Large Scale Homemade Brooding

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by DellaMyDarling, Jan 18, 2018.

  1. DellaMyDarling

    DellaMyDarling In the Brooder

    Dec 13, 2017
    I've got a technical problem here!
    I was thinking of ordering about 15 chicks each per 3 breeds of bird, so roughly 45 little chiclets at once.
    I was going to buy larger plastic tote bins, make a cut out on the lid and apply chicken wire to that opening, then add the accessories needed. Three bins, one for each breed.
    Sounded GREAT until I started reading about the length of time the chiclets require heat lamps. There's no way I'll fit 15 birds happily in even the largest totes I can buy after a few weeks of growth. I also happen to be buying larger sized birds, so...

    Do I seriously upscale the number of brooder totes? How many totes are we really talking? Sounds...expensive. And a lot of space. Three totes already would have been crazy to fit in the house. I assumed they had to go in the house. Basement has mold issues, so I worried about their lungs down there. Front porch isn't insulated or heated, it'd be close to the temp outside. Our barn is not insulated or continuously heated, concrete floor makes downstairs colder than outside. Upstairs of barn is akin to our front porch.

    This is the coop we will model our coop after:

    This design should allow for a decent amount of "open space." Could I brood the chicks in this coop safely? Could that eliminate the need for tote brooders entirely?
    What would you do to make this much larger area appropriate for all the chicks?
    Floor covering? I plan to do linoleum or tile like the plan shows. Aspen shavings are accessible everywhere, but what do you know about using horse stall pellets?
  2. The Moonshiner

    The Moonshiner Professional Chicken Tender

    Nov 17, 2016
    Idk where you should brrod them but I'd skip the whole tote idea.
    Totes are just easy bake brooders.
    They're never big enough and the idea of setting up several does sound expensive.
    I build 4'x 8' plywood boxes and use as brooders.
    Even that size won't hold 45 chicks for more then about 3 weeks.
    lazy gardener and Chelseyb123 like this.
  3. AlleysChicks

    AlleysChicks Enabler

    Oct 10, 2016
    Southern Ohio
    I’ve brooded all my chicks in totes and love it. BUT 45 chicks is too many for totes long term. You could brood in the coop if they have a heat source. Depending on size of the actual coop I’d block them in a smaller spot (maybe half?) and expand as they grew.
  4. Chelseyb123

    Chelseyb123 Songster

    Oct 4, 2017
    If you could make something like this would probably work. I have two next to each other now. One for a young hen an two chicks an the other for a rooster an hen. I need to keep them inside until sprispringi made these. You could call them a mini boxed coops or brooder boxes. Same idea if you will. But i had a broken door gate that i screwed on to it wo i can open an close it more easily. Just an idea. (Thats not a heat light btw just a light so they can see better since they are in my basement.) also if you made something like this placing a heat light in there will play a factor on a safe spot. I used a heating pad for my chicks but i only had 2 not 45 lol and they were kept in my living room. And i wouldnt do the tote idea with that many an with a heat light. An this might not be possible for that many chicks but they will be loud with peeps unless kept in an a barn garge ect but i found using the heating pad helped them sleep better at night and than used natural light during the day. But Good luck hope you figure something out! :)

    Attached Files:

  5. Harmony Fowl

    Harmony Fowl Songster

    Jul 17, 2017
    I had mine in totes and ended up splitting them in three, about five per tote, by three weeks old. Definitely need something bigger. I would think along the lines of something like you would use for a brooding box for a large dog with a lot of puppies. Then I would think about how to move them outside as soon as possible. You don’t say if you have other birds already, could you start them out in totes in your coop and give them more freedom as they get older?
  6. Granny Hatchet

    Granny Hatchet Tastes like chicken

    Sep 26, 2013
    madison Indiana
    watermelon box , maybe 2 inside the coop. Sometimes you can get these free at your local market. Call and ask them if they might save them for you.
  7. DellaMyDarling

    DellaMyDarling In the Brooder

    Dec 13, 2017
    These will be our first chickens, so we have more flexibility I suppose. I'll probably do this big order, then a medium order late summer, then next year begin a real rotation of 1/3 chicks to 2/3 older birds. Hoping eventually we'll get some good roos to offer sustainability for the flock numbers. We're doing meat and egg birds, that's why my numbers are so high
  8. AlleysChicks

    AlleysChicks Enabler

    Oct 10, 2016
    Southern Ohio
    If you are doing a short term meat bird like a Cornish cross, then I would brood those separately. They grow super fast and will eat up all the food quick.
  9. lissalischicks

    lissalischicks Songster

    Jan 31, 2016
    Los Angeles, California
    Why not use cardboard boxes? As they grew I added more boxes tape them together and cute out openings so they could run back in forth between boxes. I got mine free from work or from stores. I covered the top with bird netting so they wouldn't jump out as they got older.
    Harmony Fowl likes this.
  10. DellaMyDarling

    DellaMyDarling In the Brooder

    Dec 13, 2017
    We are doing dual purpose Heritage birds. The research I did even steered me away from Free Rangers. I decided breeds such as CornishX were not in line with what we really desired out of the experience.

    So my other worry Fire in the henhouse.
    Certain materials are much more, uh, combustible? Dry hay, cardboard, etc. I think I like the idea of penning off part of the large coop. Obviously I'll have heat lamps for a while, but should I also have another heat source such as a space heater (outside the penned off area)? This is where fire enters my mind, we will have extension cords running from the barn for the lamps as is. The plan is to build the walls with insulation. Not sure we'll insulate the floor but I can fill the penned area pretty deeply with whatever ground cover we'll use.
    I am in New England, we CAN get snow third week of April. It CAN get down to freezing temps that late here.
    Should they be in smaller containers, like the totes, inside the house for the first two weeks maybe?

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