Warm Brooder in a Cold Room - OK or not?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mooseb, Feb 1, 2017.

  1. mooseb

    mooseb In the Brooder

    Feb 1, 2017
    Our first ever chicks are being shipped in two weeks. I was planning on keeping them in big plastic bins with a mama heating pad, in the downstairs of our home. The temperature down there is probably around 55 to 60 degrees, as we use the wood stove insert upstairs and haven't used the heater so far this winter. Will the chicks be warm enough in a closed off room, in their high sided brooder box, with the heating pad? Or is the ambient room temperature too cold for them?

    Thank you in advance for you help :)

  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Crowing

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    The cooler the ambient temp the better. They don't need the whole brooder warmed. The problem with plastic bins is how small they are. The heating pad takes up quite a lot of space, even in very large bins. When you add in feeders and waterers, sometimes you're left with no space for the chicks.
    1 person likes this.
  3. mooseb

    mooseb In the Brooder

    Feb 1, 2017
    Thank you. I hadn't thought of all the accessories. Guess I need to rethink the bins for sure.
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    I have a 3' x 6' tractor that I use when brooding chicks. I only hold them in the garage for the first 48 hours or so, then out to the spare coop with MHP. You may be MUCH happier if you find an appliance box. Or get 2 large boxes and zip tie/staple/duct tape them together. I much prefer a cardboard box over a plastic bin. Much more adaptable, size wise. You can also poke a couple of holes through it, and stick a dowel through it to make them a perch. Cool basement temps better if you have to brood in the house. Makes acclimating to outdoor temps so much easier. What ever you use, put a hardware cloth cover over it. It prevents unfortunate suicide incidents.
    1 person likes this.
  5. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    You don't say what your temps are where you live, but if you have a coop ready for your flock, can you brood them right in the coop? I normally brood right in the coop, even when temps go down to the 20s-30s at night, with temps 40-50 in the day. I use a hay bale brooder that I can change in size as the chicks need more space. The hay bales are great insulation and the chicks feather out quickly when brooded outdoors. Your basement temps will be just fine.

    If doing it in the basement, I agree with LG....cardboard boxes are adaptable and expandable. If you line the bottom with a trash bag before applying the bedding nice and deep, you don't have to worry about the cardboard getting too wet. Using a nipple waterer will cut down on water mess tremendously and insure the water is always fresh.
    1 person likes this.
  6. mooseb

    mooseb In the Brooder

    Feb 1, 2017
    Thanks for all the great information. Cardboard box it is.
  7. soin4ds

    soin4ds Hatching

    Feb 4, 2017
    I recycled the kiddy swimming pool my dogs used last summer. placed a cardboard wall around the pool and put in the pine shavings. I placed it in my garage (no cars in there) and the heat lamp keeps them nice and cosy.

  8. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    I also brood directly outdoors, and our temps are often in the teens and twenties when it's "spring chick season" in Wyoming. Chicks that I've hatched here in the incubator get a day or so indoors in a dog crate with Mama Heating Pad until I know they know where to go to get warmed up and are eating and drinking. Shipped chicks get a day too, to watch for the same things and also for shipping stress. After that, out they go. They do just great.

    My brooder is a large, wire dog exercise pen and since I have total integration with the rest of the flock by the time they are 4 weeks old, I don't have to worry about them outgrowing it. But it is absolutely a consideration, and I'm not a fan of plastic bins either. In the house I use a wire dog crate, which is easy to collapse and put away after their day (or two, if I've spotted any issues) inside.

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