I need some advise on Creating a Brooder.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Framac, Apr 8, 2011.

  1. Framac

    Framac Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2009
    New Berlin
    I live in Upstate NY and it is still cool here, some might say cold in the evenings(25 this morning). I have 24 very healthy chicks that are 2 weeks old in a cardboard brooder in the basement of our house. The basement floats around 65-67 and with the heat lamp parts of the brooder are around 85-90 (the far side is 75).

    My DW is complaining about the smell. For the betterment of our household I need to move them out of the house. The Coop is not an option right now, but the insulated garage is where I am currently thinking of putting them. The garage this morning was 41.

    I am going to build a Brooder (3X4 or 8X4). What suggestions do you have that can allow me to get the brooder up in temperature the safely have them in there.

    My current theory is that I will build it with a plywood bottom, Plexiglas sides With 2 heat lamps and at least a partial cover to assist in keeping the warmth in.

    Any advise is very welcome.

  2. mcjessen

    mcjessen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2011
    Coeur d Alene ID
    Look through the brooder designs listed on this website. There are some great ideas on here. I would go with the 8x4 size brooder. I'm not sure how well plexiglass retains heat but what you're describing sounds like it would work. Always go bigger than what you think they'll need.
    We have our three 2 wk olds in a big Rubbermaid toy bin with hardware cloth over the top with one heat lamp. They are in the garage also. It was 24 overnight. They were fine this a.m. Hope that helps.
  3. pechara

    pechara Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 8, 2011
    Gig Harbor, WA
    Yeah, consider the rubbermaid giant bins. We did not even have to put anything on top of it for the fist 3 weeks as the birs could not fly up the 18". I have also seen things as simple as a big cardboard box.
  4. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

    Mar 29, 2008
    Riverside/Norco, CA
    unless you are continually hatching or just like building cool stuff, I'd go with just a cardboard box. I have one I picked up outside the service department of a Chevy dealership. It is six feet by two feet, maybe fourteen inches tall. I just put a hardware cloth top on it, wrapped the extra over the sides about four inches. I cut three BIG holes in the top, big enough to just set the gallon waterer straight down onto a little platform that is high enough to keep the shavings out. (okay, the truth, it is a deep sided frying pan sitting upside down, LOL) I did not put hinges on the wire lids. I just set a larger square of wire on top of the holes, as my spare bedroom is totally predator proof. I put a scrap of linoleum to line the bottom of the box, to make cleanup easier and shavings last longer, and zero mess escapes the brooder. I can throw a rug over the top of the brooder top to whatever degree I think I need to to help keep temps. I folded the top of the box inward, and the babies sometimes crawl behind the narrow space for a dark warm place to sleep if the want the privacy or shelter rather than under the lamp. They seem to get more independent more quickly in that setup than in a smaller one, and feather out quicker, and stay more active, and zero picking.
  5. arockkid

    arockkid Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2011
    Buffalo NY
    I'm new at this too, but when I picked up my chicks the woman I bought them from suggested to me to use Best Cob, a horse bedding in the brooder to help with the smell.
    I've only had them a week but no smell, and all I've done so far is vacuum off the top layer one time. And since it's 100% corn they peck at it and eat it and it is fine for them. This might get you by a while longer, we're in NY too, so they'll also be in the house for a while. She told me the brooder they were in hadn't been changed for a few weeks, and had absolutely no smell.

    BTW-they are in the living room with us, so I'd know if they smelled. And the bedding comes in about a 40lb bag.
  6. Framac

    Framac Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2009
    New Berlin
    My Brooder is Created. 48X36 With Plexiglass sides. My DW is happy because they are out of the house, I am happy bacause the chicks seem to be happy. When time permits I will try and post pictures. The great thing is that I had everything on hand, so the cost was 0 dollars.
  7. Iheartchicks<3:)

    Iheartchicks<3:) Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 1, 2010
    Mount Vernon, WA
    heres mine...[​IMG]

    It has a removable tray to catch poop, and a removable wire bottom for the chicks to stand on, really easy to clean!! [​IMG] I cover up half with a thick sheet folded into fourths.. works awesome! I clip a lamp onto the chicken wire so it sits right ontop, the kind of lamp with the metal protectors cone outside...
  8. F106A

    F106A Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2011
    Texas Big Country
    I was inspired to build this based on a design I found here on BYC. The original builder made his a bit smaller, probably a lot squarer, and for $50 more than mine. Mine is 60"l x 36"w x 24"d. His was 60 x 34 x 14. My inner frame is 48" tall, and I added an upper deck to it with a piece of leftover OSB. I sketched out my design using only his photographs, and narrative as a guide.

    The BYC brooder page I found the design on is right here. The original is on the top left of the page.


    I used 7/16" OSB instead of exterior plywood, 1" hex chicken wire on the back and sides, and standard 2x2s for the frame. The top and door is covered in 1" x 1/2" welded wire because the chicken wire came in a 24" roll, and I needed almost 30" for the door. I plan on adding some treated 2x4s on the bottom when/if I move it outside. I was thinking how easy it would be to add a trap door on the bottom front for a removeable poop tray, and may add one later. It took me four days to build it considering work, and a day off to see the dentist, but could have easily done it in a weekend. I could easily make this again, and much squarer! (I really learned a lot on this build!)

    Am I going to start a chicken farm, and reuse this for years? Probably not, but an ad in the paper, or a note on a couple well-placed bulletin boards might get it sold for, oh, I don't know. $75-$100 range? A coat of paint, or some T1-11 veneer on the box might even up the price for someone who fancies more detail.

    Here are the pics. One in progress, one exterior shot, and one interior shot.


    Edit: Gosh, I completely forgot to add the temps! I added four j-hooks on the top of the frame (you can see the forward ones), and by using the clamp, or the wire on the lamp I have been able to easily adjust the temp to between 80-95 degrees on the side of the lamp. I haven't measured the "cold" side, but the coldest it got in the garage in the past two weeks has been in the mid-50s. I moved the chicks in this brooder when they were a week old. They've been there just under one week now.



    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011

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