The girls and I picked up our chicks on May 31,2011. They peeped all the way home. My husband, Ben, his dad and our son cleared out our garage and built a brooder out of cardboard boxes, lattice/lathe strips, and staples. It took a bit more than one bundle. The bundles are almost $13.00 at Lowes and the boxes were free as we have been collecting them from my husband's work to reuse. We unfolded them so they were totally flat and stapled them to cut down slats. The brooder is oval shaped and the slats are stapled to a few full length one's on the side for support. We took the flaps and went one in one out the whole way around and added 2x4's along the long sides. We added some weight with paint cans around the curved part. We covered the floor with cardboard as it's a cement floor. (Well, I say we..but really it was them.... )
I added a bale of hay to the floor to cover the cardboard so the chicks didn't slip. A few days later I added pine pellets and pine flakes. The waterers are raised so they'll stay out of the water. I bought disposible pans and filled them with starter and oyster shell. After reading about how farmers used raw dairy milk to cure coccidios (spelling sorry!) I decided to add some raw milk to their starter. It's still nice and crumbly but is giving them some goodies. I've also added some yogurt I made from the milk so they'd have a few more goodies. They also have 2 pans of milk sitting our for them. They LOVE it and it's gone within an hour. I also have RACV (raw apple cider vinegar) added to their water and was giving them a probiotic vitamin in their water.
Oh, the brooder is 12 by 25 feet. We have 100 Cornish Cross that will be slaughtered in about 6ish weeks, 50 Rhode Island Red Roos, 50 Barred Rock Roos, 50 Buff Brahmas (my daughter calls them cowgirls"...'cause their legs look like they are wearing chaps..."....She's 10 and HALARIOUS!!!), 25 Golden Comets, and 25 Buff Orpingtons. We got the Rocks and Reds as 'bonus' chicks and after slaughtering the Crosses I'm going to camponize them and cull as needed. We're going to keep the ones that are very protective so they keep our layers safe and happy to lay yummy eggs and raise little ones.
We've been collecting materials to make our coop and have almost everything ready. I'll be posting pics once we get started on it. PLEASE excuse the messy garage. Instead of actually CLEANING out the garage they just shoved everything to the side and smooshed up against the doors. I'm currently trying to clean the garage while moving around the brooder and not scaring the chicks. Oh we also added more heat lamps because the night temps were too low and they were huddling up.
Hope you like it!