Newbie has questions

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by act5860, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. act5860

    act5860 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 14, 2013
    Ridgeland, SC
    The week of Nov 3rd I'll be receiving chicks for the first time. I'll be getting 3 Golden Buff and 4 White Leghorn females. My questions concern brooding them. How big a box am I going to need? How far above the chicks should a red 250 watt heat lamp be to start?

    I am so looking forward to getting them home and imprinting them. Pics will be posted as soon as they're home. BTW, I'm in the process of building an 8x8 coop.
     
  2. mtngirl35

    mtngirl35 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 10, 2013
    Tennessee
    I brooded 13 chicks in a 4x2 box. It was 2 ft high. They got a bit crowded the last week but not too bad. I put a thermometer in the box. They started out liking 95 degrees and that decreased as they got older. The height of the lamp depended how the chicks were acting. If they were spread out to the edges I raised the lamp up so the brooder would cool off. If they huddled up I would lower the light to warm the brooder up. I had a wire mesh lid on the brooder so I know the lamp was never lower than 2 foot above the chicks. A lid is a necessity for 2 reasons. The chicks will get flighty as they get older and can escape without the lid and in case of a mishap it won't allow the lamp to fall into the brooder. My chicks preferred a red bulb to a clear one.
     
  3. act5860

    act5860 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 14, 2013
    Ridgeland, SC
    Thanks for the quick reply. I've got a 4x5 box, so that should be plenty of room for the 7 of them.
     
  4. jtn42248

    jtn42248 Overrun With Chickens

    Good breed selections. They will however grow faster than you might think. So, not only do you want to be ready for the new chicks when they come but you will have only a couple of months to be ready for their outside pen and environment. Most of the online hatcheries have pretty good step by step instructions on their sites about how to take care of new chicks. I am guessing you are getting day old chicks so your heat lamp should probably start about 18 inches or so above them. Get you brooding area all set up at least a day before they arrive so that you can have the heat lamp on and check the temp. The first week about 95 degrees is recommended. Then raise the heat source (which lowers the temp) about 5 degrees a week until the brooder temp and the ambient room temp are the same. At that point you should be able to eliminate the head lamp except if it gets extremely cold.

    Make sure you have chick starter (non-medicated if you had them inoculated), feeders and waterers, Put down a layer of shavings or other bedding in the brooder and cover it with paper towels for the first few days (this assist the chick in figuring out that feed is food and shavings are not). Have on hand some electrolytes (you can get individual packets that mix with their water) and give them that the first few days to help reduce the effects of stress that they will probably be experiencing.

    If your box/brooder is 4x7 that will provide 28 square feet which should be ample for most of their time until ready to go outside. You can move them outside after they are fully feathered (I would not move them earlier since it is coming up winter).
    Have something (1/4 inch fence fabric, chicken wire, netting) to cover the brooder box with. After a couple of weeks they will experiment with flying and you will have to chase them down if they get out before you are ready.

    Good luck to you with your new chicks, they are a real pleasure.
     

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