Lots of chicks, how much brooder space needed?

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10 Years
Mar 28, 2009
fredonia, wi
We have been using our Little Giant incubator and homemade wood brooder boxes for years. It has served us well for the 12 to 20 bantam chicks we hatched at a time.
Well, Santa this year brought a Brinsea 190 cabinet incubator. This beauty has been running all week and we loaded up one full rack, 59 bantam eggs tonight. Planning on having staggered hatches, hubby and daughter want to collect another rack full of eggs to set next weekend.

Ok, the question is, how much brooder space is needed per bantam chick? Plan is to have them in the house until at least a few weeks old before moving out into a insulated & heated coop with heat lamps.
So, what do you put 50 to 100 chicks in? How big does it need to be?
I know our house will be taken over by chicks, it is every year, but now the numbers in each hatch is way bigger!
When I was a boy, we brooded out 200-300 chicks right on the floor of the coop. That coop was probably 12x16. By week 5, they pretty much out-grew it and needed to access to their run outside, daily, to prevent picking and other boredom/crowding conditions.

Thus, my answer is simple. As large as possible. You'll likely find you'll need several large appliance boxes or several watering troughs. I'd kind of mentally picture what Tractor Supply or other feed store does when having chicks for sale. Once they are 5 weeks, you'll probably really NEED to take them out to the coop. Enjoy your endeavor.
Wow! With that many chicks I think I'd be moving them out to the coop quickly!! LOL If your coop is a walk in, then you can still sit in there with them for socialization. Yeah, I think washer/dryer or fridge boxes are gonna' be your best (and cheapest) bet. Good luck with your hatches!!
I agree with Fred, as much room as you can. I don't do bantams and i don't really like giving hard and fast square foot numbers. We all have differences. Breed, sex, numbers, and what age you are comfortable moving them to the coop, for example.

I have a 3' x 5' brooder that I use in the coop. The most I've had in that one was 28 dual purpose chicks. I kept them in there until they were 4 weeks old, then turned them loose. 5 were cockerels and 23 were pullets. Another time I had 21 dual purpose chicks, 3 pullets and 18 cockerels. I took them out at 4-1/2 weeks. I never had any problems either time but both times it was looking full.

If you have a heated insulated coop ready for them, why not just start them out there and skip the brooder?
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