Brooder Box Improvements?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Poultry Nut, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. Poultry Nut

    Poultry Nut New Egg

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    Feb 14, 2013
    I have been raising and keeping chickens coming up on 5 years now! :) Looking forward to a new batch of about 15 little fluffs, my current brooder box is badly in need of a re-vamp!
    It has had about 3 batches of chicks come through it!

    My current brooder (un-improved upon) is a wooden box: 3' long by 2' wide by 1' high. It has an avian wire floor that bulges inconveniently upwards in the middle. Which makes it quite a daunting task to try to keep the feeder and waterer up right... >.< I kept paper towels down until their feet were big enough not to slip through.

    I plan on improving it by ripping out the floor, and putting a stiff wire sheet down and re enforcing it with a few small wooden beams. (and I want to add 4" tall posts to the corners for infinitely easier cleaning) Also, I plan on adding a curtain that sections off about 1/4 of the brooder, and the heat lamp would be behind it. Because, one issue I ran into with the entire brooder being heated was the water heated up and became quite pungent and disgusting, so it had to be cleaned quite frequently... So with the moved brooder lamp, that would no longer be an issue! :)

    And I also want to make a hinged lid with a circular cut out for the lamp on one side, and the other one big lid with two hinges, a handle, and a prop stick. I would also cut a circular hole on the side, where the lamp is and mesh it out. Like a window.

    Thoughts? The chicks are hatching on the 29th of April.

    Thanks!

    --Nut
     
  2. gimmie birdies

    gimmie birdies Chicken Obsessed

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    I cannot have a wire floor in my area, too cold. I use old kitchen cabinets for my brooders. they are nice cause they keep in the heat and already have doors.
     
  3. gimmie birdies

    gimmie birdies Chicken Obsessed

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    the cabinets are in the coop of course. lol.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    I don’t know what kind of waterer you use in your brooder but this shows what I did. If it is just setting on wire, it bounces when they play and is real hard to level to start with.

    I very carefully put a level 2x6 in it. Take great pains to get it level. Then I bent a heavy stiff wire to form a clamp that fits over the waterer and hung that from the top. That keeps them from knocking it over. Then I put the screws in the bottom, leaving them sticking up an inch or so to keep them from moving the waterer.
    [​IMG]

    This is my brooder, also in my coop. The top is under the roosts so it functions as a droppings board.

    The plastic to the floor acts as a draft guard. I appreciate what Gimmie said about the wire floor being cold. I put some chicks out there a couple of days ago and they are spending a lot of time right under the heat. It’s been pretty cold too. I think they would stay warmer away from the heat if it had a solid floor. But this behavior is not that unusual. I find it pretty normal for them to spend a lot of time under the heat for the first two of three days. Usually by the third day they start roaming a lot more though I have had some take a week to spend much time in the far end of my 3’ x 6’ brooder. Each batch is a little different.

    My floor is ½” hardware cloth. It’s raised enough that I got some bins from Walmart and put them under it to catch the poop and any water or feed that spills. That stuff goes straight on my compost pile.

    [​IMG]

    You’ll notice it has pretty good ventilation up near the top. I want this to cool off away from the heat. I think they feather out a lot faster and acclimate better if they play in cold temperatures.
     
  5. gimmie birdies

    gimmie birdies Chicken Obsessed

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    you might try a small mesh wire in the form of a tube to fit over the top of the waterer might be more steady.looks great so far.

    I have one silky momma hen and a 6 week old baby in a large dog kennel in my coop to keep'm away from the other birds, then I have a small open cabinet in the kennel with clamp heat lights, not to hot, to give the birds more options and space.. the slats of the dog kennel are small enough to keep in a 6 week old chick not enough for younger but I think I will do something like this for my babies but put more wire and an extra clamp lamp. the other chickens can see the action of the babies, I hope they will want to lay more!
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    If they are the ones I'm thinking of, I'd suggest throwing that clamp away so you are not tempted to use it and hang your lamp with wire or something that cannot be knocked off. Chickens or something else can hit them, knock them off, an start a fire. I really don't trust those clamps.
     
  7. gimmie birdies

    gimmie birdies Chicken Obsessed

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    I was going to put don't worry I have been using clamp lamps alot, but I also really nail'm down they are not going any where.
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Good. There are just too many fires from those lamps. They really do need to be secured much better than the clamps.
     
  9. Poultry Nut

    Poultry Nut New Egg

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    Ah... Lots of nice ideas! I just need to find somebody with a jigsaw now so I can cut space for a screen... And I will rip out the floor and have someone stretching the heck out of it when I put the staples in, so it is relatively flat. You guys have a bunch of brilliant ideas! :)
     
  10. Poultry Nut

    Poultry Nut New Egg

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    And also, I live way to the west, and the coldest it gets now is about 30 deg. at night. But, these little guys are going to take up residence in our den for a few months! And when they get old enough, I will put them outside in a fenced off area with garden stakes, then put them in a dog kennel at night (away from the older birds). Because, a long time ago, my older chickens picked off my other chicks... One by one until all 7 of them were deceased! :(
     

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