I want to see your outdoor brooders!!!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by canepole, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. canepole

    canepole Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 24, 2011
    I am currently building an outdoor brooder and I wanted to see how everyone else had built theirs. I want to be able to keep my chicks outside after about a week. I have built a 2" X 6" box out of two by fours and 1/4 in plywood. It stands 30 in tall and will have a wire floor, 1/3 of it 1/4 in and 2/3 1/2 in for older chicks. I am really wondering would it be possible to keep this design warm with a 250 W heat lamp outside on cold nights. I am in SC and it gets into the 20's and thirties. Let see some photos and advice would be appreciated.
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    I would think your brooder would be much warmer if you have a wooden floor covered with pine shavings. I put chicks out last summer with a 1/2x1/2 inch wire floor, and even banty chick poo wouldn't go through it, plus it is hard on chick's feet. I put a solid surface over it pretty quick--much easier to clean out too with shavings.
  3. Ted n Ms

    Ted n Ms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 7, 2011
    Please be careful putting chicks in a brooder with a single wire floor. I had chicks on a 1/2 hardware cloth floor a few years ago after about a month i went out to feed one morning and found that something had eaten the toes off some of the chicks. The only thing i could figure was that rats had climbed the legs of the brooder and hung upside down to do the dastardly deed. After putting in a double floor about 1" apart no more problem. I will never use a single floor again.

    You can put some cardboad on the wire floor for a few weeks and cover with shavings. After a few weeks you can take out the cardboard, Just use about three heat lamps 18'' apart.
    ps.Use a double bottom.
  4. SC-ChickMom

    SC-ChickMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 21, 2011
    I think this farm has an excellent outdoor brooder.

  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    My brooder has a wire floor and wire sides and I've never had that toe problem. II can see how that could happen, but would think it is pretty rare. Still, I don't doubt these things do happen. And once you see a problem, you need to handle it.

    I keep my 3' x 5' brooder inside the coop, so it is pretty well protected from wind but the coop is not heated. I put a draft guard around the bottom, all the way to the ground and up maybe 18" around the sides. Remember my sides are also wire. My draft guard is a piece of 3 mil plastic wrapped around it to make sure no breeze will hit the chicks from the sides or from underneath. With yours being outside where storm winds can hit it, your draft guard will have to be more substantial. Maybe build it to keep larger animals from being able to get underneath?

    I keep a heat lamp over one area to keep that one area warm and allow the rest to cool off as it will. The coolest I've had mine is with the far corners down to maybe the upper 40's, but I've never had a problem with chicks dying from the cold. Just keep one area in the temperature range they need so they can go warm up as they wish. You'd be surprised how much time mine spend in the cooler areas.

    The will sleep in a pile probably pretty close to the heat. They are not necessarily sleeping in a group because they are cold. They just enjoy each other’s company. As long as they have one warm area to go to they will be OK. I think mine acclimate much better and feather out faster because they are exposed to the cold.

    I raised a brood this way this past fall. By the time they were 5 weeks old, they were outside in an unheated, well-ventilated, but draft-protected grow out pen with no heat. At 5-1/2 weeks the overnight temperature hit the mid-20's. They were fine. If they had come from a hothouse environment where they had not been allowed to acclimate to the cooler weather, I'm not sure they would have been OK at that temperature at that age. Maybe, but I am not sure.

    My concern with yours is that I don't know what your ventilation is like. They need ventilation up high to allow the bad air to escape, but you don't want a high wind to suck away all the heated air. With mine inside the coop, I don't have high winds hitting it so I can have the top and the sides really open. Maybe have ventilation at one end on top but box the other end in where the heat lamp is. I do think you need to have part of it cool off.

    Another thing for you to consider may be a hover. I have not done this, but you can maybe do a search on this forum. A hover is an inverted box they can go under. It holds in warm air, since warm air rises. If you provide a little heat, they have a really toasty place to go to. I don't have any experience with a hover, but my concern is that it might be too warm, where they have a choice between too warm and too cool. Both extremes can be bad, but chicks can usually handle being a bit cool better than being a bit warm. You’re not just looking at your overnight lows but also your daytime highs. Maybe your heat source is on the hover but connected to a thermostat to shut it off if it gets too warm? I'm probably overthinking that.
  6. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    I put this in their coop leave the door open & use the Brinsea eco brooder thats in the pic.:[​IMG]
    Ryestraw likes this.
  7. crystal195655

    crystal195655 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 15, 2011
    Glenoma, WA
    I am brooding my chicks in the coop....my coop is not large so it should be easy to keep a pretty consistant temp inside for them with the heat lamp. there will be plenty of room for them to get away from the heat if they want to. I am getting 8 chicks in 6 days...can't wait! Here is a picture of my setup
  8. suzeqf

    suzeqf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2011
    I don't have a good pic of my brooder but I brood in my hubby's shop, my brooder is a larger metal dog kennel with plastic hardware cloth around to get everyone in and i have a large piece of cardboard as a draft guard and i have the heat lamp where i can raise and lower it as they grow
  9. kbreak

    kbreak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 1, 2011
    Columbia, MS
    [​IMG][​IMG]This is my brooder. It is 3x7x4ft high. It was made to sit on the ground when I had a hen with chicks. When I got my Lavender Orps we put it up on saw horses with a piece of wood for the bottom. We didn't attach the bottom so we can still use it on the ground also this summer. We added wood on the ends with about 4in at the top for ventilation. Placed a tarp over it and fasten it down at night/ raise it on nice days. They grow so fast though. I have 8 Lavender Orps 7 weeks old and 5 silkies. Will soon have to put in a bigger pen. I put 125 red bulb at one end and a 250 red bulb.in the middle. On cold nights I use both lights just in case on bulb goes out at night.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2012

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