Newbie questions! Brooder size, hen vs rooster, etc.

ChikkiNikki

Hatching
6 Years
Apr 23, 2013
7
0
7
Heart of Dixie
Hi everyone. I am brand new here and brand new to raising chicks. Almost 2 weeks ago we got 15 chicks that are now 21 days old I think (may be a few days older...my math could be off). Anyways, my main question is regarding the brooder box. We set up a long 50 Gal. plastic storage tote/bin for the brooder. It looked like they had a ton of room when we brought the chicks home but they have probably doubled in size and seem to be really crowded now and I don't know what else to put them in. I considered connecting a few cardboard boxes together but I was wondering if anyone had any other ideas? We are on a very limited budget (as in, can't buy much of anything new right now, gotta use what I can find around the house.).

I am also finding they love to kick the pine shavings into their waterer. I tried placing the waterer on top of an upside down plate to give it a little height but the plate just gets covered with shavings and then it doesn't do much good. Suggestions for raising the waterer a little higher?

Lastly, we were told they were pretty sure all of the chicks were females but weren't 100%. I think maybe 2 might be males. How can I tell the difference? The reason why I was wondering is because 2 of the chicks combs are way bigger than all the others.

Thanks in advance!
 

BunnyLover44

Songster
6 Years
Apr 7, 2013
685
54
158
Orlando Flordia
hey this is BunnyLover44 i'll try to answer a few of your questions.1) if your have an extra bath tub you might can put them in there considering how big is it... but i think that they can live in the 50 Gal. brooder for a 1 or 2 weeks more so you have a little time before you have to move the bunch.2) maybe try to lifting the water spenser off the ground by a rope just enough so their heads can still drink out of it. 3) about the roosters i dont know i think i have that problom too (but i think mine are about 1/7 or 2/7 sorry) Good luck!!
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MontanaDolphin

Songster
6 Years
Feb 16, 2013
1,051
81
168
Columbia, Virginia
First, what breed of chicks do you have?

Second, the cardboard brooder idea will work. I did that. I used cardboard boxes, duct tape, razor (utility) knife, and wood glue. My brooder is 40 inches wide by 41 inches long and is 2 ft high. Took me two days to build cuz I had to let the wood glue dry, but it works! Here's pics of it. The top I just made today...used bamboo out of my yard as the frame and some old window screen (hence the tape since I had to piece it together and fix holes). Before I used the actual window screens but they didn't fit, so I had to overlap two of them. I cut four holes in the brooder to feed some sticks through for roosts. I also have a cardboard insert that I leak proofed because I switched from pine shavings to sand (best decision I ever made). I've used this brooder for two sets of chicks, and it's still in wonderful condition!






The only suggestion I can make regarding the water is to put it on a tier set up...kinda like a wedding cake...wide on bottom, next layer a bit smaller, next layer a bit smaller, then the top...this way it's like they have steps to get to the water. Since I use sand, I don't have the pine shavings in water problem anymore :), but, this is what I did when I WAS using pine shavings. I used wood pieces and a brick.
 

ChikkiNikki

Hatching
6 Years
Apr 23, 2013
7
0
7
Heart of Dixie
Thanks both of yall! We have 5 different breeds of chicks, three of each kind....Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, White Leghorns, Silver Laced Wyandottes, and Buff Orpingtons. I checked my calender and they ARE 21 days old today. :eek:) I can't believe how quickly they've grown.

After I posted the question I went searching for something to raise the water up with and found 2 scrap 2x4s. I stacked them on top of each other and put the water on them and so far it has been clean for probably 2 1/2 hours. Hallelujah!

Glad to hear that the cardboard boxes will work like that! When you say you leakproofed an insert, do you mean something to put on the floor under the sand? That was my main concern with the cardboard. I guess you could just wrap it with packing tape or something? What did you use?

I'm using old window screens on top also. :eek:) Right now we have our heat lamp clamped onto a tall wood pole that my DH screwed to the side of the brooder box. I will have to find a new solution when I make the new boxes but I see you just use a chair! I think I have an extra one of those lying around too. :eek:)
 

MontanaDolphin

Songster
6 Years
Feb 16, 2013
1,051
81
168
Columbia, Virginia
Thanks both of yall! We have 5 different breeds of chicks, three of each kind....Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, White Leghorns, Silver Laced Wyandottes, and Buff Orpingtons. I checked my calender and they ARE 21 days old today. :eek:) I can't believe how quickly they've grown.

After I posted the question I went searching for something to raise the water up with and found 2 scrap 2x4s. I stacked them on top of each other and put the water on them and so far it has been clean for probably 2 1/2 hours. Hallelujah!

Glad to hear that the cardboard boxes will work like that! When you say you leakproofed an insert, do you mean something to put on the floor under the sand? That was my main concern with the cardboard. I guess you could just wrap it with packing tape or something? What did you use?

I'm using old window screens on top also. :eek:) Right now we have our heat lamp clamped onto a tall wood pole that my DH screwed to the side of the brooder box. I will have to find a new solution when I make the new boxes but I see you just use a chair! I think I have an extra one of those lying around too. :eek:)
I might be able to help sex the barred rocks...unfortunately it's the only breed I'm familiar with.

When I say leakproofed the insert, I mean so that the sand doesn't leak through any corner holes or the fold at the bottom. I used wood glue to "fill" the corner holes, and then I used the tape and ran it over the "seams" and the wood glue once the glue dried. I didn't have a cardboard box slightly smaller than the brooder to fit, so I made the insert out of cardboard. Any seams I filled with wood glue, let it dry, than ran the tape over top of the glue. The rest of the cardboard insert is not covered in anything. It doesn't need to be...there's enough sand in the brooder to absorb any moisture that hits it...like their poop. It dries pretty fast due to the heat lamp. I'm not sure about if you use pine shavings...but I'd assume if the bedding layer is thick enough, you won't have to worry!
 

ChikkiNikki

Hatching
6 Years
Apr 23, 2013
7
0
7
Heart of Dixie
I spent all day today making the new brooder and I think it came out well! They look so small now that they're not crowded anymore and I think they're alot happier. Thanks so much for the help. I think all of my chicks are females except one or two of the Leghorns. The combs are just so much more pronounced than any of the others. Plus, one is getting something growing on it's neck I think. I don't know if that is a hen or a rooster thing. I have studied this website for 2 years learning about how to take care of the chicks before we got ours (2 weeks ago) but I never thought to read about the differences in males and females! :eek:)
 

MontanaDolphin

Songster
6 Years
Feb 16, 2013
1,051
81
168
Columbia, Virginia
I spent all day today making the new brooder and I think it came out well! They look so small now that they're not crowded anymore and I think they're alot happier. Thanks so much for the help. I think all of my chicks are females except one or two of the Leghorns. The combs are just so much more pronounced than any of the others. Plus, one is getting something growing on it's neck I think. I don't know if that is a hen or a rooster thing. I have studied this website for 2 years learning about how to take care of the chicks before we got ours (2 weeks ago) but I never thought to read about the differences in males and females! :eek:)

Yay! Glad you were able to make one!
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SobbaChickens

Songster
6 Years
Apr 24, 2013
642
53
128
Kansas
Glad you were able to build a new brooder for your chicks! Mine spent their first two weeks home in a tote in my bathtub but they were getting crowded and trying to fly so I sent them out of the house and into a dog crate turned brooder. Good luck!


Katie
 

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