PVC frame brooder for cheapskates (like me)! *LOTS OF PICS*

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by wuffielover, Nov 3, 2016.

  1. wuffielover

    wuffielover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 2, 2008
    So, I got the chick bug this fall.... bad. Wanted to get a batch of chickies but I was sick and tired of using the kiddy pool I've used the last few times as a brooder. The round shape is awkward in a rectangle-shaped area, chicks start jumping out quick, if I put a lid on it it makes it really short... OK so maybe I could fix these problems but I had an idea! So OUT with the kiddie pool and I started to build. I tried to spend as little money as possible to make a brooder as LARGE as possible with what I already had (for the most part).

    What I had:
    -Lots of 3/4" PVC pipe and quite a few fittings
    -Some scrap lumber and plywood but not enough to build a very large wooden box-type brooder.
    -An 8' x 10' tarp
    -A heat lamp and dome fixture from previous chick adventures.
    -A lot of zip ties
    -Some wire poultry netting and hardware mesh

    So based on this materials list I decided to build a brooder frame and lid out of PVC pipe. I made it 6' long by 4' wide by 2' tall, because I planned to then wrap the tarp around the bottom and sides to enclose it (and also for easy clean-up after the chicks are out, just take the tarp off, dump all the old bedding, and hose everything down). First I cut a lot of pipe (made easy with a miter saw, thanks power tools!):


    Then built the lid:

    Then the sides, and put the frame together:

    The final product after attaching the tarp with zip ties, using zip ties as hinges for the lid, and fastening wire across the lid frame with, you guessed it, zip ties. I just used poultry netting for the frame since by the time the chicks are big enough to jump that high they (hopefully) shouldn't fit through the holes, and since this is staying in my garage predators shouldn't be an issue.


    Close up of zip ties (exciting!) Some of the PVC is stained since its older pipe that's been sitting outside, oh well:

    So, then for the heat! I had been doing some reading about hover or Ohio brooder boxes and decided to make a little one, tired of always having to find something to dangle a heat lamp from or clamp it to. I made the box 2' by 2' by roughly 14" tall; instead of mounting a light fixture in the side I mounted my dome fixture on the top just because that was easier. Used my table saw to rip down some scrap plywood, and jig saw to cut a nice hole for the heat light (thanks again power tools!). I hunted all around Lowe's and a few other places but had a heck of a time finding red incandescent or even halogen bulbs, so I ended up using an extremely overpowered 250 watt red bulb with a dimmer switch. To get the temp where I wanted it I have to keep the dimmer almost all the way down, but oh well I guess. I'll be on the lookout for a lower wattage light (they did have a red flood light at Lowe's but it was SOLD OUT when I went to buy it!).

    Cut my wood:

    Popped it together with the nail gun and here it is! I didn't attach the lid, it's just a drop in piece with a little pop-hole I drilled so I can pick it up to check the light and the chicks underneath.


    Like so:

    And I got the chickies in this morning, a nice group of Silver Laced Wyandottes! Sorry about the funky lighting, I had the garage door open so some nice sunshine came in! Nice for chicks, but made for very stripey pictures lol.




    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Love this! [​IMG]

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