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What should I use for a new home when my chicks hatch?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ChickenJill, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. ChickenJill

    ChickenJill Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 14, 2010
    what is an easy set up for the first few weeks? How tall does it have to be? When and how high will they fly??
  2. Criskin

    Criskin Lost somewhere in a book

  3. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    A large rubbermaid container, an appliance sized cardboard box, even an old laundry wash tub (that's what I use). Or you can build something. The sides on my wash tub are only about 18" high and yes they would be able to fly out fairly early on but I have a top I fashioned out of chicken wire to keep them in and the cat out. The chicks' requirements are a place that is safe, a space big enough that they can get under the heat lamp but also get away from it when needed, and something with ventilation but no drafts. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive, since it is only temporary.
  4. ScottyHOMEy

    ScottyHOMEy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2011
    Waldo County, Maine
    Excellent question, well worth asking, but kind of large. There are a lot of variables. How many birds? What breed. Stil . . . to get the conversation going . . .

    Assume ten chicks of a standard laying/dual-purpose variety, Rocks Orps, Wyandottes and their ilk.

    I haven't room for anything permanent by way of a brooder and make out very nicely with corrugated boxes. Some are cut from one end of a refrigerator carton. The best have been television and air conditioner cartons, as the lids can be folded down while the birds are small, but folded and taped up to add height as they learn to test their wings (but can still be let down for feeding, cleaning and coddling). The darlings will take flight at a surpisingly early age. If (not IF, you WILL) have one that finds its way to perch atop your waterer, it will use that as a hopping off point to get up over the edge of the box and go exploring. If that happens at too young an age and it can't get back to the heat, you may lose it.

    A box 2-1/2 or 3 feet square on the bottom is more than adequate for ten or a few more chicks to get them to a size where they are feathered out to withstand ambient temps and ready for transfer to the coop.

    Two things I'd add as tips for such a setup. The heatlamp -- do not rely on the clamp. I'm old enough to remember when those clamps could actually hold a lamp solidly where you put it. Nothing I've found lately is reliable. If your lamp/reflector is new, dump the clamp, take it right off. You should find a loop taped to the whole affair when you bring it home that will clip onto the ceramic from which to hang it. Rig something solid (I brood mine in the garage and use the open stringers) and hang the light by that loop. I hang mine from baling twine looped over the stringers. To reduce the brooder temp every few days, all I have to do is loosen my knot, yarn her up a few inches and tie it a little higher than it was.

    For the bottom, chicks are notorious for scratching their litter into their water and feed, especially with the otherwise very handy quart- and gallon-size waterers. Once your'e sure (a day or two will tell) that thy're all drinking as they should, raise your waterer up a little above the litter. First step for me is usually to set it atop a couple pices of 2x4 laid on their flat sides. Later, I'll bridge the 2x4 s with a scrap of board or plywood larger than the base of the waterer, and put on top of that platform. It isn't much higher, but provides some distance around its perimeter to limit what gets kicked/sctratched into it.

    Fill us in on breed(s) and number, and I expect you'll get a whole lot of good ideas and practices back to help answer your questions.
  5. ChickenJill

    ChickenJill Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 14, 2010
    Very Very helpful, thanks! So the garage is ok? Any advise about how to get one of those big boxes? I have been asking around for about a week..
  6. ScottyHOMEy

    ScottyHOMEy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2011
    Waldo County, Maine
    Ask at the pickup window at Sears or go to a local appliance store. Especially the local stores, if they don't have anything there at the time, they can save something out for you in the next few days.
  7. bigchickenlittle

    bigchickenlittle Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 5, 2011
    plastic swimming pool and a heat lamp [​IMG]
  8. JoieD

    JoieD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2011
    Marysville, Ohio
    I took an extra large, long, deep Rubbermaid type storage container and cut out the whole inside of the lid with a jigsaw, making a big window. Then I stapled hardware cloth over the window. The 100 watt bulb in the reflector just lies on the screen. It's snug, warm, and cat proof. I had an extra tub but I think they cost about 15.00 at Lowes.
  9. stoopid

    stoopid Chicken Fairy Godmother

    Aug 3, 2011
    Long Island, NY
    I use the clear plastic storage boxes, minus the lid. The heat lamp is tie-wrapped to the towel bar in the spare bathroom, and a cardboard box underneath to adjust the level for the lamp. Those boxes will get shorter as the temp needs to get cooler. And it's great entertainment to sit and watch... better than the newspaper!!
    Depending on how many babies.... Last time I got 25, that setup only lasted for just over a week, then I split up into 2 boxes, just don't put the water under the lamp, as it gets too warm. Good luck!

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