Ok, so here we are, completely new to this BackYard Chickens thing! We are picking up our first little flock in a week or so, but first we needed to get a brooder ready for our babies. We didn't want to use cardboard because we wanted something more durable and permanent. We decided against the plastic tub idea because they were just too small. So I opted to get my tools out and just build one, on the cheep... uh, I mean, cheap.
Here is a list of supplies:
1 - 4' x 8' sheet 7/16 OSB
5 - 2" x 2" x 8'
5' of 3/4" PVC Pipe
2 - 3/4" PVC 90-degree Elbow
2 - 3/4" 2-hole Conduit Straps
44 - 2.5" Wood Screws
35 - 1" Sheetrock Screws
1 - Hanging style Heat Lamp (We already had one, but they run anywhere from $10-$20)
*note: I have not made a screen for the top yet; however, I will update this post when I do. We are not too concerned about it for the first couple weeks anyway.
All of the materials listed above (minus the heat lamp) come to about $22 at Home Depot. I don't think the screen on top will cost more than $8, but as I mentioned, I will update soon.
I don't have any construction photos, but it is pretty simple. The overall dimensions are 4' long x 2' wide x 2' tall. I decided to do a panelized construction because I feared that the small 2x2 lumber would get cracked by putting so many screws in the corners. I made 4 simple wall panels with the idea that the OSB would overhang past the bottom 7/16", so the floor piece would fit flush underneath. The height of the wall framing was 23 9/16", thus allowing for the 7/16" overhang at the bottom. I joined all 4 panels together with wood screws. Then I attached the OSB (2 - 4' x 2' pieces and 2 - 2' x 2' pieces) with sheetrock screws so that they were flush with the top edge of the brooder. See photo below:
Then the whole box was flipped upside-down, and the last remaining 2' x 4' piece of OSB fit perfectly flush on the bottom.
To make a mount for the heat lamp, I used a 5' section of 3/4" PVC pipe. I cut it into 3 pieces (24" and 2 - 18") to form a "U" shape with the 90-degree PVC elbows. I mounted the legs to the brooder box with 3/4" conduit straps. When tightened with screws these straps hold the lamp mount tight, but if I need further adjustment, I can loosen the screws and the entire unit will slide up or down.
Finally, I thought it would be nice to have handles on each end, just to make it easier to carry. Although, they might need to just be removed to make fitting the screen top easier. The whole thing isn't that heavy anyway. Maybe I'll just move them onto the sides...
And here it is: The Budget Brooder! I know it's not pretty, but it sure is solid! Better than cardboard or plastic IMHO...
*STAY TUNED FOR THE SCREEN TOP UPDATE!*
Hope this helps someone out.
- Prinetuck Cluck
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Recent User Reviews
- 3/5, 3 out of 5, reviewed Jul 31, 2018
Nice, simple brooder. I see you have not updated with the top yet.
I have one suggestion, that is that you put linoleum or something similar on the floor to make clean up easier.
To clean out the brooder are you having to lift it all out through the top?
I thought of another suggestion. Some people advocate for a window in the side of the brooder so that the chicks can see "the world" instead of just always seeing a large hand swooping down on them ( like a hawk would!).
Please update with a picture and description of the lid you built. Would also like to hear how it worked for you. Were there any problems? Did you add roosts? How/where did you place the food and water? Were you able to keep the water clean wherever you put it?
Thanks for sharing your ideas.