When do Chicks Need a Roost

ejcrist

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Oct 16, 2015
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My first flock of chicks is due in around the first or second week of January, and I finished two brooders for them; one is a starter brooder for up to about two weeks old and the second brooder is much larger to house them until about 6 weeks when they'll move to the coop. As I was finishing the second brooder today I got to wondering if chicks in a brooder need a roost at some point. I'm building roosts in my coop that I'm finishing up now but what about young chicks? Do they prefer a roost right away, after a week or two, or about when? If anyone could give me the benefit of their experience I'd appreciate it.

Thanks, Gene
 

hodor

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Nov 6, 2015
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I'm new and not really sure when they need it or the best time. However I put a low branch in my brooder when they were under a week old which is now about half a foot high as they are just past two weeks and have no problems jumping/flying up. They don't sleep on it, but seem to enjoy resting on it, I like it when they all perch up there together.
 

Wyorp Rock

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I placed a "baby roost" in the brooder when they first arrived. Now mine was homemade and not pretty, but...I took two large coffee cans, drilled a hole in the side of each one (about 1/2way up) and stuck a sturdy stick in them. Think like the cans make a tower and the stick makes a bridge. Make sure there is no sharp metal, etc. I did cover the cans with some black shelf liner that I had spare. They loved climbing on the cans and would sit on the roost. I brooded in my coop so I just had areas blocked off with cardboard. After a couple of weeks they were flying all over the place so I just removed the cardboard and let them had the run of the place. They would get on the "big girls roost" and play but slept on the floor until around 8weeks.

There is no rule that says they have to have a roost in a brooder. I found that if you placed things in the brooder for them to play on it helped run off some of their energy. Google "baby chick roost" and there are all sorts of photos. I'm sure others will chime in.

Good luck and enjoy your babies, they grow extremely fast.
 
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Wyorp Rock

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I'm new and not really sure when they need it or the best time. However I put a low branch in my brooder when they were under a week old which is now about half a foot high as they are just past two weeks and have no problems jumping/flying up. They don't sleep on it, but seem to enjoy resting on it, I like it when they all perch up there together.
They are so adorable when they do this.
 

hodor

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Nov 6, 2015
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They are so adorable when they do this.

400
 

ejcrist

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Oct 16, 2015
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Desert Hills, AZ
Thanks much for the replies everyone. Lots of great info. I think I'm going to build a couple of mini-roosts in my brooder at various heights now. I didn't think much about it in the beginning but it sounds like it keeps them occupied and gives them exposure to what they'll encounter in their coop when they're ready to go out. I'm going to put a couple other things in their like small balls, etc. I definitely don't want them to be "cooped up" in a brooder for several weeks with nothing to play around with. That would be like doing time in the slam. Thanks again for the replies.

Gene
 

Wyorp Rock

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You are very welcome.

There are all sorts of things you can do for your little chicks. If you have room in the brooder give them a small pan of dirt to dust bath. Nothing more fun than a rolling chick. You can also start finding out some of the things they like. I gave mine a clump of clover or dandelion to work on, small amounts of veggies or fruit, just don't forget the chick grit. You will find that yours may love certain things that other people say their hate. For example a popular "winter boredom buster" is to hang a cabbage for your hens. Mine wouldn't touch cabbage chopped, shredded or whole at a young age and they still won't, (they go
sickbyc.gif
) but others have chickens that just love it. Go figure.
 

ejcrist

Songster
Oct 16, 2015
890
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Desert Hills, AZ
You are very welcome.

There are all sorts of things you can do for your little chicks. If you have room in the brooder give them a small pan of dirt to dust bath. Nothing more fun than a rolling chick. You can also start finding out some of the things they like. I gave mine a clump of clover or dandelion to work on, small amounts of veggies or fruit, just don't forget the chick grit. You will find that yours may love certain things that other people say their hate. For example a popular "winter boredom buster" is to hang a cabbage for your hens. Mine wouldn't touch cabbage chopped, shredded or whole at a young age and they still won't, (they go
sickbyc.gif
) but others have chickens that just love it. Go figure.
Excellent ideas! Especially the dust bath - that's a great idea. One quick question - do you get the chick grit at the feed store and how do you present it to them? About the only thing I know about grit is birds need it to grind up their food I believe in their gizzard. So do you put it in a bowl in the brooder? How do you make sure they know the difference between the grit and their food? Sorry for all the questions but I've never raised birds before so this is all very new to me. I have the Storey's book on Chickens but I haven't read past the first few chapters yet since I've been busy finishing up my brooders and working on the coop/run.

I built two brooders because I ordered 24 chicks, and the first one is 5'X2 1/2'; as soon as I finished I thought it looked a little small for chicks at 3 weeks and older. So I built a second brooder that's 7'X3 1/2' so I can move all but probably 6-7 into the bigger brooder when they start outgrowing the first one. Between the two I'm looking at about 34-35 square feet of space so I think that'll work. I'd rather err on the side of too much room than too little. There's plenty of room in both for the extra stuff I plan to put in there now. I can't wait till they come in - I've been wanting chickens for a long time primarily for garden fertilizer but the eggs are a close second since my family eats a lot of eggs.
 

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