Is My Outdoors Set-up Adequate for Baby Chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by fasschicks, Jan 17, 2015.

  1. fasschicks

    fasschicks Chirping

    Sep 10, 2013
    South Central Wisconsin
    I am hoping all of you chick-raising experts can tell me if my new set up will be good for my new chicks (my first time, can't you tell [​IMG]). I am getting 15 chicks the first week in April. I live in southern Wisconsin and plan to make my brooder outside. It will be attached to my current run. Weather in southern Wisconsin in early April is high 40's to low 50's during the day and low 30's at night.

    Below is a picture of my current coop and run. I plan to add a 4 ft. extension to the left side that hooks up into the current run area. I want my new chicks to grow up adjoined to the run so that they are all acclimated when I turn them lose together (and then I don't have to raise them inside the house). The set up will be almost the same as my current coop, except, I plan to build a pop-door going down into the space below the new brooder/separation pen -- not into the run like the other coop. The new coop/brooder will be elevated 2 feet above the ground like my other coop so that the birds can have more run space. When they are small, I will have them limited to the 4' x7' space of the brooder coop and as they get older, they will have access to the run area below it. When they are old enough, I will open up the fencing under it so all birds have more run space and can integrate together. Make sense?

    The new brooder coop will be 4'x7' in size. I will have a smaller area blocked for the chicks at first and then keep giving them more space as they get older/bigger. I have a Premier1 heating plate (large one) for my 15 chicks, but didn't plan to add any other heat for them. I am starting to get nervous and rethink this because I am not sure how long they will need the heat. Average temps. in early May are low 60's during day and low 40's at night. Once they outgrow the heating plate, will I need to add supplemental heating lamp at any time during the day/night or can they still use the heating plate? Or do they need nothing at all at a certain point? The plate technically only goes up 6 inches, but I can set it up with patio blocks to go up higher if need be, but the plate will be too small at that point to hold all chicks if it gets chilly outside.

    We don't have real electric run to the coop, but use an extension cord during the winter to heat water in the other coop, so that would be the same set up for the chicks. I have fears of heat lamps and wanted to avoid having one, but I am more afraid that my chicks might be too cold for what I currently have planned. I have heard that chicks don't need as much heat as we think and also feather out faster if they don't have high heat on them.

    What is the appropriate age that I could integrate them together with my other 2-year-old chickens? Most of the girls are pretty good, but have a SLW that tends to be a tough bird for any new chickens that are integrated. She works hard to establish pecking order. I would appreciate any advice you can give me.


  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Post #6 here gives a good idea of how to evaluate your setup once you have your chicks.

    They will need close to 90 degrees in their original setup and probably for the first few days, especially if they are shipped. After that, you can regulate the temp by their behavior much more easily. I dont see how you can do it without a heat lamp. I always triple secured mine. I used one of those inexpensive aluminum ones, but be sure the light fixture itself is ceramic, not plastic. There are more expensive alternatives but I don't see the need for them if you use common sense.

    Here is another setup used successfully by a very experienced chicken keeper in northern Michigan. G
    ood luck!
  3. DanEP

    DanEP Songster

    May 15, 2010
    Cadiz Ky
    I have used 4" electrical boxes with a porcelain fixture that is screwed to a 2x4 in the past when brooding in the winter and it worked well for me. It not only kept the chicks warm but was secure so that I didn't have to worry about fires.
  4. fasschicks

    fasschicks Chirping

    Sep 10, 2013
    South Central Wisconsin
    Thank you for both of your responses. They are helpful. I am not sure if we will be able to finish our new brooder coop by first week in April. If not, I will put them in the basement for a couple weeks and then move them out to their new digs in the brooder coop and put a heat light on them versus the heating plate. Guess I will play it by ear and see how it goes. It is a learning lesson to be sure.

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