Our First Batch of "Babies"


12 Years
Oct 24, 2010
We received our first batch of babies on Wednesday. We have 25 layers and 50 meat birds. I built a brooder out of cardboard boxes and duct tape. I didn't really know how big to make it, since I didn't have a clue what 75 chicks would look like. So, the brooder ended up being WAY too big and the duct tape wouldn't stay stuck to the box. A couple of chicks became stuck to the tape and one died a few hours after my husband was able to free her. The rest seem to be doing fine. We've moved them all to a box that is a better size and doesn't require tape to hold it together.

I wanted to post a few photos here.


they're cute now, but 75 is alot of chicks and they will outgrow your box within two weeks.

Also.. by two weeks you'll need to separate the layers from the meaties.

They have different requirements and should be kept separate.
We put our birds in large animal cages, like you would use for guinea pigs or rabbits. As they got older we used large dog crates until we decided that we were going to keep them and built our coop. We had lamps on them in the animal cages but weaned them off the lamp by the time we put them in the dog crates.
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Six weeks ago I received shipment of 33 chicks, 12 meaties and the rest heritage dual purpose. One meatie was dead in the box and one other chick died a day later. I thought I was well prepared, but those meat chicks grow like wildfire. I had to separate the two after a week, then the meat chicks outgrew their huge brooder by week two. I put them out in a 5 ft. x 10 ft. pasture pen before they were three weeks old. By three weeks the DP birds had to go outside, too. I could not keep up with the explosive growth of 31 chickens, with 11 of them being meaties. Luckily it has been so warm that I never had to use a heat lamp and they were fully feathered at three weeks.

By close to six weeks, they had outgrown the pasture pen, so I had to move the meaties out to pasture with a hoop-house shelter. Even just the 20 DP chicks make moving the 50 square foot pasture pen necessary almost every day. I can't imagine trying to house and care for 50 meaties! They are HUGE by three weeks old, and they poop 10 times as much as the regular chicks.
I appreciate all the feedback. I wasn't sure when I was going to need to separate the two kinds, but now I know it needs to be soon! We are planning to pasture them at 3 weeks (in pens) and put the layers in a chicken tractor. I'm sure I'm not prepared for the rate of growth, but I'm going to try my best. In the spring, when I order more, I'll be sure to have a better brooder.
I wouldn't worry aabout a larger crate, by the time you get it they will be too big for it, I used a soft pet carrier for a nest box util the coop was done. they slept in it and I put them outside in the playpen during the day (less poopy for me to clean up) at night they'd al get in the case to sleep and I hung that up from a rafter in the coop (no door), it started getting heavy lol, one day they just beat me to it, the night the door was ready, I was late and they just skipped the case and went into the coop to sleep on a bale of straw (smart chiccks heh) they were only eleven of them, i thought that was alot!
My husband took a small pet fence we had and put cardboard around the bottom half of the fence. It's twice as big as the space they had. But you all are right, those little boogers are growing FAST! The wing feathers are out and they look like they could fly out any minute!

I sure appreciate having a place where I can get so much valuable feedback. Thanks, everyone!

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