Converting my dog crate to an indoor brooder?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by cheeps, May 22, 2010.

  1. cheeps

    cheeps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 18, 2008
    Rockwell, NC
    I have two one-month old Narraganset poults and two one-month old barred rock chicks in my indoor brooder. They are currently in a brooder I made out of a large tupperware container that I cut out the lid and replaced with hardware cloth. It's worked great so far but I'm noticing my turkeys are getting too tall for it. Plus, it's time for me to add a roost, and there's just no room in there. I've heard all the horror stories for putting turkey poults out too early, so much to DH's dismay my babies are staying in the house for a while yet and they need a bigger house.

    I have a nice large wire dog crate. I have a rottweiler so it's a huge crate, it's the sort with the black wire and the removable tray in the bottom. Do you guys think I could somehow convert that for the turkeys to stay in? I'm worried about it being drafty...we do have the A/C on in the house. I thought about maybe wrapping it in plastic or something although DH laughed at this idea. I think it would be ideal due to the removable tray in the bottom and it's accessibility with the easy to open doors. I may be selling the two chicks and so I feel like something large like this would be big enough for the turkeys to stay in for a while. Any thoughts??
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2010
  2. MareeZoCool

    MareeZoCool Chillin' With My Peeps

    Rather than wrapping plastic over that crate, I'd suggest that you use an old sheet to block any drafts The sheet also helps calm the birds. Plastic seems to confuse or scare them (my experience)[​IMG] good luck!
     
  3. cheeps

    cheeps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 18, 2008
    Rockwell, NC
    Awesome advice! Do you think that I could just block off three sides and leave the front side open? Hubby's gone for the afternoon and I'd like to surprise him and have it done when he gets here!
     
  4. herefordlovinglady

    herefordlovinglady It Is What It Is

    Jun 23, 2009
    Georgia
    i would leave one side open so they will be able to see out and get used to movement. will you have a light too? not sure if it is necessary but i was wondering. i loved my dog crate brooder. i will not go back to anything else. it was so easy to access and easy to move about. mine is 4 long 3 wide and 4 high. it is a good size. when the chicks were babies, i used card board around the outside bottom so they could not slip through. worked like a charm. i was able to hang my light inside with a chain so i could adjust the light as needed. had great fun putting in roosts, used branches and just ran them across on different heights. my chicks stayed in there until they were about 6 weeks and then i took the whole brooder out and put it in the coop for another couple weeks. then it was freedom from there. good luck and have fun
     
  5. cheeps

    cheeps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 18, 2008
    Rockwell, NC
    Awesome! I knew I couldn't be the first person to come up with this idea. Herfordlovinglady, what did you use for litter?
     
  6. Morgan7782

    Morgan7782 Dense Egg Goo

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    Mar 22, 2010
    Sacramento CA
    Hello there, just wanted to say good idea! LoL. I used my dog's old crate (extra large 4ft x 2 ft and I have two hens) as their coop. I applied plywood to the sides, along with hardware cloth to make any gaps smaller and harder to get through. The wire base provides a lot of protection for my two girls, and they are totally comfortable in it. I have it off the ground, and then raised off the platform so rain won't wet the bottom. Bedded with shavings and they are happy as can be.

    P.S. Cardboard attatched to the sides of the dog crate will also give draft protection. Easy to attatch and take down when needed too.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2010
  7. cheeps

    cheeps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 18, 2008
    Rockwell, NC
    Alright guys...don't laugh...I did this by myself as hubby is still not home. But they seem pretty happy in it so far! My turkeys are stretching their wings and trying to fly and use their new roost (when he gets home I'll get him to get me a better branch...I think that one's too small). I used cardboard boxes around the outside to keep them from kicking out the shavings. Then I found some horribly ugly curtains that were in our house when we bought it around the outside. Left the front open since it's about half covered by the cardboard. I'm sure hubby will tweak it when he gets home...but I'm slightly proud of myself! Sorry the pics are blurry...still haven't figured out my new Droid...lol

    What do y'all think?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    As I'm sure you can see they've already christened their new crib with a big poo!
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2010
  8. HelenB

    HelenB Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 11, 2010
    Kitsap Peninsula
    I don't have a picture but that's just what I did for my babies. I hung up my feeder to keep the chips and poop out of it. I have a smaller crate (smaller dog [​IMG] ), and have my 8 tiny babies in there now. It looks nice and cozy in there for your birds.

    Have fun,
    Helen
     
  9. 3chimama

    3chimama Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 8, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    That looks cozy for them...good job!
     
  10. Xenia's Chickens

    Xenia's Chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2010
    Connecticut
    My Coop
    I used a 3'x4' dog crate for my chicks- worked very well. I cut 4" tall sections of leftover laminate flooring to fit the sides, drilled holes in the corners and attached them to the cage with string (keeps the litter more or less in the crate, and keeps the smaller chicks from getting out.). I hung a workshop light for heat, and put the food and water on square pieces of 2x4's until the chicks were old enough to use a hanging feeder and waterer (which I hung from the top with braided wire). I used pine shavings for litter, and covered the whole thing with a sheet to keep the warmth and dust in, and drafts out. I opened the front during the day for light.

    The biggest problem I had was dust, presumably created by the chicks scratching in the litter. Dust everywhere! I had to wipe down the lamp every day because I was concerned about the dust on it causing a fire.

    The chicks are now 8 weeks old and my coop isn't finished yet. I moved the dog crate into the barn and use it as a "night coop". They are free ranging during the day and stay in the crate at night. I'm worried about raccoons reaching through the wire, so I still keep the sheet on overnight.
     

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