1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Brooder Boredom Busters

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by sophiaw00, Apr 28, 2015.

  1. sophiaw00

    sophiaw00 Chillin' With My Peeps

    548
    40
    108
    Apr 27, 2015
    Illinois
    Before anybody mentions it - I know I've been posting a lot [​IMG] I just can't help it! I love BYC so much already and of course am already chicken obsessed.

    I just wanted to start a thread about brooder entertainment because I didn't see any already existing. To some, chickens are just chickens, but to others (me!) chickens are our pets! I wanted them to have lots of things to do and be treated like a new puppy or kitten is treats (spoiled with lots of toys).

    Here is my brooder (don't worry - the blanket was removed from the top because of fire safety.
    [​IMG]
    The brooder is the wooden crate. I originally used it for the feral cats, but they were killed last winter [​IMG].
    It's four foot by four foot and four feet high (except the front is 3 feet for easy access). The crate is their old brooder but they grew out of that in a week!

    I have 8 chickens and they are 4 weeks old. I have 2 salmon faverolles, 2 white marans, 2 blue andalusaisn, and 2 easter eggers. I love them all to death. They didn't have much activity when they were in the dog kennel and weren't very happy. They had the ladder thats in front of it for a roost but that was pretty much it. When I moved them into their new home they began to flap their wings and loved the new toys. Here's what I have in it:

    [​IMG]
    Their feeder (waterer on the opposite corner)
    [​IMG]
    Heat lamp area. I removed some of the straw here so that it was lower and less of a fire hazard.
    [​IMG]
    A y-shaped branch from my yard. They LOVE this thing and at night they all fight for the spot in the middle.
    [​IMG]
    A wood block (what little Tot is standing on) and a tree stump (next to s/he). I also bought a treat at the store called Baby Cakes. It's basically a foraging block but formulated for baby chicks. They LOVE this thing.

    I am also planning on adding a small hand mirror to the inside of it because I've heard they like to look at themselves. It'd be interesting to watch them with a mirror.

    Show me your brooder please! What toys do you give your chicks?
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. SJchickens

    SJchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    396
    23
    83
    Mar 13, 2015
    Long Island, NY
    Ha. I *had* a baby cake (they are called chick sticks at my store). My week olds were afraid of it, my 4 week olds didn't know what to do with it, and my 6 week olds tore it apart in a day. They just stood there for HOURS AND HOURS PECKING THE THING! It was hilarious.

    As for other toys, my silkie baby used to sleep with a big bird plush when she was younger, because her broodermate, a flightly polish, rejected her (she eventually warmed up to her and big bird was no longer needed).

    Also, my Wyandottes used to stare at a mirror I put in their brooder for quite a long time.

    And once in a while for a special treat, I'll hard boil an egg, and give it to them. The yolk is their favorite. They play "Yolksnatch", and for 10 minutes, they just steal the yolk from each other, and make lots of noises :p

    That wooden box is great. I just have a couple of plastic tubs, and a big cardboard box, but it works!
     
  3. sophiaw00

    sophiaw00 Chillin' With My Peeps

    548
    40
    108
    Apr 27, 2015
    Illinois
    I was thinking that after I'm done with it, I'd just toss it so I didn't have to do a deep clean (I'm a little lazy...) but it's worked so well I'm gonna keep it for more chicks. My 4 week olds have pecked the top section off the baby cake and I'm worried they are just eating that and not their feed so I leave it in when I'm at school and take it out when I get home.

    Have you ever had a problem with chicks perching on the feeder, and then pooping right into the fresh supply of feed?
     
  4. SJchickens

    SJchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    396
    23
    83
    Mar 13, 2015
    Long Island, NY
    My buff orpingtons make it a priority to poop in the fresh feed[​IMG] . I generally pick it out by hand, being a clean freak. It's really disgusting and so far I have not been able to avoid it.
     
  5. sophiaw00

    sophiaw00 Chillin' With My Peeps

    548
    40
    108
    Apr 27, 2015
    Illinois
    Two of my chicks (1 BA and 1 EE) love roosting on it and it's so cute. This has been my solution for the last couple day. I only fill my feeder up enough so that I can only see feed when I look inside it, no more. Then I put a bowl inside the feeder to catch the poop. It's worked so far. I'll get a picture so you know what I'm talking about.
     
  6. sophiaw00

    sophiaw00 Chillin' With My Peeps

    548
    40
    108
    Apr 27, 2015
    Illinois
    [​IMG]
    That's my girl, Tater.

    [​IMG]
    That's what I do with the bowl. I still sometimes have to pick the poop out of the bottom part, but none from the inside.
     
  7. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    12,428
    4,585
    416
    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    I have a Flock Block. They all love that - the Bigs and the Littles. I have 2 roosts in the outdoor run, one swings, one doesn't. They prefer the one that swings.
    [​IMG]
    On the swinging roost.
    [​IMG]
    The roost on the left swings....the one on the right doesn't. There is also a black wrought iron corner shelf just visible above the swing. They take turns sitting up there and surveying their domain. Also note the large log.

    [​IMG]
    This is a closeup of the log in the run.....the Littles can get under it to escape unwanted attention from the Bigs. They also sit under it and peck at the decaying wood inside.

    [​IMG]
    The other half of the log is in the coop. Same story.



    I hang apples at varying heights. They go crazy pecking at them. A big plastic container full of dirt is always a hit. In fact, from the first day my chicks arrive, they get a dirt clod tossed into their brooder.

    [​IMG]
    See the suet cage for wild bird suet? In the winter that's what these contain. In the spring they are filled with greens. In summer I smoosh watermelon, apples, greens, tomatoes...whatever I can jam in them. I keep three hung all the time. They aren't always full, but the girls always check them just in case. like Daphne is doing here.
     
  8. sophiaw00

    sophiaw00 Chillin' With My Peeps

    548
    40
    108
    Apr 27, 2015
    Illinois
    I love that coop! So many great ideas! Thanks for sharing, Blooie, I think I might steal some of your ideas [​IMG]
     
  9. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    12,428
    4,585
    416
    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    Feel free! I stole most of them myself! Well, except the big log - that came from a tree trimming in our yard and I snagged it before it got hauled to the back of the tree trimmer's truck for firewood! We knew it was hollow because that entire limb of the tree was dead. Funny, when it hit the ground it broke into two pieces on it's own...it was meant to be!
     
  10. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller Premium Member

    baby cakes are formulated by a naturalist that is right here on BYC.... (although not too active lately) He designed housing and food for Galliform exhibits for Zoos.

    Baby Cakes and Farmers hleper are awesome supplement to their diet. They are full of micronutrients essential fatty acids and protiens.... He also makes a feed which is Pohibitive to buy in large quantities price wise but they suggest to add it to the feed as 5 percent of their ration. Its called Ultra Kibble.

    http://www.wildbirdsuets.com/foragecakes/babycake.htm

    Good nutrition at an early age forms good bones and a robust individual. Exercise and learning hunting techniques is good for them too.

    Another good for them treat is Kale poke it through the bars of a suet feeder and once they figure it out watch out.

    Make sure they have access to grit though if you are introducing Big Bird feeds...

    deb
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by