Size of brooder for 100 chics? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I have tried finding large breed chickens in my area, but have not had a lot of luck. So, it looks like I need to build some brooders and order chics...

How much space do the chics need while growing? I plan on getting 100 chics. 50 - 75 large breeds, the rest meat, and a few guineas.

When can you move the chics from the brooder to a heated pen?

When can you move them to an un-heated coop?

BTW: I ordered several chicken books from, but they have not arrived.

Thanks for your help!

-- Will in NC (, November 19, 2001



It sounds to me that you are just getting into the chicken business. If this is the case, and I were in your shoes - I would not start out with 100 chicks. That is a lot of chickens. When I started I would get 25. This amount is a way to get to know chickens and figure out what works. (I know other people will have other ideas)

This last summer we lost some chickens to dogs so my wife ordered 50 chicks. At the time I thought that was a lot. (I have raised chickens before) It turned out to be about the most I want to handle at one time. I have an old stock tank which I have put wire over and divided it in half with wire to make two areas for poultry. I hung a heat lamp in each each area. It is about a 6-7 ft. stock tank and works great. This serves as my brooder. 50 chicks were just about right.

I have just finished up butchering those that I planned to. I may get 50 chicks again - but believe me that's a lot of chiks.

-- Tom S. (, November 19, 2001.

Will, what are you planning on doing with 100 chicks? If you are raising them for family egg and meat consumption, don't buy 100 at a time. Do them in groups of 25. It is much easier and economical also. You should see your feed bill with 100 layers/broilers! Also, remember that come butchering time that is a lot of chickens to do at one time -- especially if you are new at chicken butchering.

As for brooding, I use a large plastic children's swimming pool. I line it with litter and hang a lamp above it. The pool keeps the chicks in a circular pattern so no one gets in the corners and trampled and killed, plus it gives them a bigger area to explore and get a way from the light if it is too much heat. Also allows for plenty of room for the waters and feeders. It is also a breeze to clean! You just either dump or scoop out the old litter, hose the whole thing down and put in new litter. Easy storage and economical!

Best of luck!

-- Karen (, November 19, 2001.

Carla Emery's Encyclopedia is the best to explain all of your questions! It also has hundreds of pages of other info. on numerous back to basics type skills. I just love the book and know that others around here have mentioned it too. I will go get mine....walk, walk, walk,.....Hmmmm...says that a 250 watt infrared lamp suspended above the floor level 18 inches will brood 75 chicks. If you are using a cardboard box it says that a cardboard box 30 inches square with high sides(so they don't escape:~)), in a room where the temp. will stay above 65 F, with a 69 watt bulb will handle 50 chicks. Ideal is a 6 foot by 8 foot space for 100 chicks she says. You start the heat out at about 95 F and then decrease the temp. by 5 degrees each week until you have them at 70 on the 6th week. This time of year you will need to keep them in a barn or the house. Usually chicks are started in the spring. Will be trickier in the winter. I kept 100 chicks in a huge round cattle trough with wood shavings in the bottom. I suspended a heat lamp across the top hung on a broom handle. It works well, because if they are cold they will get right under the light and if they are hot they will be around the edges. It would be best, when you start, to suspend the lamp to about a foot and a half from the floor of the brooder and then raise it as you go. That is what changes the temp. of the brooder. ( The height of the lamp) Be careful that the lamp does not get knocked down on the litter. I would find some heavy duty protection for them until they are well feathered and about half grown. This will take about 8 weeks or more this time of year depending on the type of chicks. Another thing to consider is the color of the chicks. Black chicks absorb the heat better and don't need it as warm as their white or brown buddies. In fact you can hurt the black breeds by getting it too hot. I raise Buff Orpingtons and all sorts of mutts too. The black ones lay better in the winter and the buffs lay better in the summer. Another thing....I don't use newspapers alone on the bottom of the box because it can cause them to have problems with their legs. If you have plenty of newspapers and want to use them just be careful to shred the top layer of newspapers so that it gives them better traction on the papers. Their fragile legs spraddling apart is what causes the trouble) I use cheapo paper toweling on top of the newspapers when I only have a few chicks in a box. Easier to clean up after too. You can use straw, rice hulls, newspapers, wood chips, etc.....

-- Nan (, November 19, 2001.

We must have all posted our replies at the same time. I have to admit that I thought that 100 sounded like a lot of chicks to me too. I have ended up with that many a few times after chick day(ones left over after we gave them away at the feed store). I usually get 25pullets about every 3rd year. That is enough to have eggs for an army. Oh...another thing...straight run does NOT mean that you will get a 50/50 chance for hens! They sex the pullets out of the batch and then whatever is left is the straight runs. We get straight run for chick day and I would say that you would be lucky to get 25% hens. Some places that we have ordered from were almost all Roosters! If you want hens it is to your benefit to order pullets. If you want to butcher most of them then straight run is great!

-- Nan (, November 19, 2001.

i do better with 1-200 at a time i use a floor brooder and a building area that will be large enough when the chicks grow a short 1 foot barier will hold them in the hot area close to the brooder for about a week then when they start flying over it remove it they will move close when the temps are cool and spread out as temps rise during the day a thermostat on the brooder will keep it from breaking you at the bank in electric costwhen they reach an almost fryer size start butchering butcher as you use them then either mass butcher and stuff them in the freezer or keep them on a maintenence ration as you kill a few at a time ,for some reason i loose more chicks in the small 25-50 batches that i want special care for ,oh guinys are more agresive and should be seperated from chicks younger than them and turkies are less agresive than main problem sems to be keeping them enough room moving them to larger pens to give them plenty of room and they grow to shoulder to shoulder in no time even with butchering as they grow well good luck have feeders and waterers that will keep plenty of feed in front of them at all timesso the strongest and weekest have all the feed they want otherwise the week just get weeker and grow poorly at best or die and i want to eat healthy happy animals

-- george darby (, November 19, 2001.

Well... This is in part why I asked the question about how much brooder space I would need. I was thinking of getting the best deal by not paying partial box fees, and going straight run. The birds that go for meat (including heavy breed cockrels), I'd stick out in pastured poultry pens. Then I would sell the extra hens / roosters that I didn't need. This might help someone in my area that couldn't find decent heavy breed chickens - like myself.

But it does appear unamious that 100 chics the first go round may be too ambitious... And that I may want to consider ordering sexed chics.

Sounds like I may have a problem cleaning the swimming pool, since the only spaces I can use for brooding have standard sized doors or smaller.

Also, I believe that I will go ahead and revitalize my old tobacco barn as a place to brood / house my chics / chickens atleast until spring. It is about the only place that I have for the forseeable future.

Thanks again for all the feedback. I am printing it out and reading over it now!

-- Will in NC (, November 20, 2001.

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