Need input on where to brood some new baby chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by David1998, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. David1998

    David1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 9 full size breed chicks to be delivered in a few weeks. The question is where to brood them:
    My first preference would be inside a small coop outdoors. The coop is 30 sqft, predator proof, with about 16 sqft of ventilation. The concern is the temps here in south east Texas are from 80 in the morning with high humidity to upper 90s in the afternoon. I could add a heat lamp on one side, however the temperature would vary a lot due to the air temp. It may get way too hot for them. Or, do you think they’d be okay without the lamp.
    Alternatively, I could keep them inside where it’s 75-77 all day in a 1.5 wide x 3 ft long cardboard box with a heat lamp on one side. I don’t prefer this route due to the heat lamp in the house by the cardboard and my kids won’t be able to leave it alone.
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Option #1 with a heat lamp as needed at night - this would eliminate the issue of overheating during the day when it is hottest/most humid and you can use the chicks as your guide as to when they need/don't need the night heat.
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Agree with Ol Grey. Heat lamp at night, they should be fine with it off during the day.

    I hate brooding chicks in the house. I can't imagine breathing all that dust and dander [​IMG]
     
  4. dheltzel

    dheltzel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Instead of a heat lamp, I'd use a regular incandescent bulb, maybe 60 watts. Safer and cheaper, and you can leave it on all the time and let the chicks decide where to rest. I keep them indoors for the first week or 2, then are not much smell or mess at that size and you can socialize with them. Move them out when they get smelly and have some feathers.

    I also use a desktop lamp dimmer to dim the bulb (works with heat lamps too) and that lets me adjust the heat and save a bit more on electric.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Outside for sure. Use a low wattage heat source, I'd say 60 watts at most, probably just at night. After they are a couple of days old, put up a barrier of some type so they can hide behind it if the heat source gets too hot, even at night.

    A couple of summers ago when we had our ridiculous heat wave I had the overnight heat off at 5 days, with overnight lows in the upper 70's or low 80's. Just watch them. If they are staying at the far side away from the heat they are too warm. Either raise the heat source or turn it off. I've seen chicks just a couple of days old do fine in the low 80's when they were trapped away from the broody most of the day. They can handle that stuff really well, but do watch them. They will tell you if they are too cold or too hot. Too hot is more dangerous than a little cool.
     
  6. David1998

    David1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks to all for the excellent information. I'll plan to put them in the outside coop and test the warmth beforehand with a lower watt bulb.
     
  7. DianaMallory

    DianaMallory Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would brood them inside of at least the first week. I had mine inside for 4 weeks and as long as you keep their bedding clean they do not smell. I like having them outside but kind of miss not being able to just walk over and play with them. Now I take a chair outside and go sit in the coop for a little bit every morning I really enjoy socializing with them.
     
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  8. David1998

    David1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Now that I have them, I wanted to add what I’m doing and how it’s working out for future reference. I ended up with 17; the hatchery was feeling generous. Mine our now 5 days old and I keep them outside in their eventual coop. It's well shaded and seems to have enough ventilation.

    During the days, it’s been 95-100, which is plenty warm for them. They’ve been happily eating, drinking, and running around.

    During the nights, it’s been 75-80. The first night the bedded down and snuggled together. A good hour after dark I heard some loud chirping. One of the chicks had gotten away from the others. I put her against the others, only to have another one do it an hour later. So, taking advice from my Dad, I put them in the box they all came shipped in and put that in the coop. It keeps them close enough so they don’t get separated. I had a heat lamp, but preferred to avoid using it.

    Each night an hour after dark I put them in the box. I let them out when it just starts to get a little light out. They are all energetic and go right to the feed and water. I plan to stop using the box in a couple more days.

    Thanks again for all the helpful information.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Glad everything is working out for you!

    I think folks need to realize the guidelines for how warm birds need to be are largely meant for early spring birds, when the temps outside are still pretty cool. The chicks hatched by my broody hens in the summer spend hardly any time at all under momma, that tells me hatchery chicks don't need a constant source of heat, either.
     

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