Planning the lodging for 15 baby chicks who will arrive in two weeks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jaslyman, Mar 21, 2016.

  1. jaslyman

    jaslyman In the Brooder

    Mar 12, 2016
    In two weeks, we look forward to the arrival of 15 baby chicks from McMurray's (the 'Ornamental Layers' collection). We are trying to plan things out for their arrival so that everything's ready in advance - reading lots of books and articles but it's hard to find consistent information and would love to hear any advice / feedback for those of you with experience! We have a dog and cat that might show an unhealthy (for the chicks anyway) interest in our new visitors, so we are planning for some good protection as well.

    We have a spare room in a corner of the house away from other bedrooms that we were thinking we might use for Phase 1: the first week (or 2 - depending on noise/order). We were thinking of then moving them into our garage (Phase 2) - detached / uninsulated for the next several weeks, then in Phase 3, when temps warm up and they no longer need a heat lamp, out to their coop (which currently doesn't have electricity, so we can't have a heat lamp out there).

    1. How does that progression sound? Is it reasonable to think we could have them inside for 1-2 weeks, assuming we are pretty diligent about cleaning?

    2. For Phase 1 (inside), would a 50g storage tote be sufficient for 15 chicks? Again they'd be in there for just 1-2 weeks. - dimensions are 44'' long x 22'' wide x 18" high. We'd keep our pets out of the room and cover the tote with a modified lid using hardware cloth to allow air/light in. We are thinking of using the non-stick shelf liners for the bedding for easy clean up.

    3. For Phase 2 (garage), I'd build a plywood enclosure that will have to last as long as they need a heat lamp (since no power in the coop area). I assume I'll need 2-3 sq feet per bird by the end of this 6ish week period, correct? So this will have be a pretty good size structure.

    Thanks for helping out with any advice / suggestions you have!

  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I see no reason for phase 1. Since you have electricity in the garage they can immediately go there. That simplifies your life. What you are trying to do in a brooder is to have one area warm enough and let the rest cool off. Even straight out of the incubator or from the post office they are really good about self-regulating their heat requirements when given an option. Some of us use heat lamps, the heating pad cave is trending right now, and there are other methods. As long as you can keep one area warm enough in the coldest weather and an area cool enough in the warmest weather you are doing great.

    I’ve kept 28 chicks, mostly females, in a 3’ x 5’ brooder until they were 5 weeks old. I kept 21 chicks, mostly males, in that same brooder for five weeks. In both cases it was starting to get a little crowded in there. Trying to keep them for six weeks would have probably been a stretch. For fifteen female chicks for six weeks I’d think this would be about the minimum size you’d want. I’m all in favor of providing some extra room but 2 square feet per chick at six weeks, not required.
  3. jaslyman

    jaslyman In the Brooder

    Mar 12, 2016
    Thanks for the quick reply. I think our rationale for Phase 1 was that this is our first time with baby chicks and I know we'll be kind of worried about them AND the kids will want to play with them. Having them inside the house seems to make it easier to do quick checks (temp, food, water, behavior). But I hear what you're saying. Seems like the only downside is having to get the separate storage container and potential noise/odor issues. If it's down to the 40's at night in the garage, hopefully the 250w heat lamp would be sufficient.

    I've been reading about the heating pad approach, which sounds pretty intriguing.

    Thanks again - really appreciate hearing from you!

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