Just ordered my first chicks! Brooder question...


In the Brooder
10 Years
Nov 7, 2009
Southern VA
Hi ya'll! We just ordered our first chicks, 25 SR Buff Orps, from Estes Hatchery! They'll be here sometime after the March 14 hatch, CAN'T WAIT!!!
I've been lurking on this site and reading about chickens since last Spring, and got the fever last week when TSC said their fuzz butts were coming in. This year, we decided to dive right on in.

In the meantime, I'm a smidge concerned about the size of the brooders we made and how big they'll get before their first 4-5 weeks is up. I originally planned to order just 15 pullets and cockerel, but found it cheaper to order a SR of 25. The Spring Fever made me do it! Least, that's what I'm telling my hubby when he wakes up in the morning!

I found a website with instructions on how to make a brooder (http://www.poultryhelp.com/brooders.html) that seemed reasonable at the time. My dd and I used 105 quart tubs, instead of the 90 quart tubs, cause they were a little taller. The dimensions are 1' 1" high, 2' 2" long, and 1' 3" wide. We're going to use paper towels the first couple of weeks, and then switch to pine shavings. Here are the pics of the finished products:



So here's my concern. Are these going to be big enough for 25 chicks for the first 4-5 weeks of their life? (I'm guessing, NOT.) Are they going to run out of floor space or head room first, and about when? If I need to build something else before we can put them in the coop, how big should it be?

We're in lower Alabama, and have had (and will have) weather in the 70s and 80s, with lows at night in the 40s and 50s, with some nights warmer, through the end of April. We're currently converting a 10' x 80' overhang off the back of an outbuilding into the coop.

Warm regards!

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Congratulations on the chicks!!

Yeah, I think 25 are going to outgrow that pretty quickly. Not sure what will be too small first (height or size). The little chicks like to practice flying and jump around a lot. This is a total guess, but I think you may get away with it for 3 weeks??

Best of luck to you and plase post pictures of your babies when they arrive!!
I agree if you are lucky 3 weeks. I have 17 chicks right now. 8 are 3 weeks old and in a horse trough.They will be ok for another week or 2, But the little babies are in a 20 gal aquariun there are 9 in there and soon they will have to be moved. I also have 15 more coming that i ordered at Rural King today, so I am trying to find homes for some of these chicks that I hatched. I ordered 10 buff cochin bantams and 5 salmon favorolles pullets.
I use half of a jumbo sized dog carrier for my brooder. It's about 2' tall, 4' long and 3' wide. My last group of 15 chicks were ok in it for about 4 weeks. Then I had to attatch the other half and double the size for another 3 weeks until my coop was finished. Floor space was great, I even had room to give them a little sand box. But it seemed a little short, not much room to jump up and down. They would all jump out the minute I opened the top and getting them back in wasn't so easy.

Currently there are 14 week old chicks in the original half dog carrier. They are so tiny, the brooder looks huge. But, they grow so fast!!

Here is a (not so good) picture. I think this was taken shortly before I moved the chicks out to a shed and doubled their space.

A 4x5 or 4x6 and 12-18 inches tall space should be plenty of space for 25 chicks that is .8 to .96 sq ft each. I have 21 in a 3x7 brooder they are a week old and they occupy les than a quarter of it.

I'm using a wading pool from Wal Mart with cardboard around the edges for higher walls. It's giving my 14 plenty of room; however, they're only 11 days old now, so I'm starting to think it's going to be too small by the time they're 4 weeks. Dang, they grow fast!


Chicks are 2 days old in this picture:

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