Brooder set up

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by JennyReidy74, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. JennyReidy74

    JennyReidy74 Just Hatched

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    Any thoughts on this brooder set up? Anything I should change or improve? I have 16 chicks coming this week. I do have a 2nd heat lamp but I don't think it will be necessary. We put a lot of effort into the brooder! (the towels are down for day 1 only) underneath there's a layer of wood chips.
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  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Everything looks fine. Agreed, the second heat source should not be necessary since the brooder needs to provide for a warm area, with cooler zones. Just observe the chicks - if they huddle together and chirp, they are too cold (but lowering the heat source would be preferable to adding an additional heat source).
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017
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  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Is that where it is climate controlled or where it is exposed to outside temperature swings? If outside, how big are those temperature swings? If it’s climate controlled it’s easy but if it’s outside your goal is to have the warm end warm enough in the coolest temperatures with the far end cool enough in the warmest temperatures. That brooder is big enough you should be able to manage that easily but that may tell you if you need one or to lamps at that end. If it’s outside and you have pretty cold temperatures you may want the second lamp on as a back-up on cold nights in case the one fails at night when you are asleep. My brooder is in the coop and I have two lamps on for that reason. Like yours my brooder is big enough so the far end will stay cool enough even on a really warm day.

    Have you put a thermometer under that heat lamp to see that the temperature is in the right range? It doesn’t matter if it is a tad too warm, they can just move away, but it might make you feel better if you know it is warm enough. The main thermometer is the chicks themselves as CT said. Watch how they act.

    I can’t tell how that heat lamp is attached. It needs to be wired so it cannot fall. Do not depend on that clamp that comes with it. And use wire so string does not burn or melt if it gets hot.

    I’ve seen chicks 2-weeks-old fly up two feet and horizontal three feet when a broody hen told them to. You might want to have a cover ready to keep them in. A frame with wire mesh would work. You may need it pretty soon.

    That style waterer needs to be really level for it to work right. If it is not level the water leaks out. Also the chicks will scratch that bedding in the waterer, making a real mess. If you don’t have something hiding under the towels, I suggest you put a platform in there that goes to the bottom of the brooder so it is not sitting on the chips so you can level it. Have that platform stick up a couple of inches above the bedding, the chicks can handle that easily. I’d make it big enough so the chicks have at least 3” of 4” clear around that waterer. That’s plenty for them to stand on and will greatly reduce the amount of bedding scratched into the waterer.

    In spite of what I said, it looks great. It should handle 16 chicks well. Welcome to the adventure.
     
  4. JennyReidy74

    JennyReidy74 Just Hatched

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    It was hard to see in the other photo but we do have doors. I've monitored the temp, should be Ok and this is located inside on our porch which has heat. It's cooler than the house (67 degrees at night) but should be ok with the heat lamp addition.
    I like your suggestions about the waterer! We have a small piece of plywood underneath it but we'll make some improvements on that.
    The lamp is clamped on a wooden bar. We'll add a secondary source for securing.

    Thanks for your feedback!!
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    :thumbsup
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!
    Nice Brooder!!

    You might not need a 'heat' bulb for that environment......just at 75-100 watt incandescent bulb would work.
    Not sure you can get incandescent at all anymore tho......except maybe red reptile bulbs, which work great.
    Using a dimmer extension cord is another great idea for adjusting heat out put without having to move the lamp itself.

    Gonna past my whole chick heat blurb...ignore what you don't need or already know.


    Here's my notes on chick heat, hope something in there might help:
    They need to be pretty warm(~85-90F on the brooder floor right under the lamp and 10-20 degrees cooler at the other end of brooder) for the first day or two, especially if they have been shipped, until they get to eating, drinking and moving around well. But after that it's best to keep them as cool as possible for optimal feather growth and quicker acclimation to outside temps. A lot of chick illnesses are attributed to too warm of a brooder. I do think it's a good idea to use a thermometer on the floor of the brooder to check the temps, especially when new at brooding, later I still use it but more out of curiosity than need.

    The best indicator of heat levels is to watch their behavior:
    If they are huddled/piled up right under the lamp and cheeping very loudly, they are too cold.
    If they are spread out on the absolute edges of the brooder as far from the lamp as possible, panting and/or cheeping very loudly, they are too hot.
    If they sleep around the edge of the lamp calmly just next to each other and spend time running all around the brooder they are juuuust right!

    The lamp is best at one end of the brooder with food/water at the other cooler end of the brooder, so they can get away from the heat or be under it as needed. Wattage of 'heat' bulb depends on size of brooder and ambient temperature of room brooder is in. Regular incandescent bulbs can be used, you might not need a 'heat bulb'. You can get red colored incandescent bulbs at a reptile supply source. A dimmer extension cord is an excellent way to adjust the output of the bulb to change the heat without changing the height of the lamp.


    Or you could go with a heat plate, commercially made or DIY: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/pseudo-brooder-heater-plate
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Just had another thought....that porch will be great for hardening them off faster by cooling the room down to transition them out to the coop.

    Make them a 'huddle box', put it in the brooder after turning off the heat(you might have to 'persuade' them to use it) then move it out to the coop with them.
    Cardboard box with a bottom a little bigger than what they need to cuddle next to each other without piling and tall enough for them to stand in.
    Cut an opening on one side a couple inches from bottom and big enough for 2-3 of them to go thru at once.
    Fill the bottom with some pine shavings an inch or so deep.
    This will give them a cozy place to sleep/rest, block any drafts and help hold their body heat in.

    Do you have your coop built yet?
     
  8. lilchicky07

    lilchicky07 Just Hatched

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    What are the measurements on your coop?
     
  9. JennyReidy74

    JennyReidy74 Just Hatched

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    This is the coop! It is 12 by 8 with the coop itself being 6 X 8. We still have a ways to go. We plan to landscape and secure the coop We will also add an additional 16 x 24 enclosed run for them.
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    It’s hard for me to see details on that but it looks like you have planned well. You have some great opportunities for good ventilation with that. I don’t know how that “porch” section of the coop is made, but it could be pretty predator proof. If so, I’d pretty much consider it part of the coop. It should be available pretty much year around, even though you get snow. It looks like that “porch” section will be in the shade in summer, which is a good thing. It looks like it is on a rise, which means it should drain well.

    One thing to consider. I think I’m looking at the side with the human door and I see those nests there. You might consider a gutter with downspout on that side so when you are gathering eggs or going in the door you don’t get soaked in a rain.
     

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