Intermediate Brooder Help

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ambe0487, Jan 2, 2016.

  1. ambe0487

    ambe0487 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chicks are 4 weeks and are out growing their plastic tub. I have an outdoor coop but since they are not fully feathered I don't think that I can keep them warm enough yet as our highs are in the 30's.

    I have 7 EE mixes and was thinking about using a fridge box with trash bags to help water proof the box. My question is should I lay it on its side and cut the top off for more floor space or vertically so they can work on roosting and have more area to jump and fly?

    Thoughts?
     
  2. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    I'd lay it on its side, they'll enjoy the floor space more than roost space at this point. You could add a low roost even if the box is laid horizontal. You could cut a couple of holes in the side and slide a stick through them or even just add a couple of bricks or 2x4s for them to practice on.

    Good luck :)
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    If you have electricity in the coop you can move them out there. If you do have electricity get back with us. We can go into details of what is needed. A size and maybe a couple of photos might help.

    Yes, put the box on its side. If you ever run out of room, get another large box and tape it to that one to give you even more space.
     
  4. ambe0487

    ambe0487 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It does have electricity. It is fully enclosed on 3 sides and the 4th side runs parallel to our shed for ventilation in summer and wind break in winter. [​IMG]
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    I planned on the next winter season to cover the wire side with plastic as they would be fully feathered. Not sure if I can keep it warm enough for them with the cold temps.
     
  5. ambe0487

    ambe0487 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They are roosting pretty well right now. I put a small dowle in with them at week 1 and made it larger over then last couple weeks.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Sounds like you are a candidate.

    [​IMG]

    This is my 3’ x 6’ brooder permanently built into the coop. In the summer it is pretty wide open but in winter I wrap it pretty tightly with plastic. I put chicks in here straight from the incubator even when the temperature is below freezing outside. I keep one end quite toasty but on some mornings I’ve seen ice in the far end. Even straight from the incubator the chicks are pretty good about self-regulating temperature as long as they have a choice.

    One problem with brooding them outside is that there can be a big difference in daytime highs and overnight lows. It’s practically impossible to keep the entire brooder one perfect temperature but the beauty of this is that you don’t have to. As long as one area is always warm enough even in the lows and another area is cool enough even in the highs, the chicks take care of that for you.

    I use heat lamps to maintain heat. Some people really like the emitter bulbs. Here is a thread about using a heating pad. There are lots of different ways to provide that heat.

    Mama heating pad
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/956958/mama-heating-pad-in-the-brooder-picture-heavy-update

    Don’t be shocked at how much time they spend out of the heated area, especially at the age you have. If you use the heating pad they may spend more time on top of it instead of in the cave. They can handle cold really well but at four weeks I would not put them out without heat in your temperatures. I have had chicks less than 6 weeks old go through nights in the mid 20’s Fahrenheit with no supplemental heat.
     
  7. ambe0487

    ambe0487 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That makes me feel better! I think I will use the fridge box for a couple more weeks just to be safe and then I'll move them out to the coop after I've wrapped it with plastic, I have both a ceramic and a regular bulb heat lamp. I could bump the regular bulb back up to the 120watt bulb and that should be a good area of warmth even as we get colder at night.

    The box I have out in the coop would work for a brooder but I would need to remove the nesting boxes I have in there now.
     
  8. ambe0487

    ambe0487 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I picked up a washing machine box today and got them into my immediate brooder. I figure this will get them at least a couple weeks closer to being fully feathered. I also added Some dried prairie grass which is what they will have on their coop floor to get them more used to that type of setting.[​IMG]
     

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