Advice Needed on Ouside Brooder

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by blue_egg_lover, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. blue_egg_lover

    blue_egg_lover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 9, 2011
    I have a large rabbit hutch that I want to turn into a brooder. I can't keep it inside. I plan on keeping it on my back porch where its half enclosed and has a roof so its protected from snow/rain and wind. I live in Upstate NY so by mid March when I get the chicks I hope it will be milder weather but still a bit chilly. We have most of the ideas down but trouble deciding on how to do a brooder lamp. A friend was telling me to make a hole in the top of it and let that hang there. But how would I adjust it the heat and lowering the lamp ect. We were thinking maybe making a hole on the side and adjust different light bulbs to adjust the heat as they need each week. Its a little mind boggling for us, any advice or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I keep my brooder in the coop where there is no wind or breeze on it at all, plus I use a draftguard. In my case that is plastic around the bottom 16" or so of the brooder reaching all the way to the ground. A huge issue, espcially in what I understand your set-up will be, is to keep the breeze/draft/wind off of them.

    The other thing is to keep one area of the brooder in the required temperatures, but allow them cooler spaces to go to if they so desire. My 3' x 5' brooder is wire so I have real good ventilation. I keep one area plenty warm but the far corners are quite a bit cooler. The first couple of days they seem to hang around the warmer area, but by the third day they are running all over the brooder, only coming back when they want to warm up. That is not as often as you might think. They do tend to sleep in a pile under the lamp, but they are quite peaceful when they do that. They do not pile up because they are cold. They pile up because they like company.

    You can adjust the heat by changing out different light bulbs or by raising the lamp. I really don't worry about having that one area too hot as long as they have areas to go to so they can cool off. The will find their comfort zone.

    I strongly recommend you set it up ahead of time and make sure you can keep the temperatures needed in their warm area on the worst of your nights. A partially protected porch in upstate New York in March concerns me some, but it is probably doable.

    Good luck!
  3. bufforp89

    bufforp89 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2009
    Chenango Forks NY
    I live in upstate NY and have chicks outside in the coop already as well as a few broody hens. The key is to make sure there is absolutly no drafts! Drafts will kill your chicks! You need to get down to their level and make sure. Insulate your brooder with whatever you can or have available. Also make sure that your heat lamp is very secure. Mine are triple secured so that is one device breaks there is another to hold the lamp and so on.

    I change my heat by changing out the bulbs. Hope this helps!
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I wouldn't. Reason being, it will be outside (even though in a sheltered location) and drafts WILL get through the ventilation holes. It is possible you might get it to work ok if you get a convenient stretch of weather coinciding with yoru brooding, but IMO the chances are not really good.

    If you could do it in a garage, or temporarily *completely* enclose your porch while the brooder is running, that would improve your odds considerably.

    In terms of adjusting heat, the easiest thing is to wire a rheostat (dimmer switch) into the light circuit. That, plus swapping between bulb wattages and ideally using more than one (smaller-wattage) bulb rather than just 1 high-wattage bulb, gives you basically infinite flexibility. It will require a lot of close watching and fiddling with, though. Try to put the heat at one end of the brooder so that the chicks have a buncha cooler areas to choose from, so you can aim for having a bit of 'too warm' and a bit of 'too cold' and let them arrange themselves in between.

    Good luck, have fun,

  5. blue_egg_lover

    blue_egg_lover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 9, 2011
    Thanks for the advice everyone. We def planned on insulting the brooder. And we decided to close off the porch temporally. I also had my brother talk to a farmer friend who offered to come over and look at my set up to see exactly what I got to work with. So this makes me feel so better. So I still have about a month to set this up and get it done correctly.

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