Special Area for Chicks and Brooders

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MamaDragon, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. MamaDragon

    MamaDragon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2008
    Camden, AR
    Greetings All!

    We've decided to section off a portion of our 10x10 coop for a current batch of new hatchlings. It has a sand floor, sheet-metal exterior sides and roof, and no insulation (at present - project for the coming fall) The adult chickens will have access to the area when it's not in use for a brood.

    Being a newbie to all this, and on a scavengers budget, what do I need to provide for the nesting mama, her babies as chicks, and as they grow?

    How big a nest box do I need for Mama with 12 chicks? enclosed? open? build it like a whelping box? (for those who raise dogs, you understand)

    Besides hay/straw do I need to put down anything on the ground for them?

    Do I need roosts? at what height(s)? etc

    How do I keep the mama out of the feed for the babies, and the babies out of the feed for the mama? Or do I even bother??

    Ultimate goal here is enough room to raise for table meat as well as eggs (not to mention entertainment).

  2. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2008
    I operate under this scenerio.

    I simply made three chicken wire panels with 2x2's. They are approx. 30 inches high by 30 inches wide.

    I then use a corner of the coop so I now have two walls already in place. I simply screw two panels to studs on the chicken house walls and lay the third panel on the top. I have a nice enclosed spot for the birds. This is then easy to remove so all the birds have access to the entire coop.

    I use straw on the floor and do not use any kind of a nest box. I place the eggs in the corner and I have several hens that I can place in this enclosure and they go right to setting. In a day or two they have made their own nest. You could use a 5 gallon bucket turned on its side if the hen does not want to sit in the "wide open" space provided.

    You do not need roosts.

    Feed moma her regular rations until the chicks are hatched then switch to a medicated chick feed and moma can eat this as well.

    I also after a couple of days elevate the waterer onto bricks and then in 7-10 days move the waterer to cinder blocks that have been broken in half. The hen will scratch and scratch and scratch looking for food for her new chicks and they are masterful at scratching the bedding into the waterer. This "helps" keep the waterer cleaner.

    If you keep the chicks in this space until butchering age you will need to watch closely as they approach 4 weeks of age. Many hens (all depends on the hen) will start to wean at this time and she will peck the chicks to drive them away and in an enclosed area this can be deadly.

    I generally at around 7-8 weeks slowly let the chicks in with the older chickens. I usually start with an hour or so in the evening when I can supervise the introduction. There will be pecking by the older birds but usually nothing serious as they have been around the chicks since they hatched. They are just letting the chicks know their place in the pecking order. I have a nice size run so there is plenty of room for the chicks to run from the big bad hens.

    This system has worked will for me for years and I am sure you will learn as you go and tweak things.

    Good luck let us know how it goes.

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