When it comes to the baby chick brooder, there are several factors you need to consider. One of those factors is the size. Indeed, the size will be determined by the number of chicks you are intending to raise. With the right size, your baby chicks will stay comfortable and have enough space to move around. Here is what you need to know about the brooder size you should get for your young birds. The question is, what size baby chick brooder should I get? We can have several answers to this question and each answer gives a comprehensive explanation of what you should consider when acquiring the right brooder for your chicks. That being said, let’s use a simple rule of thumb that every chicken keeper must follow to get everything right.
The rule of thumb for the size of your baby chick brooder states that up to two weeks old chick you need to provide at least ½ square foot per baby chick; up to four weeks old chicks, 1 square foot per chick will be enough and up to eight weeks old chicks you should provide 1 ½ square feet for each chick. Beyond eight weeks, the square feet for the chicken should be increased according to the recommendations laid down for adult chicken coop sizes.
Why Should I Need the Right Brooder Size for My Baby Chicks?
- It is prudent that you take into consideration the space each chick will occupy while in the brooder. This will determine the overall size of this structure in relation to the number of baby chicks you are about to raise at the same time. This is important because it will prevent many cases such as overcrowding.
- Speaking of overcrowding, you should never subject your baby chicks to such an environment for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is that an overcrowded brooder offers a perfect ground for the spread of Coccidiosis.
- This is because the litter on the floor is usually covered with chicken poop and when mixed with the humidity of above 30 percent it provides the ideal conditions for the spread of this poultry disease among your chicks.
- Also, an overcrowded brooder can make a few chicks to adopt aggressive behavior towards others. One of these behaviors is picking one another while scrambling for the available space.
- If the picking intensifies, then it can result in multiple wounds on some of your chicks. As usual, a chick with open wounds is susceptible to all types of health conditions or even more picking from other aggressive chicks.
- Obviously, no chicken keeper would want to have a brooder that is overcrowded with sickling chicks. To avoid this problem, you must always ensure that your little birds have enough space to keep themselves comfortable and allow them to move freely.
- With all that in your mind, you need to think of how you will provide your chicks with the right size of the baby chick brooder. In that case, we will discuss in detail what you should look out for when acquiring a brooder for your baby chicks.
What Do I need To Consider When Looking For the Right Brooder for My Baby Chicks?
By all means, the size will be the first thing to consider even before you decide how the brooder will look like. The size, however, will be determined mainly by the number of chicks you are raising and their respective ages. Not all of them will require the same size of the brooder for different reasons.
- For the initial four weeks, the baby chicks will require at least 0.25 square foot of space in the brooder for one chick. But starting from four to eight weeks, your baby chicks will need 0.5 square foot of space for each chick.
- It doesn’t imply that you break your back trying so hard to calculate the precise space of each baby chick. What it simply means is that you can only approximate the space that each chick will occupy in relation to their respective ages.
- In other words, you are only supposed to use these recommendations as your guiding principle when it comes to deciding the size of your baby chick brooder.
- In addition to the size, you should also take into account the depth of your baby chick brooder. This is important, especially where chicks are likely to jump out of their brooder. So, anything that is 12 inches deep is perfect for your baby cheeks. This depth will prevent them from escaping for quite a while without necessarily providing them with the cover.
- Anything less than 12 inches will make it easy for your chicks to fly out of their brooder when they’re about three weeks old. So, a cover will help you restrain them inside the brooder as they grow.
- Placing the cover on top of the brooder can serve two major functions; first to prevent the chicks from flying out of the brooder and secondly to prevent children, cats, dogs or any other animal from causing disturbance to your chicks.
- When covering the brooder, ensure that there’s enough ventilation for the chicks. In this case, a roll of wire will be a better option especially when it is nailed firmly to keep the brooder secured. Also, the chicken wire should be easily removed anytime you want to feed or water your little birds.
- Most chicken owners keep their brooders in the house for a while before taking them out to the chicken run. This happens more often when they can’t stand the peeping all night long and the strong smell of chicks’ droppings.
- This should tell you that the brooder needs to be taken out of your house when you notice that the chicks inside are grown. But before you take them out, make sure that you place the heat lamp inside the outdoor brooder to keep them warm.
- If you decide to keep the brooder outside for a long time, ensure that it is placed at a dry and draft-free location. Doing so will prevent cool air from chilling your chicks and consequently killing them.
What Else Should I include in my Baby Chick Brooder?
- Much to your surprise, your baby chick brooder will require a few bedding not only to provide your chicks with the comfort they deserve but also to keep them clean throughout.
- Bedding prevents the chicks from walking in their own droppings and becoming filthy. Additionally, the bedding protects them against walking on slippery surfaces which can make them slip and injure themselves.
- The best materials to use as bedding include hardware cloth, thick layers of newspaper, old rags, shredded paper, pine shavings, dried grass clippings, dry leaves, peat, straw, sand, puppy pads, and non-adhesive shelf liner.
Heat Lamp and Thermometer:
- Heat is important for baby chicks. Without enough heat, they would die so soon. That’s why the mother hen keeps her chicks warm using her body during the first days of their life. Therefore, it’s important to replicate this type of warmth in the brooder to make your chicks comfortable. And the best source of heat for your chicks is the heat lamp.
- The heat comes in different types such as halogen bulbs, incandescent bulbs, incandescent floodlight, ceramic bulb, and infrared heat bulbs.
- What of the thermometer? This device is necessary for determining the right amount of heat for the chicks in the brooder.
Waterer and Feeder:
Before you introduce your baby chicks to their brooder, you must ensure that there is a watering container as well as feeder ready for them. On top of that, you will require a small amount of the chick starter feed for your baby chicks when they start their lives in the brooder.
What are the common issues that arise from raising baby chicks in the brooder?
- Even though raising chicks in a brooder is a common thing and easy process, you should be fully aware that there are underlying problems associated with this practice. For instance, you may encounter a few problems with chicks ordered through the mail. These little birds arrive when they are already exhausted and dehydrated as a result of the shipping process. But you can solve this problem by simply dipping every chick’s beak into the water with electrolyte solution and vitamin to help them regain their energy and acquire essential nutrients.
What will happen to your baby chicks when the brooder is too warm or too cold?
- If the brooder is too warm, your baby chicks will likely huddle in one of the corners within the box and they will eventually develop some digestive problems. To correct this problem, you must keep the heat in the brooder at 18 inches from the top side of the bedding. On the other hand, you may find your chicks huddling directly under the source of heat in the brooder. If this happens, just know that the temperature of your brooder is lower than the recommended one for the chicks. You can overcome this problem by setting the heater to the required temperature and within a short time, you will see your chicks moving around the brooder rather than huddling under the heat source.
From the information above, you can easily work out the right size of your brooder depending on the age and number of baby chicks under your care. Once you get everything right including the conditions within the brooder, you can sit back and watch as your little birds grow to become vibrant adult chickens.