My "I need a bigger brooder but husband is gone for the week" project

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Avalon1984, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. Avalon1984

    Avalon1984 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2010
    Muskegon
    Since I have a chronic disorder of incubating WAAAAYYYY too many chickens and needing more space than what I have, I was not too shocked when I realized on Monday that my little chicks were getting too big for their current brooder. What, oh what could I do as a lonely housewife, chicken lady and horse farmer? Husband was far away, my favorite power tools had been left at the family cottage an hour away and I was desperate. So I put on my favorite A-Team Soundtrack, chewed on a pepperoni stick as if it were a cigar, and started to think…and before I knew it, 2 days later, the project was completed! For all you lonely housewifes wanting to build something while hubby is gone, here is my plan:

    You will need:

    • About 8 2x4x8, maybe an extra one in case you cut wrong
    • A roll of Hardware cloth
    • Chicken wire staples
    • A good hammer
    • A halfway decent drill
    • Bolts or square head screws with coordinating drill bits
    • A skill saw
    • Some long (2.5in I think) nails
    • Some plywood for the bottom


    So I started out deciding how big it was going to get. I decided for 4ft on the long side and 2ft on the short side (give or take the width of the 2x4 that it was going to be connected to since the 2ft sections were on the inside). I cut 2 pieces of 2x4 to 4ft length and the leftovers I cut into 2 pieces at 2ft each. I laid those onto their short sides (to create a nice barrier for chicks that love to throw sawdust all over kingdom come) and I used the long nails to temporarily hold everything in place. It helps if you have a big brick behind the boards you are nailing into to keep them from sliding while you are hammering. It also helps if you weigh them down with your own weigh or push them against a firm wall. So before I knew it, I had my bottom part done (without the bottom board). Now I had to figure out how I was going to build the top. I decided to keep the brooder as airy as possible so in order to have good airflow, I wanted to have as much hardware cloth around it as possible. To do that I built another 4ftx2ft section, did the same steps as above and that would be my top part. To connect those 2 pieces I had to think of some support beams so I cut myself 4 43in (don’t ask me why I chose 43in but it did come in handy) long pieces of 2x4 which I bolted into each corner of my bottom section. For those of you that use old bathtubs for watering thoughts, it is the same principle as the frame to hold the tub in place. Once I had all supports firmly bolted in, I put some bolts into each corner section to connect the 2x4s that I had originally connected with long nails. I like to have extra support whenever I can. So next I turned my construction around so that it would sit on the 4 43in long support beams that I had just installed. I placed it right over the top part and made sure that everything would line up. Once everything was in place I bolted the support beams into the corners of the top 4ft by 2ft frame. Once done my chick brooder started to look like a cube [​IMG]

    Now all I had to do was to grab some hardware cloth and start attaching it around the cube, since my door was going to be on the top. This way the chicks would have airflow from each direction. I soon realized that doing the 43in length was a blessing because the hardware cloth was double as wide, hence I would be able to use it again on another brooder if needed. I always hate wasting materials and this way nothing got wasted. Once I had the hardware cloth firmly secured around the “cube” I started to work on the top. Again, I wanted to make it as airy as possible. I did the same principle again as with the top and bottom parts, except that I used the flat side of the 2x4s. 2 pieces of 4ft 2x4 and 2 pieces of I believe 20in of 2x4. You will have to measure how long it has to be. Connected them with the long nails (I chose not to use bolts for the top) and placed hardware cloth over it. I nailed some leftover scraps of 2x4 in the corners for extra support. Now all that was left to do was to cut some plywood for the bottom and I was in business. I originally thought about putting hinges on the opening door on top but since it is so heavy I decided against it for now. If you do want to add it, that would be easy to do.

    And here are my pictures. I will be sure to take step by step pictures next time. Between those two days it only took me about 4hrs to put it together. Since I did not have my “good tools” on me it may take me much less time next time. Just be sure to pre-drill the 2x4’s before bolting them otherwise it will strip the wood. I hope you enjoyed my idea of a quick fix chick brooder. I will think about adding a nice little roost for it tonight.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. AlienChick

    AlienChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 9, 2010
    Glasgow, KY
    [​IMG]
     
  3. krcote

    krcote Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Concord, NH
    Job well done!
     
  4. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 30, 2009
    Goshen, OH
    Great job!

