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$12 brooder suggestions

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by affacat, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. affacat

    affacat In the Brooder

    May 21, 2011
    this is our first time raising chickens, and one of our first quests was to find a suitable brooder. we even went to a class on raising chickens, and no clear instructions on -where- to find a suitable box were given.

    here was our answer -- go to a moving company / van rental place (we used the most famous one that you can find most anywhere) -- they also sell boxes for your move, and buy a 'Wardrobe' sized box. Assemble it, cut the top off about an inch in (it'll be very sturdy). We used two old framed window screens to cover the opening, with a small weight on the edge of the top screen just to make sure.

    You can probably find this cheaper if you go elsewhere (you may even be able to find one free on craigslist)- we were in a rush at the time:
    Dimensions are - 24" x 21" x 48" (14.0 cu/ft)

  2. KellyHM

    KellyHM Crowing

    Sep 10, 2008
    Lakeland, FL
    Just be careful with the cardboard. It can catch on fire from the brooder lamp. I know people who have had barns burn down from it.
  3. andalusn

    andalusn Songster

    Sep 6, 2009
    Ridgefield, WA
    We lost our barn and the animals inside to a heat lamp that fell... so, cardboard + heat lamp = NOPE I use the largest plastic storage totes you can get at any home goods store and switched from the red lamp to a EcoGlo brooder. Its warm like a momma hen an no fire hazard and easy on the elect bill. A friend kept her 4 chicks in a bathroom with the wall fan cranked up.. no need for any heat lamp of any was needed. They were toasty warm.
  4. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    Plastic rubbermaid tote, and heat lamp. I double secure the heat lamp, by putting a screwdriver thru the clamps or tying the cord to prevent it from dropping lower
  5. affacat

    affacat In the Brooder

    May 21, 2011
    We have our heat lamp attached to a heavy duty vice sitting above the box on a separate surface... we were warned to be careful of the potential for fire, but not to -never- use cardboard.

    In fact, one of our friends nearly burnt their house down using plastic -- they came home to it partly melted and black.

    I don't necessarily see a difference between plastic and cardboard for this issue -- if you mount your heat lamp badly, you're at risk, period. If you mount it well and check on it regularly, you should be fine. Granted, I'm no expert on brooders since i'm new to this, but I am pretty good at preventing fires.
  6. urban hen momma

    urban hen momma In the Brooder

    Jun 17, 2011
    Tacoma, WA
    I would agree that there is probably a fire risk either way...

    If you want to go the cardboard route for cheep, I was noticing behind the local Costco (or any warehouse store I'm sure) they were getting rid of several melon/pumpkin sized boxes. I have never tried asking a warehouse store for boxes, but it couldn't hurt to try!

    Our brooder is made from old (pressed wood) bookcase shelves... two to make the bottom and four sides, with that plastic chicken wire/netting over the top
  7. Urban Chaos

    Urban Chaos Songster

    Feb 9, 2011
    I would use a plastic liner under your bedding - it will help keep the cardboard dry and make clean up a cinch. How many chicks do you plan on keeping in it and for how long? I ask because I will be getting 25 meeties soon and need a larger brooder.

  8. I use BIG metal birdcages (with the bottom grate removed).. and hang the lamp from a secure perch. When I need to adjust their temp I just raise or lower the perch.

    In the past I have also used the rubbermade totes (I don't trust them because of the possibility of melting)

    for bantams/silkies I have even used wire hamster cages or old aquariums.

    My all time favorites though are the big metal bird cages.. no risk of fire and easy to clean
  9. woolyworm

    woolyworm Hatching

    Jun 22, 2011
    I did a similar thing. I used a plastic storage tote and cut down the box so it fit around the tote. I then put polystyrene in the extra space for warmth. My husband made sure to secure the brooder lamp really well from a chain. The chicks stayed warm in the cold barn. When the chicks got bigger, I replaced the plastic bin with a rabbit cage and expanded the box.
  10. affacat

    affacat In the Brooder

    May 21, 2011
    Quote:This was only a urban farming solution -- we keep 4 chicks in there. They had tons of space at first, now less so... but still plenty.

    We don't have an issue with the cardboard getting wet with only 4 chicks... our water is on a concrete paver and that prevents spillage quite well. We DO have a plastic liner between the box and the floor because we weren't sure if anything would happen... it's never come into play.

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