Three Day Old Chicks: Brooder Setup By 8-10 Weeks?


In the Brooder
Mar 13, 2018
Tilton, NH
My fourteen babies are doing just fine in their brooder at three days old. I used my trusty dremel to cut the sides off of two 20 gallon-ish plastic totes, then used the pieces of cut plastic to sheathe the cut ends. I ended up with an enclosure that measures 32”x34”.

I then built a square frame with 1x2s and hardware cloth to put on top for A Very Curious Cat (TM)

The girls love their enclosure. I have a Brinsea 50 in there with them because I didn’t trust that the 20 would be big enough. It takes up half of the brooder, but they do jump on top and poop/peck at poop/jump off to practice flying /perform sneak pecking attacks.

So...I live in NH. We just had two blizzards in a week, and a third is coming in four days. There are good odds that it might be too chilly for outdoor baby chicks at night in eight weeks.

What size enclosure should I be planning for if it’s still cold mid-May? I may have to put them in the unheated garage. I’m just wondering what size I should be planning for, and when. Anyone who has had a similar situation?


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I just ordered 30 baby chicks a couple weeks ago and bought a 2'X4' guinea pig cage for them as a brooder. So, 8 sf. The will be two weeks tomorrow and outgrew that cage days ago. I have now put two of those cages together for a 16 sf brooder, and they will not make it in there till 8 weeks. They will be out in the coop long before. Just something to consider. You can build your coop and hang a heat lamp out there for them when they outgrow the tote. My first ever batch of chicks was in the coop with their lamp prior to them being old enough to go outside in the run (until they were fully feathered).
To add to my post: When I move them out to the coop, it will be in a divided area with the full grown chickens, but protected from them, and with their heat source if still needed. So, they will finish brooding in the coop. Just wanted to add that.

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