Now What?


9 Years
Sep 14, 2010
Hi all! I had my broody hatch out 5 chicks. They are currently 1 week old, and are living in a large Rubbermaid tote in my bathroom (around 68F) along with Mama. This arrangement is working fine for the time being, but what do I do next? I imagine pretty soon life in the tote is going to feel cramped. I have a brooder area fenced off in my 6'X8' coop (4 other hens live out there), but I don't know when it's safe to transition them out there. I live in Iowa, where the temps are still only highs of around 30F. I have a heat lamp currently in the coop, so the temp in there is usually at least 40F. I have another heat lamp (red bulb) I can put directly over the brooder area, so that could probably raise the temp above them to 50F or more?

When is it safe to move them out there? Will the heat lamp and Mama be enough to keep them warm enough?
If it will be a while still, what do I do for space in the meantime? If it was only chicks in the tote, they could probably stay in there longer, but we have big fluffy Mama in there too.
How long do they stay in the brooder area? It's probably around 15 sq feet. Do I keep Mama in there with them until the chicks are ready to transition to the flock?

I search for information on how to care for chicks, and it's always day-old chicks arriving in a box from a hatchery...not really my situation.

Thanks guys! This place is such a wealth of information. Here's a pic from earlier this week of my cuties.

You're right, they ARE cuties! In my experience with "home grown" chicks, I just let mom do the work. They probably can stay in there for about week (you'll be surprised how fast they grow and feather), then you may want to move them to larger brooder. If you have separate cage that you can move to the main coop, do that. Mom will keep them warm. I moved mine out to the garage during Dec. and Jan. until my other coop was finished. At about 8 weeks, I moved them outside. Keep in mind, they were fully feathered at that point. Mom was doing little and actually seemed to want to "dump" them.

As soon as I moved them out to the coop, she made a bee-line through a hole between the two coop yards, back to her original flock....babies were on their own. For a while, I kept them isolated in their coop, feeding them and watering them separately from the rest of the flock. Eventually I opened the door and, voila, they became a part of the flock.

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