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Outdoor brooder size question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by blessedmamato3, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. blessedmamato3

    blessedmamato3 In the Brooder

    Jul 11, 2011
    Hi all,

    I want to take my chicks outside to better ventilation when they are a week old. It's hot here and doesn't drop below 90 at night.

    Anyway, would a rectangular or square brooder be best? How tall should it be? I'll be caging in all sides, with scrap wood on the ends to help with drafts.

    It's 6" of space per chick, right? Will this apply when they are in that transition period before going to the coop? They are 4 days now. So, if that's the case, I would need 10 square feet or would that be 10 linear feet (I have 20 chicks)?
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2011

  2. kira782

    kira782 In the Brooder

    May 18, 2011
    Littleton, Colorado
    I'm new to chicks so I don't have a whole lot of experience but what I have learner over the past 3 weeks is make your brooder as big as you can! The brooder I made for my 4 chicks has quickly been out grown. Now I have them outside during the day in a large wire dog crate (wrapped in hardware wire) and back in the small one at night. But even the large dog crate is getting small for 4 chicks. I can't wait till the coop/run is finished next week!
  3. Kaitie09

    Kaitie09 Songster

    May 28, 2009
    South Central, PA
    Do you have full grown chickens, or are these your first? If they are your first, you could put them directly into the coop once it is done.

    If you have full grown chicken, you should wait until they are 5-6 weeks old. I just put two in that were 6 weeks old and they had a brooder that was 4x6 for themselves. If you need to keep them out I would suggest doing it as big as you can. I would try to give them 1sq ft per bird if possible, and put them out at 5-6 weeks or you will need a bigger one.
  4. blessedmamato3

    blessedmamato3 In the Brooder

    Jul 11, 2011
    Thanks! How tall does it need to be? I'm not sure ho w tall they are that that point.

    Our coop will not have a run, as they will be free to roam, so I'd like to stick with a brooder until they are 6ish weeks.

    Is a rectangle better? It would seem to give them more room to run around, versus a square.
  5. Wimberleytexaschick

    Wimberleytexaschick Songster

    Apr 25, 2011
    Wimberley, Texas
    I built an 6' long x 2' deep brooder. Had 19 chicks outside in it for a month+, worked great.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    That is not 6" for each chick. It is half a square foot, which means an area 12" x 6" for each chick. That should be good until they are about 4 to 4-1/2 weeks old.

    I made mine 3' x 5' and 2 feet high. I kept 28 chicks in it until they were about 4-1/2 weeks old. They did fine, but they were looking a bit crowded when I let them out. If you are going for 6 weeks, I'd make it a fair amount bigger than half a square foot each. I'd think a 3 x 5 or 4 x 4 might be big enough, but I don't think it will give you much room to spare. Building material often comes in 8' lengths. That's why I'm mentioning those dimensions.

    One problem you might have is that you may have trouble reaching in to all parts of it. I made a net out of a net onion bag and a stiff wire so I could catch them.

    You might consider making it mostly out of hardware cloth to get good ventilation. In this weather it can easily get real hot in there without good ventilation. Heat will kill them faster than cool. I do think they need a draft guard for nights and when the wind is blowing, but the upper half of the sides and the top can be hardware cloth. Wimberleytexaschick's looks pretty good if it is outside. It gives rain protection, but if it is inside or where the rain can't get to it (assuming it does eventually rain here again) I'd prefer more ventilation up high.

    The chicks are not real tall but I think 2 feet is a good height. It gives you some room if you have to reach in there. One of their favorite games is to run/fly from one side to the other. They will use more of that 2 feet height than you would expect, but my main reason is so you can reach in there.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2011

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