forget where I got this, online -- and it raises the water above the shavings....so preserves clean water a bit longer...... use it outdoors in the coops too to keep dustbath dirt farther from the waterers.
I think just as I photoed this the Isbar male -- gave a little -- 'I'm the boss' peck to the little Isabel female...I just introduced the Isabel to keep the lone Legbar company -- the Isabels were hatched the 26th March -- so about 1 week from being ready to leave the brooder and live outside, and the Legbar is about 1 to 1 1/2 weeks older.
The reason I like these plastic tubs, is because 1. They let light in the sides, 2. the chicks see you approach from the side rather than just from above and 3. you do have more visibility of the chicks and their antics. They are relatively inexpensive compared to actually building a wooden brooder, and easy to clean. Stack when not in use, or hold all the chick raising supplies.....pretty practical.
Clean with new puppy pad, feed, water and a 'baby cake' from TSC so there is something to do other than be bored in the brooder........
A water trough brooder similar to the one mentioned by Meep Beep's -- and using discarded oven racks on the top. One of those green raised plastic circles is in the bottom under the feeder and waterer, the rest is wood shavings- Waterer is a dog dish -- because they cannot knock it over. Trade-off is they perch on the side and poop in it. But then they sit on the top of tall waterers and poop in those too. Yoiu know how chicks are.
The youngest two -- you may notice that this waterer is the one with the very narrow bottom - -it takes up less footprint - and is less danger of ever having a chick stampeded into a waterer that could drown a chick (have never experienced that)----
Never used a lamp - for fire and melting plastic concerns...my first brooders were cardboard boxes...but I prefer the visibilityof the plastic tubs.
Heaters -- the Brinsea -- is now so cracked that I cannot change the height and need to prop one end up with a brick when the chicks get too big for the lowest setting... In the water trough brooder, the electric heat plate -- easily adjustable height and more visibility underneath for chicks...also cheaper than Brinsea eco glow. Yes, I have the shield on top....keeps them from perching there.... These Isabel leghorns are flighter -- possibly a combination of the breed and the fact that to them the human hovering over is a giant predatory bird...??
The first incubator shown had a "mama Heating pad -- and the two Isabels in there are 1 week away from being 'fully feathered' -- so I removed it -- it is pretty disgusting about now.
Regarding your brooder needs, A lot depends on the number of chicks, how old the chicks "are and their size depending on breed. The water trough has 10 leghorns that are 3 1/2 weeks old on shavings -- the one with Brinsea ecoglow has 2 chicks a Legbar and an OEGB - those two girls are low maintenance -- little and sweet.
The other one has one Legbar -- a Splash Isbar cockerel who is way too big for there, but he is as a companion for the Legbar and just today put the two Isable leghorns in to be able to switch him out.
When that Isbar and Legbar -- both ready for outdoors were put with the bigger chicks - they kind of got run around -- so... I pulled them back indoors for a couple of days. (In that grow out pen there are already 3 cockerels.....so another one in the mix does require some pecking order adjustment )-- and still the Legbar was enough 'behind' them in age that I didn't want her to be run around endlessly by the older chicks.....
Of course if your hatches are large -- you couldn't get away with a tub for 4 weeks.... At one point I did put them in one of those $99 rabbit hutches in the ranch house.... when I first started hatching. Generally I have small hatches...... Now when these last two are out doors -- it will all be packed away until fall breeding season.
It's different for each of us of course...but for me, for this breeding season - this is the configuration that works for me.
The grow outs -- out doors (10 of them)
Maybe like chicken raising in general -- there are a zillion different ways to do it -- and it depends on what works best for you.
Edited by ChicKat - 4/20/16 at 8:28am