Keeping 15 chick in a shed?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Juniper148, Mar 8, 2015.

  1. Juniper148

    Juniper148 In the Brooder

    Mar 3, 2015
    I ordered 15 chicks to be sent mid May. The average high is in the low 70's and the average low is around 50 that time of year. I assumed I would keep the chicks in a large tote or kiddie pool or even sectioned off area of the laundry room. I quickly realized this was only a temporary solution, for a week at most. The more I read, the more I realized *I* would not want these chicks in the house with the dust and feathers and such much longer than that and I am quite tolerant of animal messes. I should add dh is NOT thrilled about the chickens and does not want them in the house. We have an attached garage and a large storage shed. He wants them in the shed, but I'm afraid it will be difficult to keep the right temp, and also more difficult to keep tabs on them. The shed has no windows, but does have a large door we could prop open during the day, but not at night due to predators (we regularly have possums and coons in our yard as well as neighborhood cats, stray and otherwise). The attached garage has a window that does not open and two doors in addition to the garage door.

    My next thought was a shed won't be much different than a finished coop. Is there any reason I need a brooder if the coop is finished? They would have a heat source in the coop, of course. It will be VERY predator proof with hardware cloth any openings and a covered run.
  2. Skink

    Skink Songster

    Apr 16, 2014
    DFW Texas
    Brooders are useful for more than just heat source. They also make sure chicks have ready access to food and water and make it so they can't wander far enough away from said heat to get too cold to move back. Raising them directly in a coop large enough for 15 chickens would be a risk to them, as well as a big fire risk. It would be more difficult to keep an eye on the babies and their heat source both.

    I also would not use a shed, as the temperature fluctuations are wild in there, and they can become hot boxes. You don't want to cook your babies to death! If you wouldn't want to spend all day sitting in that shed, you shouldn't put them in there. Not to mention predators creep in daylight too... you'd be setting out a tasty buffet. If you absolutely can not brood them in the house, I would brood them in the garage. Temps will be more stable, and way less likely to get too hot. Tell him it doesn't matter how much he'd like the chicks to go in the shed, they can't go in the shed, and if he doesn't want them in the house then he'll have to settle for chicks in the garage. Honestly, indoors is best as it is the most easily controlled, but lots of folks brood in their garage in good weather.

    Re: mess, I have honestly never had trouble with dust or fluff from chicks once I stopped using pine, and I've been raising broods constantly since January. I've got 3 sets of chicks in my chicken room right now. I don't use pine, I used that for my first batch and it was a dusty mess... I use sand now, and it is very clean! The bedding is much dustier than the babies, which I think is where most peoples' problems actually come from.

    Worst to worst, it might be a good idea to cancel your chick order and buy some started pullets in your area instead. That skips all the troubles with the chicks and lets you put them right in to the coop to start living as grown chickens. If raising chicks is going to be too much trouble, and the only options you have available puts them at undue risk, it's better to not start with chicks at all.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2015
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Agrees the shed wouldn't be as good as the coop, but are there other birds in there?

    What would your heat source be?

    Heat lamp bulbs can be very, very dangerous, no matter where they are used.
    Incandescent light bulbs can give enough heat depending on ambient temps but can also be dangerous.
    Brooder plates are safest providing any electrical cords used to power them are properly rated and located, but they can be expensive.

    I disagree that sand is much less dusty than shavings. I used a clean sand, sifted poops out everyday and still had dust all over everything, most the dust comes from feather sheaths.
  4. song of joy

    song of joy Crowing

    Apr 22, 2012
    Central Pennsylvania
    I think you'd be OK using the coop as a brooder, but I'd keep the chicks in the house for a week or two to make sure they're off to a good start. Last year, I had to move chicks into their coop much earlier than I had anticipated - at only 2 weeks of age. I ended up using a heat lamp in the coop for a couple of weeks as it was cold at night. However, this is NOT recommended due to the risk of fire. I did have the heat lamp secured 3 different ways (clamped, clamp base secured with chain, and hanger attached with chain). I now have an Infratherm Sweeter Heater panel, which is MUCH safer, and would recommend this to you as well.

    When I moved 2-week old chicks to the coop, they were entirely restricted to the 3 x 5' coop for 2 weeks, with no access to the run. The coop has a window for light and ventilation. By the time they were 4-5 weeks old, I opened the pop door to the run so they could use both the coop and run. This scenario worked great and also minimized dust in the house. If you have a large coop, I would recommend partitioning off a section for the chicks so they don't wander too far from the heat source and food. This could be expanded as they grow.
  5. Juniper148

    Juniper148 In the Brooder

    Mar 3, 2015
    I was planning on using a brooder heat plate in the coop, with an outdoor extension cord. running from the house. I haven't heard of the sweeter heater and will check it out. I hadn't thought about chicks wandering too far away from their heat and food sources but it makes sense. They will definitely not have access to the run until I'm confident they can enter and exit very comfortably, guessing 5-6 weeks of age. Dh could live iwth the chicks in the basement if I told them we *had* to, and it was only a couple weeks. I figure anytime after this I can always slip chicks under a broody hen to avoid chicks in the house in the future if need be.
  6. dreamcatcherarabians

    dreamcatcherarabians Songster

    Jul 29, 2010
    I just got 25 more day old chicks today and I keep them in a stock tub in the garage. I have 100 gal rubber stock tank that I put in the garage and put shavings on the floor of the tank. I keep a heat lamp at one end and cover the top with a board to help hold heat in and to keep them from flying out when they get bigger. Food and water at one end, heat at the other and it works great until they're big enough to slip out to the coop under a broody Cochin or 2.


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