I wanted to get 50 meat chicks but I had no place to put them. I also own my own sign shop and have odds and ends of substrate laying around that I won't use. So this is how I ended up with the floor being an old 4 x 8 x 1/2 old sign that stills has the vinyl lettering on it. I built 16" sides out of 2 x 2's and screwed OSB to the sides. I also had an old, stripped down trailer laying around that I figured this brooder would sit in nicely. So I had hubby tow it into our indoor arena and park it in an out of the way place as we don't use the arena anymore for riding horses.
24" in from each end on top, I screwed 2x4's to mount hinges for the top lids. I wanted to have lids on each end that flipped up and then in the center, I wanted ones on each side that flipped open into the center. Originally the end was all screwed to the side but I found that I needed to have one end to drop down to make cleaning easier.
This weekend after having meat chicks for 5 weeks, it was just getting too hard to feed them real quick so I got 1x 10' drain tile, cut it to length and then cut it into 2 pieces and mounted them to the sides. If I had to do it over again, I wuld use 2x drain tiles, one for each side, and then cut 1/4 of the tile out instead on cutting them in half.
All sides and lids have hook and eyes to keep varmin away from my chicks. We have a Habitat for Humanity store in our town and I found boxes of door hinges for .50 each so all moving lids and ends are hooked together with these hinges.
I need to line the sides with something as it was a bear to clean all the chicken poop out from the sides and under the tile feeders. I have a substrate material that is called sintra. Its 3mil sheets of plastic that would be great on the inside as it wouldn't rot when it gets wet and is easy to clean.
I ran into a little problem when trying to figure out how to mount my center lids. A 2 x 4 down the center wasn't going to be wide enough and I wasn't sure a 2 x 6 would either. I was afraid that a 2 x 8 would be too heavy so I ended up just screwing in 2x 2 x 4's. Unfortunately it left a gap down the center.
No problem. I still have lots of odds and ends of substrates so I find some aluminum laminate.
When its cold out, I put the pink stryofoam on top for insulating.
Way up front on the left, you will see the waterer. Before I took the 50 meat birds out, I had a galvanized pan in the center and just kept it filled with water. Now I have the jug up front and holes drilled in the floor for drainage.
I put my waterer in the lid from a 55 gal drum. I figure that way, not so much water is going to leak all over.
The new mutt chicks checking out their new digs
If I had to do it over again. I would make the sidewalls 18 or even 24 " high. I still have to figure out a better way to put lights in it. So far I had a milk crate laying on the top with the infrared light clamped to it to try to keep the meat birds warm while it was cold.
I took out all the meat birds but 6. I had 5 bigger chicks in with all the meat birds for awhile but worried about them getting trampled. But they didn't. I found out that with the meat birds being so slow and the chicks so fast that the chicks would hide under the wings of the meat birds for warmth or if they had to get around, they would actually run over the backs of the meat birds. So I put my remaining chicks in with the 6 meat birds until they are big enough to free range.
Edited by laura877 - 4/26/12 at 11:52am