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raising 25 chicks to 6 weeks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by l'abeille, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. l'abeille

    l'abeille Songster

    Oct 16, 2009
    Berkeley, CA
    I ordered 25 chicks from a hatchery. My plan is to raise them to 6 weeks when they are fully feathered, then sell a bunch of them (at cost) to folks in the area who want to start chickens but want to avoid the incubator hassle. How much space do I need for them? they are large breeds like RIR. I don't have a lot of outdoor space, but have room in my garage--will that work? weather is very mild here. How long will I need to keep them in the house where I can check them frequently? 2 weeks?

  2. RM44

    RM44 Songster

    Jul 15, 2009
    Woodstock, Georgia
    Good luck. My 24 are now 5 weeks old today and it has been a huge pain having them in the house. I moved them to the basement last weekend (what a relief!), and am looking forward to moving them outside in mid to late February, weather permitting and if I can get them acclimated to the cold by turning the heat lamps lower and lower while in the basement over the next few weeks.

    I started my 24 out in a dog kennel that was 2' x 3', and within a week they were too crowded. Fortunately the end of the dog kennel had a door, so I was able to connect 2 more kennels (about 20" x 30") in a line for a total of about 12 square feet of space. In my opinion, they grew out of that space by about 3.5 weeks old. At 4.5 weeks old, I moved them down to the basement and into a 6' x 10' chain link dog kennel, and I think they will be fine in that space until they are a few months old.

    That has been my experience with space.

    And if there's any way possible, avoid putting them in your house. The dust is unbelievable. And when I saw other people post that, I thought they were just too picky, and since I'm not that great a housekeeper anyway, I figured I could live with it. WRONG!!!! They aren't kidding about the dust. Keep them in the basement if you have to, but avoid inside the house with that many.
  3. OverEggstended

    OverEggstended Songster

    Jan 11, 2010
    SW Washington State
    Dusty are they?

    As compared with a cockatoo? LOL
  4. schmije

    schmije Songster

    Aug 25, 2008
    Peoria, IL
    We have kept 25 large breeds in our spare bathroom in an area that's about 5' x 6' until 4 weeks. By then we're running the bathroom fan 24/7, and the smell is pretty bad. They're also pretty crowded and EXTREMELY dusty. It may be better if you can keep them in the garage, but you'll need some kind of enclosure with a top. 6 week old chicks are pretty big, and they can jump/fly surprisingly high. We try to sell our extras at 4 weeks. Most people can take them by then, because they're tolerant of normal household temperatures. We keep the remaining 10-12 in the bathroom until 6 weeks. It would probably be ok to move them to the garage at 2-3 weeks as long as you can control the temp and drafts out there.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2010
  5. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    My 38, Three-week olds would be in a pen on the north lawn, if it weren't for the gully washer headed our way.

    Can't wait till Sunday when they can go back on the lawn!
  6. l'abeille

    l'abeille Songster

    Oct 16, 2009
    Berkeley, CA
    thanks so much for all the input. I have no idea what I'm getting myself into, I see. Well, it will be an adventure for sure! I appreciate all the advice. Looks like I may be setting this up in the garage from the get go.
  7. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Get a kiddie pool if you can find one. Then wrap cardboard around the sides so there are no drafts. That should work for that many chicks. Just be sure not to hang the heat lamps too close to the cardboard.

  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    For the first three weeks or so plan on 1/2 square foot per chick. After that until 6 weeks, 1 square foot per chick should be enough. I had 28 chicks in 15 square feet until they were 4 weeks old and they were OK. It was certainly time for more space though.

    I started mine in a draft-free brooder in the coop, well away from the house. Your garage should work well if you can keep the temperatures pretty stable.
  9. l'abeille

    l'abeille Songster

    Oct 16, 2009
    Berkeley, CA
    so I'm now thinking of setting up a hanging heat lamp over a piece of plywood about 1 foot off the cement floor in my garage. Temps will be mid 50s to mid 70s. I will put a chick guard cardboard circle around them to start, and hang a sheet around the area as a second draft guard because the only way into the garage is the big car door. I also have an oil-filled radiator space heater. should I plan on using that? How long will the cardboard draft-guard work to confine the chicks?
  10. catdaddy66

    catdaddy66 Songster

    Nov 18, 2009
    Lugoff, SC
    I have 25 chicks due very soon and have made 2 small cardboard brooders (46" x 19" x 15" and 2' x 5' x 2') and plan on shuffling from one to another as needed, and probably using both as the grow. I am building an 8' x 8' tractor and hope to have it ready by the end of March 2010. If I have to I also have some free packing crates that are 3' x 5' or so, so I think I should have plenty of room to 6 weeks old![​IMG]

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