Question about brooders from a newbie

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by pollitos2013, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. Hi there, could be a really dumb question but why does a brooder need a lid for the first 4 weeks? Do the little baby chicks fly out of there? We were planning on making a brooder out of cardboard boxes taped together in the garage with the light and feeders and thermometer and so on but now I feel like I need more information... Any help out there?
    Thanks from northern Michigan
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging

    Feb 18, 2011
    Ya, the chicks will jump or fly out, especially if they can stand on the feeders or waterers.. My baby brooder cages are about two feet high and I have to keep the lids down after about two weeks most of the time. Some breeds are more likely to try and get out than others.
  3. RonC

    RonC Songster

    Feb 28, 2012
    They have wing feathers at a week and immediately start trying them out. By two weeks they are rather proficient flyers and at a month they probably will be as good as they will get. Large boxes make excellent brooders. A refrigerator box or watermelon box make good brooders. At 4 weeks you will need 2 sq feet per chick. Just make one brooder and save yourself the trouble of upsizing. It's only necessary to keep one area warm in the brooder unless it's huge and you have a lot of chicks.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2013
  4. Thanks so much. I will make one big brooder. Next question: what do I cover it with? Old screens or do I buy chicken wire, hardware cloth, or netting? Our garage is new and predator proof, I hope.
  5. RonC

    RonC Songster

    Feb 28, 2012
    Anything you mentioned will work. You do need ventilation in the brooder so covering the top with something like those will work. My brooder was made of old screens for windows with a 2x4 wire fencing top and framework. It wasn't pretty but the chickss and I didn't mind and it served it's purpose. Total it was only about 8 sq ft but I had only 6 little ones in it. By four weeks they had outgrown it but was time to go to the coop/run by then or build another and the weather was nice. Being where you are they will probably have to stay in the brooder for 5 weeks to make sure they are feathered enough to go out so larger is better.
  6. Thank you RonC and Kelsie - I feel so much better about this new adventure knowing that you all are out there willing to share information!
  7. sepaditty1

    sepaditty1 Songster

    Mar 29, 2008
    South Carolina
    I bought a large plastic tote. Cut the center, square part out of the lid & attached chicken wire to the frame to cover the hole. Now I have a lid that easily snaps on & off and fits perfectly.

    My last brooder was the bottom of a tote but no lid. Just laid chicken wire over the top. Never stayed in place. Big hassle. I'm hoping this is more user friendly. We'll see on Tuesday when my babies get here!
  8. Here is our brooder![​IMG]

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