Our new brooder is under construction. No more raising chicks in a plastic tubbie with a light hanging off the side.
One of the features is a poop drawer that pulls out for easy cleaning. I'm putting tile in the drawer for a cleaner environment.
Oops, chicks had to go in early, they were jumping out of the tubbie and running all over the kitchen. Note the feeder. I also built a waterer out of a piece of 3" pipe with water cups attached to the bottom. Finishing touches will include a chick intensive care unit on top for the tiny ones who can't compete with the big boys and girls.
Brooder is 2 foot X 4 foot and 16 inches high. The walls are insulated with Styrofoam to maintain heat. The light (far wall) is attached to a dimmer switch to control temp. I bought all of the stuff new and have less than $80 in it. Note in bottom pic, chicks are standing on 1/2 inch mesh and drawer with newspaper in it is 1 1/2 inches below it. It works great. If a chick poops and it doesn't fall through, the others will push it down when they walk on it. The brooder stays very clean.
Lights, action, camera
I made a simple wire mesh top with hinges and a handle. The feeder is held into place with a piece of plywood with a hole cut in it the same diameter as the pipe (3"). It just sits in there and is not screwed down so it can easily be removed and cleaned. The piece of plywood on the far side is base for future chick intensive care unit. The weather got nice, so we moved to a couple of outside projects and put the brooder on the back burner for the time being. Note the dimmer switch on the side to control the heat lamp. It stays a comfy 90+ on our unheated back porch. I also have a small electric heater under the brooder that I can plug in on cold nights and heat the entire unit from the bottom. I've brooded 20 chicks first and now have 16 little ones in there. There has been zero issues concerning the mesh floor.
My old brooder was a gross stinky mess that needed cleaned 2 or 3 times a day. This one is the definition of cleanliness. The chicks don't lay in their own waste and are squeaky clean. The feeder and waterer never need cleaned, only filled and there is always food. It never runs out. The chicks are warm and happy. Our porch is right next to the kitchen and there is no smell whatsoever. Once the poop falls through the mesh and into the drawer, it dries completely. I only have to clean the poop drawer once every several days. I just pull the drawer out and dump it in the compost pile. It only takes seconds to do. The only thing I don't like is the drawer is kind of heavy and cumbersome being 2X4 feet. When time permits, I may make a lighter weight drawer.