much room as you think.

    I like the idea of splitting the bantams and regular chicks, mainly to reduce the size of the sleep or panic pile. I think you can split the octogon to house all the chicks for the first three or four weeks, but I'm afraid you will have to come up with something in addition around the end of week 4. You can probably grow out the 50 regulars to fully feathered in this but I'd expect you to need another 25 or so square feet for the bantams. Maybe a little less since they are bantams. This still does not address your ducks.

    Can I mention that I envy you of being able to get this many chicks and ducks. It is a lot to care for, but you are going to have so much fun!

    Good luck
     
  10. clkingtx

    clkingtx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ridgerunner: Thank you, you helped me see where my error was in the calculations. I was figuring square inches, then when converting to square feet, I was dividing by 12, instead of 144 which would give me the accurate area.

    Ok, so if I understand everyone right, I will be ok for the first 3-4 weeks with the chickens in the octagon(with the floor insulated and a cardboard draft guard), banties separate from standards, but the ducks will need more. Maybe I could split the octagon up for the ducks and standard chicks, and then brood the banties in a rubbermaid container; since it is the only thing I have right now, and they will be smaller than the ducks, right? It is a 45 gallon tub. I could figure something out to kind of round out the corners more, too; if needed.
    Maybe:
    1 heat lamp for the banties, 1 for the ducks, and 2 for the standard chicks;
    1- 2 foot feeder for banties, 2 for ducks, and 2 for standards;
    2 waterers for banties and 2 for ducks, 3 for standards
    Does this sound about right?

    I am so tickled to have all these babies coming, I haven't had chickens since I was a kid. My husband had originally not wanted chickens since we live in a city, but he decided he would rather have chickens than meat rabbits(I want something to provide meat for our family), so I was thrilled! I much prefer chickens, too. Especially since I am allergic to rabbits. My mom has nearly 4 acres in a small town nearby, and has been wanting chickens for so long, and it is just working out well for her to buy the birds and supplies, and me do the care, until they are a bit older, and ready to go outside. We have a 2 car garage, so plenty of room for the babies. I also really want my daughter to be comfortable with poultry being around, since I hope for her to be raised a farmgirl, if we can ever find a place in the country, hopefully in the not so distant future.

    It just really worked out well for us, I was looking at ideal's website, and they have (it is listed as weekly special) january specials on bantams, standard chickens, and ducks. You have to buy 25 or more of a kind, but the straight runs are .99/ea for chickens, and 1.60 for the ducks. Since we live in Texas, there is no shipping charge. So 75 chickens and 25 ducks for 116.25 sounded like a phenomenal deal!

    Thanks again, all for all the suggestions.
    Carrie
     

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