    I bought my husband a table saw (miter saw?) and then taught myself to use it. It's SO handy! Circular saws scare me so I make Lowes cut plywood for me when I buy it. Fits in the car better that way too.

    Figured out the power drill too, life saver. Learned to cut chunks of wood into 90 degree corner braces to make a prettier seam in the corners and still be sturdy. Step drilling is a needed skill too, that way you don't need super long nails or screws, first drill a larger hole that fits the size of the screw head. Then drill the little hole. (stop the large hole about half way through, don't go too far!) Screw head ends up buried half way inside the piece of wood. Put in corner braces and screw through them. Turns out cute!

    Need to get pics of my new duck brooder. The only thing I hate is getting the thing square and level. My lid is square, the box is not, it's even in the front but off by 1/4 inch or so on each side in the back. No matter how many times you measure it, it keeps moving!

    Soon I will master 45 angles and do "picture frame" doors. Right now they're just square with corner braces.

    Doesn't it feel great when you don't have to wait around on husband anymore?
     
  5. Wise Woman

    Wise Woman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 12, 2011
    The Enchanted Forest
    That looks great! I am going to be in that same boat this weekend as I just got 12 new chicks last Monday. I had hoped to get a large watermelon box from the local store, but no luck as they send them back. So I have been thinking what else I could do. This would be perfect as I have them in my shed and it is long and narrow, so I could build it to fit my space! I doubt he would let me do it by myself. I always make the hardware store or Lowe's or where ever, cut my wood for me. It is way easier to haul home that way and makes your project go faster if you don't have to stop and cut everything. Thanks for sharing this. I will start on mine tomorrow morning!
     
  6. Avalon1984

    Avalon1984 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2010
    Muskegon
    Quote:You are so right! I love that too and hubby is less stressed out when the Honey-Do-list shrinks. Hubby will get himself a table saw soon too so I cannot wait. I must admit, the Skill saw is a bit creepy but I am glad nothing has happened. I would love to each myself 45 degree angles too. Unfortunately my projects usually start with "What can I put together in a very short time" rather than really thinking it through and taking my time. I look forward to seeing some pictures of yours [​IMG]
     
  7. Avalon1984

    Avalon1984 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2010
    Muskegon
    Quote:Can't wait to see pictures! Good luck! And don't forget to have plenty of fun. I always enjoy the learning part. I am finding that I build as I go. I am not the "look at a plan" person whatsoever. I really wish I were. I never know what I end up once I start a project, I just go with the flow. Maybe, with more experience I will be able to preplan better. For now, 2x4's are my best friends and I always be sure to have many laying around labeled as "Wify's designated project wood".
     
  8. Avalon1984

    Avalon1984 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2010
    Muskegon
    Figured out the power drill too, life saver. Learned to cut chunks of wood into 90 degree corner braces to make a prettier seam in the corners and still be sturdy. Step drilling is a needed skill too, that way you don't need super long nails or screws, first drill a larger hole that fits the size of the screw head. Then drill the little hole. (stop the large hole about half way through, don't go too far!) Screw head ends up buried half way inside the piece of wood. Put in corner braces and screw through them. Turns out cute!

    That sounds like a great idea. Do you have pictures? What drill bits are you using? What type of screws? I could see that working well with bolts too, not just for the chicks but also for our horse stalls. Safety freak as I am, it would make me sleep better if the bolts wouldn't stick out. Although I have seen them being used as itchy posts.
     
  9. CupOJoe42

    CupOJoe42 CT Chicken Whisperer

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    Apr 11, 2011
    Nice job!

    I am in the process of building my brooder (with help!) and wonder if I can use chicken wire instead of hardware cloth since it will be located in my basement. Wouldn't want the chicks to fly thru the openings.
     
  10. Avalon1984

    Avalon1984 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2010
    Muskegon
    Quote:Mhm...good question. I always try to think ahead and like to do the extra safe methods. Will it always be in the basement? Will you maybe locate it outside at one point? I absolutely hate having to redo a project so I try to prepare for all eventualities (Is that a word?). I heard bad things about chicken wire so I naturally go for the hardware cloth but if it will stay in your basemet I don't see why not to use the chicken wire. Maybe don't put it in an area where theri little feet could get stick in it? or their heads? [​IMG]
     

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