Brooding and Space Requirements for Poultry

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Quick Facts…

  • Proper brooding temperatures are necessary for chicks to be healthy and to rapidly feather. The brooder temperature will decrease with each week of age.
  • All poultry requires a minimum amount of square feet in coops, runs and cages that increases with age to maintain health and to prevent social problems. They also require a certain amount of space at feeders and waterers.

Brooding Temperatures

Proper conditions are necessary for baby poultry changes during the first weeks of life. Ensure baby poultry are dry and bedding materials are not wet. Hypothermia due to wet conditions is one of the most common causes of baby poultry deaths in small farms. Poultry flock owners should strive to follow the suggested temperatures in the chart below by regulating heat in the brooding unit. The temperatures should be measured at the outer edge of the hover (a canopy type brooding unit/lamp) 4 to 6 inches (10.2 to 15.2 centimeters) above the floor. Room temperature should not be over 75°F (23.9°C) during the first few weeks. It is advisable to keep room temperature in the correct range to encourage rapid feathering of the chicks. If weather conditions change outside of the brooding unit, attend quickly to temperatures to see if adjustments need to be made.

Age Brooding Temperature
0 to 1 week 93° to 95°F (33.9° to 35°C)
1 to 2 weeks 88° to 90°F (31.1° to 32.2°C)
2 to 3 weeks 83° to 85°F (28.3° to 29.4°C)
3 to 4 weeks 78° to 80°F (25.6° to 26.7°C)
4 to 5 weeks 75°F (23.9°C)
5 to 6 weeks 70°F (21.1°C)
6 weeks and over Comfort Zone 50° to 70°F (10° to 21.1°C)

Space Requirements for Poultry

Chickens
Per Bird

 

Square feet* of space Linear inches* of trough/100 birds
Weeks of Age Floor Cage Feeder Waterer
Brooding 0-4 1/2 1/2 1 1/2 24
Growing 4-12 1 3/4 2 1/2 48
     Roasters 8-12 2 1 2 1/2 48
12-16 2 1 3 48
Replacements 8-12 2 1 3 48
12-21 2 1/2 – 3 1 4 60
Layers
     Leghorn type 21+ 2 1/2 – 3 1 4 60
     Dual-purpose 21+ 3 – 3 1/2 1 4 60

 

Size of cage
(inches)*
W X D X H
Birds per cage
(Number)
Typical laying cages
(dependent on breed)
21+
9 X 14 X 18
18 X 14 X 18
32 X 30 X 18
1
2
3 – 5

 


Turkeys
Per Bird

Square feet* of space Linear inches* of trough/100 birds
Weeks of Age Floor Cage Feeder Waterer
Brooding
     Small type 0-8 1 1 1/2 30
     Grow-out 8-18 2 1/2 3 60
Brooding
     Large type 0-8 1 2 30
     Grow-out 8-18 2 1/2 3 60
Finishing
     Hens 16-20 3 4 80
     Toms 16-24 5 4 80

 

Exterior Yards/Runs
                                                                                                                  Sq. Ft.
Chickens Mature 10
Turkeys Mature 20

*To convert to metrics, use these equivalents – 1 square foot = .083 square meter; 1 inch = 2.54 centimeters.

*H. L. Enos, CSU extension associate professor poultry science (revised 8/1/79)
Robin Young, Archuleta County Director; Travis Hoesli, Grand County Director; Todd Hagenbuch, Agriculture Agent Routt County; Sharon Bokan, Small Acreage Coordinator Boulder County (Revised 10/18).

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