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Newbie here - brooder size for 15 chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by krepanie, Feb 18, 2015.

  1. krepanie

    krepanie Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 18, 2015
    I've been lurking and reading on here for a while, but this is my first post. :)

    We are getting 15 day old chicks soon and I planned on putting the brooder together in the next couple of days. I originally planned on a 50 gallon rubbermaid tub for them, but I think that may be too small for 15 chicks. I'd prefer to keep them together. I really like the plans for Amferro103's brooder on this site, but again am concerned it could end up being too small before we are ready to move them outside.

    I've seen suggestions that say to start with .5-1 sq ft per chick initially, moving up to 1.5-2 sq ft per chick after 4 weeks. Is it okay to just start off with the size they'll need the entire time they are in the brooder?

    I would like the brooder to live in our laundry room, which is a pretty good size. I assumed that the chicks would be in there for 4-8 weeks, probably more like 6-8 weeks. Hubs will be building the coop while they are brooding, so we don't have another enclosed place for them until that is complete.

    Any feedback or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advanced!
     
  2. krepanie

    krepanie Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 18, 2015
    I should add that 4 of the 15 are bantams, so I am not sure if that changes the amount of space needed in the brooder.
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    I brood in a 3 x 6 chicken tractor. (Dual purpose!) My ideal is to have at least 1 s.f./chick. They grow super fast. Last spring, I kept them in a little tote for the first 24 hours, just to get them started, then moved them down to the tractor in the garage. If hubby is building a brooder for you, you might consider making a tractor, then lining it on the inside with cardboard to keep down the drafts. If you do this, I recommend that you use 1/2" hardware cloth so it will be as predator proof as possible. also, straight construction staples are NOT predator or even pet proof! You could also use a large appliance box. Beware, they will produce an INCREDIBLE amount of dust. Not a good situation around a dryer. Would increase the risk of fire.
     
  4. Ol Grey Mare

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

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    Yes - you can start with the larger size brooder rather than having two separate brooders to meet the size needs - if the babies have a tendency to get "lost" (ie seem to not be finding the warmth, food and water - especially in the first few days) in the big brooder, a temporary sectioning off can keep them more contained w/out having to build two separate brooders.
    *I* would not try to account for the bantams as a way to reduce the overall size of the brooder - keep in mind that the sizes are a "minimum space per bird" guideline - so more is always better - even though the bantams are smaller that "extra" space you allowed for them can be beneficial to all the chicks.
    Be sure to account for any feeders/water stations that will be in the brooder as part of the available space allotment - depending on the type of container used you can often lose 1 or more chick's worth of space just in adding those in.
    I would start on the build sooner rather than later - while it may sound like plenty of time for the coop to be constructed, delays happen and it's no fun for you or your birds if it takes longer than planned to finish the coop and you have 10-12 week or older birds crammed in the brooder.
     
  5. krepanie

    krepanie Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 18, 2015
    Good points on the extra space and accounting for the feeders/water stations. Thank you!

    He is starting not he coop on Saturday. The chicken yard took longer than expected due to the flu and another virus making the rounds with all four of our kids and him. We finally finished that, and now he will start on the coop. But again, good points. Thanks!
     
  6. henless

    henless Chillin' With My Peeps

    If your wanting something temporary, you can try using a watermelon box from a grocery store. I got mine from Walmart for free. It held 21 chicks for a couple weeks until we got the in coop brooder finished.

    If one isn't big enough, you can always get 2, tear one side apart and connect them together. I would get a sheet or curtain to cover the top to help keep them in and other stuff out.
    [​IMG]


    I have 21 chicks in there. They are all under my Premier heat plate.

    [​IMG]


    Here is the brooder they moved into at 2 weeks of age. Around 4 weeks of age, I started letting them out during the day and then put them back up in the brooder at night. My brooder is 3' x 10'.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    While it's fun to have the chicks and brooder in the house for a couple of weeks - believe me - you will really want them outside after about 3 weeks. They produce an incredible amount of dust, which goes everywhere! It's much better to have this type of dust in a garage than in a house, where sleeping and eating surfaces can quickly get contaminated.

    Large boxes work great for brooders and can be composted or thrown away when you're done.
     
  8. krepanie

    krepanie Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 18, 2015
    Good to know on the construction staples. Thank you!

    And that is true o the dust and the fire hazards. Our laundry room is fairly large, but I don't want to cause more risk.
     
  9. krepanie

    krepanie Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 18, 2015
    We don't have a garage or covered outside space right now, other than the porch. It is still pretty cold at nights here, so that is not an option for the brooder initially. We may just keep them in the office, which is far from sleeping and eating spaces, for the first 3 weeks and then move them outside in the brooder (I think we are going to make one that we can secure at night outside) until the coop is ready. I had thought about the large boxes, but since we will need a secure brooder for outside, we might as well start with that.

    Thanks for the heads up! :)
     

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