Brooder bottom question? Need advice...

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Hodawg, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. Hodawg

    Hodawg Chillin' With My Peeps

    I originally posted this comment in the "show your brooder pix" thread, but after 171 hits on that thread I'm afraid that my question will be lost. Mods, please move or consolidate as necessary, as I'm fairly new here and don't fully understand all the rules yet.

    I've spent all weekend working on the coop and will hopefully finish next weekend. Pix then, then onto the run. During the evenings when it has been too dark to work outside, I've been researching and pondering the construction/rigging of our brooder. We plan to pick up six 2 day old BR's the week following Thanksgiving, so I want the brooder to be set up before hand. Yesterday I spotted a 120 quart igloo cooler in my outhouse (storage shed) and two old metal wire shelves from a fridge we ditched years ago (I knew those things would come in handy one day). Anyway, tonight I began my experiment at regulating the temperature in my igloo cooler/brooder with a 75 watt bulb in a common clamp-on shop light. To my delight, the temp stabilized at 95.2 degrees, and I can easily regulate the temperature by slightly elevating the light fixture. A cheap, multi-purpose, and easily cleaned brooder is born!

    So, my question is, what is the best method for the flooring of the igloo brooder? Is pine shavings alone sufficient? If so, how often should I clean it out? Should I install one of the raised screen type of rigs that I've seen in some of the brooder pix here? Do I still use pine shavings with the raised screen floor? Thanks in advance.

    Beers y'all,
    Ken
     
  2. AlienChick

    AlienChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I saw your post over there and answered it.

    I basically said use shavings (go there for the full answer).
     
  3. Hodawg

    Hodawg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for the reply, AlienChick, to both threads! OK, the pine shavings alone method sounds easy. I've read on some other threads about putting down paper towels on top of the shavings for the first few days. What is the purpose of the paper towels?? We morons need to know these things.

    Beers y'all,
    Ken
     
  4. mikecnorthwest

    mikecnorthwest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wouldn't over think it. Pine shavings will work fine so if you can buy a bag in your area I would do that. The key to the brooder is to simply monitor the temperature, make sure they have food and clean water, and for the first week or so make sure the chicks don't have pasty butt. They pretty much raise themselves.
     
  5. Hodawg

    Hodawg Chillin' With My Peeps

    I just measured the 120 qt. igloo cooler to compare it to some of the other Tupperware type of brooders mentioned here. The inside dimensions (all bottom dimensions accounting for taper) are 14" wide, 32" wide, and 15" tall. Is that big enough for 6 peepers?

    Beers y'all,
    Ken
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I love brooder questions! I've tinkered around with brooders almost every year for the past five years, finally arriving at, what I feel is an ideal brooder.

    First of all, to answer the question, why paper towels? The first two or three days you may want to use them over the shavings so the tiny ones don't mistake the shavings for food and eat too many. (They'll eat some, but it won't hurt them.) But another reason for paper towels is that you want to monitor the droppings. They're so tiny that they'll disappear in the shavings and you won't know if you have a problem, for example, watery droppings indicate the chicks may be too hot. Also, it's easier to keep clean, just tossing the soiled towels.

    Now, your Igloo brooder will be dandy for the first week. However, keep in mind the chicks double in size every week! By the end of the second week, they'll be trying out their tiny wings and actually may achieve lift-off.

    I find that the most versatile brooders are simple cardboard appliance boxes. I've done amazing things with them, even joining two to make a two-bedroom condo with a pass-through between them. The best thing about the boxes is you can add space very quickly and easily.

    I also like to elevate my brooder so the chicks don't become frightened of the disembodied hands coming down at them from above like a predator, which they're programmed to fear. It's also easier on your back and you can enjoy the chicks from a chair beside the brooder.

    In conclusion, you really need a space twice that of your Igloo cooler. Four times the area would really be nice once the chicks become really active. Make sure you include something to cover the top so they don't fly out such as simple cheese cloth.
     
  7. AlienChick

    AlienChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:What azygous said. [​IMG]
     
  8. Hodawg

    Hodawg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Wow! I had no idea that 6 little peepers needed so much space! I thought my huge igloo cooler would be more than adequate after seeing so many pix on this forum of folks using the WalMart Tupperware containers that were half of the volume of my cooler. Thanks for the heads up. Gotta start looking for a bigger box, I guess.

    Beers y'all,
    Ken
     
  9. Godiva

    Godiva Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your igloo will be fine for a short while but then they will definitely need more space! Otherwise they start picking on each other [​IMG] I like to do non slip shelf liner for the first few days, it stays in place better and I can clean it off and reuse with the next chicks [​IMG] Most chicks do fine going onto the shavings right away but there are always the few that think it is more fun to eat the shavings and ignore the food [​IMG]
     
  10. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Here's what my two-bedroom condo cardboard appliance box brooder looks like, just to launch you with an idea. I bet you could come up with something to put this brooder to shame![​IMG]
     

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