brooder design question WWYD Plywood or Chickenwire?

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10 Years
Mar 11, 2010
Frederick, MD
Last year I made a 4' x 5' brooder, elevated on 3' high legs, about 3' high above that. So the brooder box is 4' deep x 5' long x3' high. It has two doors in the front that are each about 2.5' high and about 1.5' wide with a stud where they meet. Light and airy, outdoor, in the chicken run. Worked like a charm but had one fatal flaw:

The depth of 4' made if possible for the little chicks to run to the farthest corner where I couldn't reach them and once they discovered that it was very hard to start handling them without scaring the wits out of them.

So for this year's brood of 12 chicks which will come beginning of May I want to put some kind of barrier at about 2.5' from the front so that I can reach every part of the 5' long thing. I was thinking of solid plywood, but that's going to be a pain to get through the doors, I'd have to do it in small parts and then assemble inside. My DH suggested I use chicken wire or deernetting. I could fasten this to 2x4 or 2x3's that I could hang from the top rafters, weight it with a 2x4 on the bottom and then staple or screw the sides to the sides of the brooder. My question:

Do you think the small chicks might hurt themselves on regular 1" chicken wire if they all crowd in a corner on top of each other, as they are apt to do. Or that they may tangle in the deernetting?

Your advice appreciated. It is not impossible to use plywood for this "false wall" but it will take some maneuvering and cursing I'm sure.

Many thanks in advance for your advice. I know there are some really savvy folks on here.
I would use hardware cloth, so that they chicks cannot get caught in the larger chicken wire mesh. Staple the wire to the side of the frame opposite the side where the chicks will be. If this is temporary, you could use almost any sort of cloth the create a barrier for the chicks. Tack up an old bedsheet, for instance.

For solid wood, cheap OSB 1/4 inch could serve as a barrier. Make two pieces, each longer than needed to span the gap. Overlap them in the middle. If you make some slots or holes in the wood, you can insert a nut and screw arrangement to hold them solidly in place. It would be easier to handle the two pieces than one that would fit by itself. It would be easier to remove two pieces than one, if the need arises.

Thanks for your reply. I was able to get the one 4'x3' piece of plywood I still had sitting around through the door. I had selfstanding roosts in the brooder and I screwed the plywood to those. I had one gap that I closed with some leftover t111 siding that I had left over from the brooder build. I'm ready for the chicks!!

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