Sizes of Private Pens (maternity wards, brooders, integration pens, sick bays, etc.)?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by catcrazy37, Feb 15, 2016.

  1. catcrazy37

    catcrazy37 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've re-typed this entire post as I didn't really ask what I wanted to.

    My main question is I don't really understand how chickens fit into the small spaces I've seen.

    1. Say I have half a dozen chicks in a large plastic tub or dog cage. By the time they're eight weeks, won't they have outgrown this small space?

    2. If I put the chicks in a growout pen, won't it have to be quite large to contain all of them?

    3. When introducing new chickens to the coop, you're supposed to put them in a private pen for a few days, so the other chickens can get used to them. Won't the small space bother them?
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2016
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    You can start brooding in a smaller space, but you are correct that the area needs to increase pretty quickly.

    I haven't used a grow out pen, but it does need to be large enough to give everyone space. Crowded birds often become pecking birds.

    A separation pen can be smaller because the bird shouldn't be in it long term, if they are they should be let out for exercise.

    Shoulds are different sometimes than what people do, the lessons usually have to be learned the hard way, which most likely will be severely pecked birds or dead birds. There's a good reason birds in production are debeaked.
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    There's no reason why you can't just brood in a large pen in your run or coop to start with. The important issue is adequate heat, a heat source beneath which chicks can warm up. the remainder of their pen can be any size you want, the bigger, the better. You're aiming for a minimum of ten square feet or meters per adult bird.

    I've found that baby chicks are so much happier and content when they have a lot of space to run in. Most people never get to see how fast baby chicks move when running full tilt since they have them crowded in a small tub.

    It also greatly enhances a chick's self confidence when they're give a large "world view", and can learn from an early age how things work, rather than suddenly finding themselves in a large pen after spending weeks not being able to see anything other than the confining walls of their brooder.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Yes, many people make the mistake of tricking out a tote or crate then have to build a much bigger brooding space after a week or so.
     
  5. chicapee

    chicapee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First brooder. Plastic tote. 2x3

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    Next size up is a large metal stock tank. 3x4

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    Outdoor brooder and run. 4x10

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    Grow out pen. 16x20ft when it was under construction. I need to get an updated pic.

    [​IMG]

    Then they split off to various breeding pens.

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    This one is currently under construction for meat birds.

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    I hope some of these give you ideas. I also use a large dog crate to brood if the weather is hot. It has good ventilation.

    Eta. Most of my pens have connecting runs so they can all socialize prior to intergration.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2016
  6. catcrazy37

    catcrazy37 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you all so much! You've cleared up much of my confusion. My original plan was:
    0-8 weeks: (little) brooder
    8-18 weeks: grow out pen
    18 weeks+: main coop
    I can see it will require some revision.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2016
  7. chicapee

    chicapee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That looks like a good plan.
     
  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Everyone does everything differently, I put my young ones outside in the sun on nice days than back to the brooder, chicks get bored easy so putting them out keeps them busy and helps them to not be so scared when I move my to the coop at 6-10 weeks depending on the weather. Integrating at that age is better than waiting until they are older which can make it more challenging.
     
  9. catcrazy37

    catcrazy37 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! :) I think the ages are okay but the sizes I had in mind are wrong.
     
  10. catcrazy37

    catcrazy37 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I read that they are too small at that age.
     

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