Is there such a thing as too big a brooder?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by LLCoyote, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. LLCoyote

    LLCoyote Chirping

    May 24, 2011
    I've raised goslings in the past but had to get rid of them due to health problems a few years back. This time, I'm opting to go with chickens because I don't like fooling with the pools for water. I've never had anything to do with chicks though. Right now I've got six in an extra large plastic tub inside my loft (no drafts and fairly regular temp.). I have a very large brooder made out of cardboard, surrounded by a fence in my loft. It's probably about 6 ft by 4 ft. Is it too early to move them into a brooder that large? I want them to have plenty of space but I don't want them to get too cold.

    I don't know much about chickens. I've been reading stuff online for about a week to try and brush up on my bird. Thus far they seem pretty happy. They're letting me handle them without screaming or trying to fight me (much nicer than my geese were who ran from me from the first day I got them.

    Also, is it safe to use pee pads under some regular bedding for them? I've seen some people use pee pads but I wasn't sure if it was safe or not.

    Two of the chicks are about 2-3 days old and the other four are about a week old.
  2. BonRae67

    BonRae67 Songster

    Dec 23, 2014
    As long as they have a heat source with a place to get warm when needed they would be fine in an area that big. You will find that they may not use all the space right now, but they will as they get bigger and more curious. Congratulations on the chicks.
  3. tim777

    tim777 Hatching

    Mar 11, 2015
    I use a 6x8 kind of like a tractor i have 40 chicks in it. But i dont put them in until 2 weeks old.
  4. lynnehd

    lynnehd Songster

    Jan 1, 2015
    Vancouver, Wa.
    I'm new, but I will chime in, but I'm doing what I learned here.
    I have been using pee pads since I brought my chicks home.
    An inch or two of aspen bedding and for the first 5-6 days, a layer of paper towels on top (now removed).
    They are in their second week, so just pee pads then aspen bedding.

    Makes it really easy to change the bedding.

    Also using the Probios probiotics in the water, and the SavAChick electrolytes also for the first week.
  5. SnowChik

    SnowChik In the Brooder

    Feb 21, 2015
    Bend, Oregon
    I would second what BonRae said. As long as they've got a good heat source, they'll use it when they want it.

    My traditional brooder died before my last hatch and I had to do one of those trough brooders like you see in the feed stores as an emergency solution. It's kind of bigger than I needed for this group, but they decide when they want hot and when they want cooler temperatures. Some times I find my crew all snuggled up under the heater, and other times they're way down at the far end.

    My "brooder" has the heat source at one end and then one end is kept "cool" where the food and water are. This was the closest I could come to the setup like my old traditional brooder.

    I know I'll get flak from some folks, but I have my crew on pine shavings. My friend and I have been breeding chickens for almost 30 years and have never had any problems with chicks raised on shavings (One group is now 12 - 15 years old and still doing well! And they were raised on cedar shavings!!) It does help to put them on paper towels for the first few days so that they won't think the shavings are food. I have not tried the pee pad method, but it intrigues me.

    I give my guys a fountain of electrolyte/vitamin/probiotic water and then one fount of fresh water, so that they can choose what water they want. Most of my little ones love the vitamin water, but they do go back and forth. I feed chick starter with chick grit sprinkled on like salt.

    I'm kind of paranoid about cleanliness, so I try to clean my brooder as often as possible. If I'm really on it I'm picking out the poop multiple times a day, and if I'm lazy I'm still doing it at least 2-3 times a week.

    Congratulations on your new chicks!!! Beware-you may never go back to waterfowl again! ;-)
    1 person likes this.

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