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Size Brooder for 25 Chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Simeo, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. Simeo

    Simeo Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2013
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    So I ordered 25 (+1 Free Rare) from McMurrey Hatchery. 16 of them will be xRocks and the others are laying pullets. I'm all set for them for food, quik chick, feeder, water, brood lamp, etc. I was planning on keeping them in the 'brood box' for about 8-12 weeks as has been suggested. ((The meat birds may not make it outside...?))

    We had moved here a few months ago and have a BUNCH of cardboard boxes so I'm planning to make the technologically sound cardboard brooder from kathyinmo's brooder page [​IMG]

    I have an infinate number of cardboard boxes and the brooder will be in my office during 'the time'. What size should I make the box for this many chicks? Should I keep them in a small cardboard box then transfer them to a larger construct afterwards? Should I keep the meaties and layers seperate?

    I don't want them to be cramped but I don't want them to get lost in a ginormous brooder either. Input appreciated!
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    I think you should aim for 1.5 to 2 sq foot per chick. And a bit more, say 3-4 sq foot for the meaties. The layers will be out of there by the time they are fully feathered (6-7 weeks) and you can use that space for the meaties then, so keep that in mind also. It does sound like a lot of space, but they grown very quick (especially the meaties) and they'll run out of space soon. I think because of the growth rate difference it may be better to keep the layers and meaties separate. If you put in a temporary partition you can remove it when the layers go out to give the meaties more space.
    You could keep them in a smaller brooder while they are still tiny and make it bigger as they grow, but this may be more hassle for you later on. I found it's easier to keep them in a huge brooder from the start. I heat up about 1/4 of it for them with a heat lamp and they can run around and warm up and cool down as they please.
     
  3. Simeo

    Simeo Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2013
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    Ok, so about 50 sq ft? That does sound super large but I trust you. Could anybody second this?

    I could go up to '7x'10 (70 sq ft) before it becomes difficult to move (and work) in my home office.

    I'm not against using a 2x3ft box when they're super small then expanding into the large brooder.
     
  4. luckydux

    luckydux Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ARKANSAWWW!!
    I may not speak for everyone as I'm sure there are many exceptions, but yes I would raise your meat birds separately. My very first go around with chicks sounds very similar to your story thus far and I had no idea so I tried to raise them together. It worked for a short spell, or so I thought, but looking back I wouldn't do it again.
    Those rock crosses can be some pushy poultry around the feeders and your girls may not get a fair share.
     
  5. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    I'm thinking coop size recommendations for mature chickens are 4 sq foot per chicken. If your meaties are going to stay in the brooder until they are fully grown, then you should think big chicken space, not chick space.
     
  6. Simeo

    Simeo Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2013
    North Georgia
    Gotcha. So in the future I'm going to stick to hatching my own chicks if I could help it. I'll get the Brinsea 7 egg incubator because it has good reviews and is the perfect size. What size brooder would be for 7-10 dual-purpose chicks? 20 sqft? '4x'5? '3x'6? I'll construct a wooden perminate brooder later this spring for them.

    Thanks for the input. I understand the logic now of the large brooder for meaties.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
  7. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    20 sq foot would be great for them, yes. More space to play [​IMG] Another member posted a good guideline for brooder size recently:

    Up to 2 weeks, 1/2 sq ft per chick
    Up to 4 weeks, 1 sq ft per chick
    Up to 8 weeks 1.5 sq ft per chick
    After that 4 sq ft per chick.

    I aim for 1.5 sq ft per chick form the word go as I found it easier to put them in the brooder and leave them there, without having to modify it (apart from raising the heat lamp). That also allows me to climb in there and play with them LOL
     
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I would plan to move those birds outside earlier, especially the cornish cross. Have you read the meat bird section about how much a cornish cross poops? I would think they'd be a serious health hazard to brood in the house more than 3 weeks or so. The smell would be massive and keeping them clean would be a full time job itself. Plus, those babies are going to be 8lbs each by 8 weeks old. That much bird takes up over a square foot of space just sitting still!

    I've not heard of keeping birds in a brooder box for that long. By six weeks most breeds are feathered out and ready to go outside. They definately don't need supplemental heat at 3 months old.

    I'd seperate the layers from the meaties. I'd plan to move the meaties outside, maybe with supplemental heat depending on where you live, around 3-4 weeks old. 16 meaties of that size I'd want around 60 square feet for. My thought is, why raise your own food if you're going to raise it in the same confinement style of the big operations?

    The layers, I'd plan to move out at around 6 weeks. 11 birds, they're smaller than the cornish, you could probably get by with 25-30 square feet.

    Be aware of watching for signs of overcrowding. Chicks pecking to the point of drawing blood is overcrowding, so is excessive bullying.

    You do know your rare chick is quite likely to be a rooster?
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013

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