What size brooder for 6 chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by chickenlady073, Mar 1, 2017.

  1. chickenlady073

    chickenlady073 New Egg

    Feb 10, 2017
    Hello! This is my first time raising chickens. I decided to start with chicks in order share the whole experience with my boys (6 & 8). It will be a learning experience for the whole family. I'll be getting my chicks in early April so I want to make sure I have everything ready for them. I've watched youtube and read a bunch of blogs which have so much info but I still have a question regarding the brooder for my chicks. I will be getting 6 chicks and want to know what size brooder would be best so that I don't have to keep switching them as they grow. Ideally I'd like to have them in something that they will be in until they go in their coop. Suggestions, advice, HELP...all welcome and appreciated [​IMG]
  2. SummerMeadow

    SummerMeadow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 16, 2013
    Eldersburg, MD
    I've use an extra large dog kennel for my brooder. I zip tie cardboard the the lower portion of the wire door so the can't escape through. When they're small they can squeeze through or get their heads stuck.

    Right now I have a hen in there with 9 chicks. he went broody and I let her incubate in the kennel. It's worked great so far. I let her out twice a day to peck around outside. Otherwise she seems quite content in there.
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    I like to give my chicks 2 s.f./bird to carry them all the way through the "need heat" phase. check out brooding with a heat lamp. (see the article in my signature.) Also, check out FAQ re: fermented feed. That might be something you would like to try.
  4. blackdog043

    blackdog043 Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 19, 2017
    Charlotte, NC
    A watermelon box from a grocery store would work or a box that size.
  5. flytie

    flytie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2013
    New Jersey
    I use a bathtub with a good ole' heat lamp. Line the bottom with newspaper and cover with shredded paper (big enough so the babies won't eat it)
  6. I use a folding puppy playpen wrapped it cardboard and Pine shavings....I have a wire top to keep them in as they grow.....Currently I have a Broody hen and 7 Chicks in it right now....It will be good till my Chicks are 5 weeks old....The bigger the brooder, the better though.....Some people use stock tanks to brood.....My Husband made me a Brooder for my Ducklings...It is made out of plywood and 2x4s......Mine is 8 feet x 4 feet......

    Best of luck.....

  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    A few questions. Where are you brooding them? Are they going to be in a climate controlled area with really steady ambient temperatures or where you can experience temperature swings? To me the best brooders provide a warm enough area in the coldest temperatures and a cool enough temperature in the warmest conditions. That’s pretty easy to do if your brooder is at a constant temperature location, but I brood in my coop. Earlier this year I had a temperature swing from 18 degrees one morning to a high of 80 two days later. I use heat lamps and kept one end warm enough on that 18 degree morning but the other end of my brooder was cool enough at 80 degrees. I also unplugged one of my heat lamps. There are plenty of other ways to provide heat instead of heat lamps but the principle is the same. You need to have one area warm and another cool at all times. That’s really hard to do in a tiny incubator, though the incubator can be much smaller if you are in a steady temperature environment. How big the brooder needs to be depends a lot on where it is and how you provide heat.

    How old will the chicks be when you put them outside? They grow extremely fast. What will your weather be like when you are ready to put them outside? Some of us put chicks outside at 5 weeks even in cooler temperatures, others wait much longer. Some ask “How soon can I get these things out of the house”. If you don’t keep the brooder dry, it will stink. The chicks will create a lot of dust anyway, but if the brooder is dry they’ll create a lot more with their scratching. They can be loud, some people like that, some don’t. The brooder needs to be dry for health reasons.

    I’ve seen two week old chicks fly very well. You’ll need some type of cover on the brooder to keep them in.

    I don’t brood chicks in the house, I never have as few as 6 chicks, and I hardly ever keep them in the brooder past five weeks, six at the most if the outside temperature is going to be much below freezing. From experience I can’t tell you the minimum size you need to make your brooder. I suggest you take some of this into consideration and make it twice as big as you think you need to. That gives you some flexibility in case you guess wrong.

    Good luck!
  8. Tylexie

    Tylexie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 11, 2015
    New York
    I'm using a 105 quart (26.25 gallon) sterilite container. I lined the bottom with pine shavings then cut out half the lid and secured hardware cloth to it (for more info on how to do this see the link below). This size might be a little bit bigger than needed, but I wanted to accommodate their size when they grow (plus the space taken up by food and water containers) so I don't have to keep switching containers. Also, it should be big enough that you don't have to heat the whole thing. They should have a spot of warmth and a spot where they can go if they get too warm. I would also recommend having a thermometer in your brooder.


    Hope this helps and good luck with your chicks!

    Last edited: Mar 3, 2017

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