We have 12 chicks: 4 Barred Plymouth Rock, 3 Easter Eggers, 3 Isa Brown, and 2 Rhode Island Red. They started off in a 100 gallon stock tank but quickly started to out-grow that. We also switched to a hanging waterer due to them constantly kicking up shavings into their standard waterer.
I based my new, larger brooder off of amferro103's brooder. The brooder measures 6' by 4' and about 3 1/2' high to allow plenty of room for 12 fast growing chicks. It will also potentially be used later on in case we ever need to separate a hen from the flock.
We started with a 6' by 4' plywood base covered with a thin rubber flooring that we found at Lowe's. The rubber was attached using spray adhesive and anchored around the edges with 2x2's. The rubber will act as a moisture barrier so nothing will soak into the wood and also as a non-slippery surface for the chicks in case they scratch the bedding away.
The sides a 2' tall with 2x2's in each corner for stability. We will be resting the top section on top of this. At this point we transferred the chicks into the brooder for the night and finished the top section.
The top section is made out of 2x2's and is about 17" tall. This will sit on top of the bottom section and will be attached using 4 screws that can easily be removed for cleaning or better access. It will be covered in hardware cloth and have a hinged door. We added 45 degree braces on the corners for stability and a larger one to hang the water bucket.
Here it is with the hinged door attached and covered in hardware cloth. We also added perches on the right side.
The water bucket is attached using some chain and 2 eye bolts. We also attached some chain to the door to hook to eye bolts along the side to hold the door open and secure it while it is closed.
The chicks may still be a little small to get onto the perches but this girl was able to jump from the top of the food dispenser and onto the perch. Hopefully they will learn to get up there as they grow.
This brooder took a weekend to build. We only worked about half of a day on Saturday because we spent the morning buying the materials. The most time consuming part was cutting and attaching the hardware cloth.
So far we are happy that they have much more room to run around.