Newbie brooder suggestions

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ImNotYogi, Dec 8, 2014.

  1. ImNotYogi

    ImNotYogi Songster

    Dec 8, 2014
    Eastern NC
    Hi, everyone. My name is Liam and I've must have gone through a million threads before finally joining. I've ordered some chicks from McMurray for an April arrival (though I'm considering canceling and buying locally/in a NC). In either case I started working on the brooder recently. I know the general rule of them of sq ft per bird, especially if theyre kept in longer. One section is 2.5x2.5 and the other is 4x4. At the moment, the plan is to get a few speckled sussex, silver and golden laced wyandottes, easter eggers, and delawares. The square footage is a little smaller than what the number of birds require (not counting any additional chicks McMurray throws in atop the 15 min). I'm wondering if anyone with a similar mix of breeds did okay with similar sized brooder. Or if I'm having beginner paranoia. I want to stop any potential issuea asap.

    Thanks for any advice
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    It's a start; just have your coop and run ready VERY SOON after they arrive. Mine start either in a big stock tank, or a couple of big dog crates, and move to their coop space when I think it's time. I've been happy with the MMcM birds, and have always gotten batches of 25 to 50, to split with friends. They have been really accurate sexing the baby chicks, and I get them vaccinated for Marek's disease too. Enjoy!!! Mary
  3. ImNotYogi

    ImNotYogi Songster

    Dec 8, 2014
    Eastern NC
    Thanks for the reply. I'm getting materials for the coop and will have it done before the arrive. Or within the week of arrival. Im hoping to put them out sooner than 6 weeks or so. Up until last year the winters here have been pretty mild. So we'll see. The coop I'm planning will be an elevated 8x8 in a 30x30 run.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    2.5x2.5 is ok for the first week probably...then you're going to want to open up the 4x4 part.
    They get big fast!

    Keep your chick heat to a minimum so they feather out faster and you can get them outside into the coop sooner.

    Here's my notes on heating chicks, maybe some of them will help you out:

    They need to be pretty warm(~85F on the brooder floor right under the lamp) for the first day or two, especially if they have been shipped, until they get to eating, drinking and moving around well. But after that it's best to keep them as cool as possible for optimal feather growth and quicker integration to outside temps. A lot of chick illnesses are attributed to too warm of a brooder.

    The best indicator of heat levels is to watch their behavior:
    If they are huddled/piled up right under the lamp and cheeping very loudly, they are too cold.
    If they are spread out on the absolute edges of the brooder as far from the lamp as possible, panting and/or cheeping very loudly, they are too hot.
    If they sleep around the edge of the lamp calmly just next to each other and spend time running all around the brooder they are juuuust right!

    The lamp is best at one end of the brooder with food/water at the other cooler end of the brooder, so they can get away from the heat or be under it as needed. Wattage of 'heat' bulb depends on size of brooder and ambient temperature of room brooder is in. Regular incandescent bulbs can be used, you might not need a 'heat bulb'. You can get red colored incandescent bulbs at a reptile supply source. A dimmer extension cord is an excellent way to adjust the output of the bulb to change the heat without changing the height of the lamp.

    Or there are a variety of purchased or DIY 'heat plates' that can be used in place of a light, which is nice to get them used to it being dark and sleeping at night after the first day or two.

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