Is my Brooder too small?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Deesquared, Feb 1, 2017.

  1. Deesquared

    Deesquared Just Hatched

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    Hello everyone,

    I'm looking forward to getting four chicks on March 5th, and I made this brooder after searching Pinterest and BYC for many hours!
    I am hoping to only have the chicks in the brooder for around 4 weeks, then put them out in the coop. They will be 2 LF Cochins, 1 BO and 1 Ameraucauna.
    We are in the Vancouver BC area, so the weather should be quite mild in March. Rainy but not cold.
    I was reading Blooie's Mama's Heating Pad thread, and someone posted a picture of a similar brooder made from a plastic tub. Folks let her know that it was way too small, so now I'm worried about mine.
    What do you think? I was so proud after making it with my own two hands! :)
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Laurobee13

    Laurobee13 Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes that brooder is too small. Will be fine for the first week or two, but they double in size roughly each week. I use a large horse water trough - probably three times the size of yours. I'd make a larger one for when they are older. Also make sure they are fully feathered before they go into the coop. Typically by six weeks. When I put mine outside at around 2-4 weeks if they aren't fully feathered I put a heat lamp in the coop.

    I actually have a little coop that I use until they are about two months. Then they go into a medium chicken tractor until 6 months. Then they finally join the big girls in the main coop.

    Hope that helps!
     
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  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    Yeah, too small...I liken the tote brooders to the tiny prefab coop, everybody seems drawn to them but they do not suffice.

    So.... are these your first chickens?
    Do you have the coop built yet?
    What is your climate/location?

    If you can get power to your coop, you may just use the tote for a couple days then take them out to the coop to brood.
     
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  4. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You did a great job! Laurobee13 is right though, it'll be good for a week or so but not much after that. I built a couple of stand alone and attached brooders/breeding pens to my coops. I think my smallest is something like 20 square feet which can house about 3-5 medium sized (large fowl) birds until they're around 10 weeks old. I might start with many more chicks than that initially but you have to move them on and end up with no more than about 5 by 10 weeks.
     
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  5. Deesquared

    Deesquared Just Hatched

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    Jan 13, 2017
    Thank you everyone! I appreciate your help and honesty. :)

    These are my first chicks, so I'm really learning as I go. We had chickens when I was a little kid, but my dad was in charge of them, and he's not around anymore to give me advice.

    I will have to look at either getting something bigger, or seeing if the coop will be big enough for them to brood in. It will have power, so I can put the MHP in with them. I was going to use a heat lamp, but I decided against it due to the fire hazard, and the unnatural light on them for 24 hours/day.

    My husband is building the coop right now. He just put in the 'foundation' so to speak on the weekend. It is the Witchita Cabin Coop plans, so the footprint is 5' X 10', but the coop itself will be 5' X 5' I think? That would be nice and big for them for a while. Then when they are fully feathered they could go out in the run as well?

    I've been thinking that I also will need a Broody Breaking Box, because we won't have a rooster, and I've heard that Cochins and Orpingtons can be quite broody. Maybe that would be something that would be big enough to use as a brooder and a Broody Breaking Box? I don't know...Everytime I turn around, there's another thing I need to buy for these chickens! :D

    For the record, we are in the Vancouver area, and average temps in April range from highs of 11C to 14C (51F to 57F) and lows of 5C to 7C (41F to 45F).
    April has 12 to 14 hours of sunlight, with a rapid increase in daylight throughout the month.

    Thanks again!
    We are really looking forward to the chicks, and I so appreciate this forum!
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I'd put them right out in the coop.

    The first year is an avalanche of info and sometimes expense...after that it gets much easier.
    Don't worry, that tote will come in handy for something.

    You want a wire crate for a broody buster, gotta cool em off.
    I got this crate for about $15 at a flea market......I have several of them, very handy tool for a chickeneer.
    [​IMG]
     
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  7. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    You can let them have access to the run just as soon as they know where their heat, food, and water are. No need to keep them completely shelter 24/7 for weeks on end. Raising chicks with the heating pad is just like raising them with a broody hen, except that the heating pad can't get up and follow them. They will stick close to the pad for the first week or so and then be off exploring before you know it.
    You probably won't have any broodies in the first year. When one does go broody, an elevated wire cage usually does the trick. I use rabbit cages on cinder blocks. A broody breaker cage is not suitable for raising chicks in.
     
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  8. Molpet

    Molpet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    you did a good job of making it....[​IMG]

    someone had to get rid of chicks and gave me the tote he made like that w/the chicks.. he had been trying to brood them in it w/a heat lamp and at a week he found it was way too small.. but it has been very handy for me: isolation of a bird,, transporting birds, temp cover for things.. so it will be very handy to have and your hard work was not a waste.
    I used MHP in an old 100 gal water trough .. which is about 4' 6" long 2'wide and tall with a window screen over it
     
  9. Laurobee13

    Laurobee13 Out Of The Brooder

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    I'd wait on the broody breaking box - as others have already said, they don't always go broody their first year. Also, sometimes it's easier and cheaper to go the DIY method - like these folks are saying, a wire crate can do wonders! I have multiple and have used them for sooooo many things (including a brooder)! You can often find them cheap on craigslist or free on freecycle. Chickens and other farm animals are typically a very steep learning curve, especially the first year! I've put 2 week old chicks outside with no lamp in April - so you could put them right into your coop and pen. I've done this in the Spring and Summer. Fall and winter I do the method I first described, as I hatch chicks year round. Your chicks will let you know right away if they are happy or not :)

    Good luck!

    BYC is a life saver when it comes to finding answers!
     
  10. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just one thing I wanted to add. I believe you said you're getting four birds and your coop will be 5'X5'; total is 10'X5' so I'm assuming the run is the difference (5'X5' or 25 square feet). One general rule of thumb for large fowl space requirements is 2-4 square feet for the coop - you're ok there, and 10 square feet per run space if they'll be in it all day. So the run will be around 15 square feet too small unless you plan on free ranging them. Just wanted to mention that in case you didn't know so you don't end up with a lot of feather picking/squabbling later down the road.
     

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