Planning for spring chicks

Jan 25, 2020
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Manitoba, Canada
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.
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Thanks so much!
That gives me a pretty good idea of how much space is needed.

I do have heat lamps, but read the disadvantages of those vs. mama caves or heat plates.
I am having a very hard time finding a heat pad without auto shut off. I found one on amazon.ca (that can’t be shipped to my adress!) that Is $76. Which is why I am exploring the Brinsea route right now.
 

springvalley123

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Thanks so much!
That gives me a pretty good idea of how much space is needed.

I do have heat lamps, but read the disadvantages of those vs. mama caves or heat plates.
I am having a very hard time finding a heat pad without auto shut off. I found one on amazon.ca (that can’t be shipped to my adress!) that Is $76. Which is why I am exploring the Brinsea route right now.
Maybe the model I have is available in Canada?? Here's a picture of the control. sorry I no longer have the box or paperwork showing the model number. It doesn't have auto shut-off, maybe that's the issue you're running into up there.
 

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3KillerBs

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This is my outdoor brooder: https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/run-to-outdoor-brooder-conversion.76634/ It's vastly over-sized -- which turned into an advantage.

Some recommendations for brooder space are half a square foot per chick up to 4 weeks and then 1 square foot up to 8 weeks. That seems pretty tight to me -- though after 4-6 weeks my chicks have been integrating into the flock in the coop/run.

Even the dozen chicks in that brooder the first time used all the space after the first week (I blocked off half of it to keep them near the heat and food until they got used to it).

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)."

And this is why I decided to use heat lamps instead of investing in a brooder plate.

It's a matter of personal opinion, but I feel that a well-secured heat lamp (hung from a chain, not the stupid clamp), in a roomy brooder is less of a fire hazard than a heating pad because a heat lamp IS designed to be on continually for a month while a heating pad is designed to be used only for an hour or less at a time even if it doesn't have an auto-shut-off.

The one disadvantage of brooding outdoors is the wide swings of ambient temperature -- in spring or fall I can have 90F one afternoon and 40F two nights later. A heat lamp can be adjusted by raising or lowering the chain, changing bulbs, or using a plug-in dimmer. A brooder plate doesn't have that problem, but might not be enough heat if temperatures drop too far.
 

3KillerBs

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Jan 25, 2020
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StinkyAcres

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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.
Wow...I think you just saved me $50. I was close to buying a small chick brooding plate, but I didn't think about when the chicks get too big for it. Thank you!
 

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