New to the chicken life! Please advise me!

Nrrodriguez

Hatching
May 31, 2020
8
2
8
Hey everyone! I am new to raising chicks. I won’t be getting mine for another 2 months but I want to make sure I have everything set up and ready for a successful process. I have several questions.
I live close to Houston Texas so it’ll be very warm by the time they arrive. Can I brood them outside? Can you brood them in a coop or it needs to be something small?

any useful advice you have to give to a first time chicken owner would be very appreciated!!!
 

CaradineCousins

Songster
Dec 29, 2015
363
319
149
Birmingham Alabama
you will still need a heating element of some kind they need to be 6 weeks of age and fully feathered out before letting them loose in thier forever home. I live in Alabama and i moved my 3 week old marans out because they were pecking on another chick and drawing blood. They stay out in thier designated coop during the day and I bring them in when it is below 60 at night. So far only 2 times i've done that. I am assuming your speaking about 1-3 day old chicks, you start out with heating element at around 90-95 degrees dont worry it's too hot or cold they will let you know if it's to cold they will be huddled under light too hot they will be way away from the light, each week you need to lower the wattage 5-10 degrees until around 6 weeks when the outside temp is the same as brooder temp. Unless like me you have to make other arrangements. (like bringing them in at night) when i bring them in i leave in a large cardboard box with shavings put some water in and cover the top to keep them secure and breathable. But i wait til nearly dark before bringing them in. When weather is iffy i'm up every few hours checking on temps. Hope this helps alittle
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
15,772
32,608
1,092
On the MN prairie.
I brood mine right in the coop from day one. I use a Mama Heating Pad brooder. (There is a thread on them here on BYC - will try to get you the link.) I got my chicks May 6. There were a few nights right after I got them that it got down to 29-30*. They were fine. They seem to feather out sooner when using the MHP. I took it out of the coop last week. The babies are just 3 weeks old, but had quit using it.

Being in Houston, your concern may be of over heating them rather than not warm enough. Nice thing about the MHP, it provides them with warmth when they need it without heating up their whole space.
 

drinkoj

Chicken Chaser
May 24, 2020
675
1,465
216
Upstate South Carolina
Newbie here, so what we've done is take an 18" tall by 40" wide tub to keep the chicks in with chicken wire above it to make it taller and doomed shaped it, as we noticed they like to jump. We then took a 2x4x8, stood it upright, put nails about every 8", placed a digital thermometer inside, and adjust the height of a 250W light bulb based on time of day to get the desired temperature. We have a round poll going through the chicken wire and have hung the feeding/water containers with wiring.
Building the coop over the next few weeks, but know they won't be able to enjoy their forever coop for another 4 weeks.
 

Nrrodriguez

Hatching
May 31, 2020
8
2
8
I brood mine right in the coop from day one. I use a Mama Heating Pad brooder. (There is a thread on them here on BYC - will try to get you the link.) I got my chicks May 6. There were a few nights right after I got them that it got down to 29-30*. They were fine. They seem to feather out sooner when using the MHP. I took it out of the coop last week. The babies are just 3 weeks old, but had quit using it.

Being in Houston, your concern may be of over heating them rather than not warm enough. Nice thing about the MHP, it provides them with warmth when they need it without heating up their whole space.
I brood mine right in the coop from day one. I use a Mama Heating Pad brooder. (There is a thread on them here on BYC - will try to get you the link.) I got my chicks May 6. There were a few nights right after I got them that it got down to 29-30*. They were fine. They seem to feather out sooner when using the MHP. I took it out of the coop last week. The babies are just 3 weeks old, but had quit using it.

Being in Houston, your concern may be of over heating them rather than not warm enough. Nice thing about the MHP, it provides them with warmth when they need it without heating up their whole space.
Do you get that heating pad from a feed store?
 

Nrrodriguez

Hatching
May 31, 2020
8
2
8
Newbie here, so what we've done is take an 18" tall by 40" wide tub to keep the chicks in with chicken wire above it to make it taller and doomed shaped it, as we noticed they like to jump. We then took a 2x4x8, stood it upright, put nails about every 8", placed a digital thermometer inside, and adjust the height of a 250W light bulb based on time of day to get the desired temperature. We have a round poll going through the chicken wire and have hung the feeding/water containers with wiring.
Building the coop over the next few weeks, but know they won't be able to enjoy their forever coop for another 4 weeks.
That was my original idea but my husband isn’t too thrilled about the idea of them inside and by August it probably drop below 80* outside even at night
 

drinkoj

Chicken Chaser
May 24, 2020
675
1,465
216
Upstate South Carolina
That was my original idea but my husband isn’t too thrilled about the idea of them inside and by August it probably drop below 80* outside even at night
I mainly brought them into the garage due to possible predators (feral cats and possums), if I didn't have a garage they would have stayed outside in the old dog kennel like they did the first week we had them.
Spending waaay too much on sheltering and feeding these 8 chicks not to make sure they survive.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
15,862
30,459
1,052
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
You can brood inside your coop or in another structure outside. Main concern is of course providing heat (or shade for coolness, if you have very high temps) as well as safety from predators.

I recycled an old coop into an outdoor brooder: https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/short-on-time-recycle-a-prefab-brooder.73985/ and I also use a heating pad. A lot less hassle for me brooding outside, and the chicks seem to harden against outdoor temperatures better by being outsides.

Do you get that heating pad from a feed store?

You use a normal human heating pad, without an auto shut off. If you don't want to DIY a set up, a commercial heat plate is also an option.
 

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