glass brooder....?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by spish, Dec 29, 2011.

  1. spish

    spish De Regenboog Kippetjes

    Apr 7, 2010
    just wondering what peoples opinions are on using an old glass aquarium as a brooder box for chicks? is there any pros/cons people can think of?

    i have a large aquarium here that leaks and instead of throwing it i thought i could use it as a brooder box? it has no lid but i plan on using mesh over the top.

    so far all i can think of is

    pros - easy to clean - see through so we can see the chicks easily, surrounded on all 4 sides so no draughts

    con's - breakable...maybe problem with condensation (but am guessing with no lid this wont be a problem?) see through - chicks may get spooked or feel insecure...can make them a hideout?)
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I would not worry about a hideout for them. When Mama raises them, they get to see the world. They will be OK. If you want to you can provide a hideout, but I don't think you have to at all.

    The risk I see is that it could get too hot. Heat will kill your chicks before cool. If it is big enough and with the mesh top, you should be OK, but I am a strong believer in heating one area and letting the rest cool off all the way to ambient. They will find their comfort zone that way and you don't have to stress about possibly cooking them. You will find that they are all over a brooder like that. They do not stay in a specific area but seem to like to experience the cooler areas.
  3. henney penny

    henney penny Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 21, 2009
    Northern Maine
    These are my fish tank chicks,keep a thermomater in the tank on the floor so you will know how hot it is getting,I put plexie glass on top of mine or a towel and keep sliding back and forth to adjust the heat and I have different wattage heat lights to,a[​IMG]s they get older I change them.
  4. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 11, 2011
    I agree, my only concern would be them over heating. I've used an aquarium as a brooder, but it was a 75 gallon breeder tank (wider than most tanks), and I had a hard time regulating the temp at first. IMO- them being able to see you through the glass is a good thing. They get used to seeing you and don't freak out as much when you have to mess with them. One of my biggest problems was the chicks making a mess of the glass (I'm kinda a neat freak, so it bothered me lol). There would be food and water splatter everywhere, so I used a damp cloth to wipe the glass clean a few times a day. Good luck!
  5. henney penny

    henney penny Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 21, 2009
    Northern Maine
    [​IMG] Another of my lone silkie with her teddy and feather duster mom
  6. LukesCityHens

    LukesCityHens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 14, 2011
    right now I've got my silkie babies in an old 40gallon fish/reptile tank. I see no problems with it. I wouldn't know about the moisture issue because they're inside most of the time. I just filled up about an inch with pine shavings and they seem to be very happy. also at night I turn on my black light heat lamp that I used for my chameleons because it helps them sleep thru the night.
  7. spish

    spish De Regenboog Kippetjes

    Apr 7, 2010
    well i have a 700L(184us gallons) empty and a 200L (52us g) empty

    my plan was to use the smallest first (so they can't get 'lost') then as they grow move them to the bigger one [​IMG]
  8. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 28, 2011
    You can always adjust the heat lamp over head higher if it's too hot. We use a wire dog kennel. Our glass aquariums are for our fish and hamsters. Great use for hamsters, they can't escape as easily.

    I don't see anything wrong with glass aquariums as long as they have enough room. You can put a roost in there, they will use it when they are about 2 weeks old. I'd make a wire top, so they don't fly out.
  9. itsy

    itsy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2011
    New England
    I brooded two batches in a 20g Long tank (then moved them to a 55g tank) The problems are: regulating temperature under the heat lamp so that it's not TOO hot. If it is too hot, the chicks won't go under it at all and the other side of the tank may be a little cool. Both of my tanks have screen tops, so either put a heat lamp directly on the screen (it's made to withstand temperature, because they're reptile screens) or I hung the lamps from the ceiling. The second problem is making sure you keep the inside of the tank very clean. Ventilation can be an issue in a glass container, so make sure there's no build up of fumes. The next problem is making sure they don't knock over and dirty the water. They will grow quickly, and this soon becomes a problem. It's moreseo a problem if you use shavings, or straw or pellets because they'll kick it into the water. I liked to raise the water up on a tuna can or something of that nature. I don't keep any of my chicks on paper towels or newspaper because I don't want to risk spraddle leg. Another issue is that of getting a "perch" in there if the chicks are going to be in the brooder that long.

    The last two batches of chicks I had, I decided to brood in a large rubbermaid storage container (with no top). It was much much much easier than the tanks. It's far easier to keep clean and the chicks have room that makes more sense. Instead of a long rectangle, it's more of a square and they seem to do better in this situation. I clamped the heat lamp to the side of the rubbermaid. As the chicks got older, I put both the screen tops from the aquariums over the rubbermaid to keep them inside. This also worked well.

    Good luck!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by