Brooder ideas and ?'s

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Chelly, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. Chelly

    Chelly Cooped Up

    May 11, 2007
    So I don't have my chicks and ducks yet - but I have ordered them to arrive in August (I know a long time away)
    But I want to be prepared.
    I don't want to spend a ton of money for a brooder that won't be used for that long, and on looking around the house, I struck on the shelving in my daughters room [​IMG]
    She has a set of these:

    WOuld those work if I laid it flat - no shelves on the inside, just made up to a large square? I would put cardboard on the floor and a few inches up on each side so there was no mess - or little mess outside the brooder.

    Do I have to buy a brooder lamp or can I use a regular light? or perhaps a small space heater to warm it up?

    I see most use paper towels for a couple of weeks, thats great (easy to clean up) Do you layer a bunch down and then lift a row every day, or do you take out the dirty and put down new each time?

    Feeding and watering:
    Can I use small plates etc.... instead of buying special dishes and waterers? I know to put some marbles or something in the water so they don't drown, are there any other tips?
    (I'll steal a dish from the cats or the kids!)

    Handling the chicks:
    I just KNOW my kids will want to hold the chicks ALL day, please let me know what the time limits are for chicks to be out of the brooder for holding time!
    Can we take the chicks outside on a warm day to pick around in the dirt, is there an age limit?

    I think those are all my questions, please give me ideas or tips if I have forgotten anything... and THANK YOU!
  2. pattycake

    pattycake Songster

    May 7, 2007
    fingerlakes, ny
    My chicks just arrived YESTERDAY so I can't help you with much (I have some of the same questions!) but I'd advise against putting food in regular dishes. The chicks just charge right over them! The food would be all over the brooder in seconds...
  3. redneck

    redneck Songster

    May 25, 2007
    I made my brooder from a 90 quart container and a heat lamp.
    I had most of the items, I spent about $15.00 on my brooder.
    Here is where I got my ideas for my brooder:
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2007
  4. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    your brooder sounds good...and as for can use a 100 watt light bulb....just make sure its low enough for them to get at least 95 degrees for the first week....yet have room to move away from the heat when they get too warm. Oh, and make sure they can not hop onto it and get burned.
    For the feed and water dishes....the feed dish really should be a feeder. Like pattycake said...they will sure make a mess with it, and waste more than they eat if its on a shallow plate. For the water...if it is in a bowl of some type, they will get in it..and possible drown, and WILL poo in it. You would have to change the water about every 30 min, to keep it clean. You can get very inexpencive feeders and waterers from TSC....get the ones that screw onto a jar. They are usually under 2.00 each. As for the paper towels...use them for the first few days, untill they know what the feed is, then switch to pine shaveings. This will help keep the smell down. Trust me, you will be happier with the shaveings.
    You said you was getting ducks AND chickens? You DO realise they need different feed, and care....right? You will need a seperate brooder for the ducklings, and they are messy with the water! Not trying to discourage you...just trying to help you be prepared. Have fun with them, and get lots of pics!!
  5. Chelly

    Chelly Cooped Up

    May 11, 2007
    I thought the ducks could eat the same chick starter (unmedicated)
    I don't mind the mess, heck I got two little kids, I dont' think the ducks will be messier than my two!
  6. raisingkane

    raisingkane In the Brooder

    May 9, 2007
    Our brooder box was the bottom of a washing machine box. I lined it with newspaper and papertowels for the first couple of weeks and then rice hulls after that--although now I prefer shavings. It was big enough to last until they were 4 weeks old and then out they went. The feeders and waterers are inexpensive and the only way to go. They will just walk all over an open bowl and make a complete mess. I even went so far as to put a closet pole through the sides of the box. They were roosting at 2 and 3 weeks. I put a light in one corner so they could escape the heat if need be.
  7. Barb Schuetz

    Barb Schuetz Songster

    May 24, 2007
    Viroqua, WI
    I'm just using some big(30-40 gal) rubbermaid type storage bins. No lids and a clamp lamp. Easy to get clean and they aren't messy. It's nice because I have them in a carpeted room.
  8. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    Also, they should be protected against drafts. If you bring the cardboard up a little higher on the sides, that should take care of it. My first brooder was the shipping box from our upright freezer. How many chicks and ducklings are you getting?

    Those cubes are used by a lot of people to make large indoor cages for rabbits and guinea pigs. We hinged ours for a door using zip ties and used a clip for a lock. If you use a cardboard box for a brooder, they still make a nice lid. I might use zip ties, along with the round connectors, to make a more secure lid.

    Do you have any pets in the house? If so, you'll want to make sure your brooder is more secure than what you need to do, just to keep the chickens in.

    I tried to use a swing arm lamp with a reptile bulb for my brooder this time, but it didn't work for me. My particular lamp had too many openings to vent heat out of the top. Great if you don't want to work at a desk under a hot lamp, not so great for a brooder lamp! [​IMG] Just try out whatever set up you decide on before you get the chicks, in case something doesn't go as planned and you need to do something different.

    Since we got our current chicks later in the year, we've had some much warmer weather. We first took ours out 9 days after they arrived in the mail. They've done great, as the temperature outside was about what their brooder temperature was. Ours have had a roofed enclosure, shade and sun, grit, food, water and some supervision.
  9. Chelly

    Chelly Cooped Up

    May 11, 2007
    You guys are GREAT.

    Yes we do have other animals - two cats, the area where I will probably keep the chicks is on an enclosed porch, the cats won't be able to get out there - but I WILL put some of those cube squares over the top with the zip ties.

    Perhaps I can put a box inside the cube's on one side, to keep drafts out and make a cozy place. The top would need to be open I woudl think so I could aim the light in there, and cut a hole for them to get out into the rest of the caged area.

    Would the ducks be ok with that as well?
    I'm getting 9 chicks (I ordered 11 but they don't have the Marans - so I will add the ducks in their place - 3 ducks)
    I could partition it off and put the ducks on one side and the chicks on the other, but I would like them to get to know one another...?

    (I have tons of those rubbermaid containers, but sadly they're all FULL - of fabric and my sewing stuff [​IMG] )
  10. arwmommy

    arwmommy Songster

    Apr 13, 2007

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