Planning for spring chicks

Jan 25, 2020
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Manitoba, Canada
I am reading all the posts I can find about raising chicks in an outside brooder. I have a large chicken coop and plan on having the brooder in a sectioned off part, so the chicks grow up seeing the adults. (I live in a very cold climate (MB, Canada), so I am waiting for spring with this. Meanwhile I want to get everything ready.)
I will probably have more questions down the road, but today I am wondering how big the mama cave or Brooder plate needs to be for 6-8 chicks. The outdoor temps in March can still drop to -20*F. I still don’t know how warm my new big insulated chicken coop will stay at those temps.

I am looking at this
https://www.berryhill.ca/Brinsea-EcoGlow-Safety-600-Chick-Brooder-p/br00611.htm
Or this
https://www.berryhill.ca/Brinsea-EcoGlow-Safety-1200-Chick-Brooder-p/br00612.htm

Thanks for any input.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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The outdoor temps in March can still drop to -20*F.
That's pretty darn cold.
What are the range of temps at the time your plan on having chicks out there?
You might have to wait until later in the year.
I've had chicks with a broody down to -5°F for a night or two, but it's risky and I wouldn't recommend it.
Most plates have a CYA that say not to use them at less than 50°F.

@aart is good with how much space chicks need.
The heat plates are as bad as the tiny coops at estimating number of birds.
I made my own 12x24 and it just barely covered 16 chicks until they were fully feathered.
 
Jan 25, 2020
307
936
206
Manitoba, Canada
That's pretty darn cold.
What are the range of temps at the time your plan on having chicks out there?
You might have to wait until later in the year.
I've had chicks with a broody down to -5°F for a night or two, but it's risky and I wouldn't recommend it.
Most plates have a CYA that say not to use them at less than 50°F.


The heat plates are as bad as the tiny coops at estimating number of birds.
I made my own 12x24 and it just barely covered 16 chicks until they were fully feathered.
Thanks for your reply.

I am monitoring this winter how warm the coop stays when it goes to those temps. The plan is to get the chicks when the coop stays above freezing most of the time.

What is the advantage to make your own brooder plate or mama cave versus a bought heat plate?
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
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SW Michigan
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I’m thinking if your homemade 12x24 (barely) covered 16 chicks
Just measured a pad, it's 11.5 x 23", so yeah, not quite exactly 12 x 24".

then the bigger Brinsea 1200 should cover 6-8 chicks just fine.
https://www.berryhill.ca/Brinsea-EcoGlow-Safety-1200-Chick-Brooder-p/br00612.htm
"Dimensions: 20x3x12"
Hopefully this dimension is accurate......and should be fine for 6-8 chicks.

I see they have added some qualifiers to the population description:
"The new EcoGlow Safety 1200 Chick Brooder is ideal to raise up to 35 newly hatched chicks or ducklings (20 to 25 older chicks depending on age and size)"
Still, the 'older' leaves room for 'error'...could mean 3 days old.
They get big fast, especially most ducklings.


A bit different info at the Brinsea site
https://www.brinsea.com/p-620-ecoglow-safety-1200-chick-brooder.aspx
Different dimensions:
"Dimensions: 17" long x 12" wide x 9" high"

Along with that disclaimer I mentioned above about ambient temps:
"IMPORTANT: This product is for indoor use only and the room temperature should not drop below 50°F (10°C)."
 

springvalley123

Crowing
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May 22, 2015
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How much room do 6-8 chicks take up, until fully feathered?? For reference, here are 6, month-old hybrid marans/barred rock (midnight majesty maran), sitting on a 2x4 (3.5 inch by approx 18 inches). See, they're not fully feathered here, so they probably doubled in size from here before they turned 8 weeks. As pictured, they'd probably fill the space of the 1200 brooder, plus they got bigger than shown here before their necks fully feathered. (yes the far left is a barred rock female, and the far right was a cockerel). FWIW, I'm a coward--I used the brinsea when I had them in the laundry room but used a brooder bulb when I put them outside this time of year, last year, with low temps just below freezing. I'd only suggest having a backup plan and a way to monitor them so you'll know if they need additional heat, or if the heat source fails. That could be fairly inexpensive with a heating pad or hanging bulb if you so chose, or pretty expensive with a brinsea.
IMG_0492.jpg
 

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