So frustrated with brooder water mess...

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by lutherpug, May 7, 2016.

  1. lutherpug

    lutherpug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Initially we had a nipple waterer that we made from pvc pipe. Worked great except we that we were constantly scooping out soaking wet shavings from underneath the waterer. Figured out we had a leaky nipple, fixed that with no real improvement-I think they're just letting a lot go to waste when they drink. Switched to a plastic one gallon waterer from Tractor Supply. Even bigger mess. Water EVERYWHERE. Emptied the entire brooder last night and set the fan in it to dry it out. It's basically a wooden crate so I'm worried about the moisture-both from the standpoint of it harboring bacteria and also because this crate is sitting on my light colored carpet.

    When I filled it last night after it dried I used all purpose sand as my hope was it wouldn't hold water as well. Just went to check on them and it is wetter than a Florida beach in there AGAIN. So, the fan is in there again, the chicks are in the dog crate in the yard and I just opened a beer. Super frustrated. Is everyone else having this problem? What are you using to water chicks? If it makes a difference, these 7 babies will be 4 weeks old on Monday.
     
  2. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    Years ago, I was sick of the mess, too, so I invented a hanging water bottle using the smaller quart chick water bottles. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/957712/how-to-hang-a-chick-water-bottle

    It's super easy to make using a small net bag that Clementine oranges come in from the market. I give step by step instructions on how to put it together, with photos. Scroll down further in the thread and you'll see how to center the hanging knot on the top of the bottle so the bottle hangs level and water doesn't spill.

    Then all you need to do is cut some slots in your brooder walls, slip a stick though, and you have something to suspend the bottle from.

    I have a bunch of these bottles and they come in handy for sick chickens in isolation, and any number of other uses besides in a brooder.
     
  3. lutherpug

    lutherpug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Azygous-

    The gallon waterer I'm using is a hangable waterer so I'm not sure if this would be applicable or not? Forgive me if it's a dumb question, I've been hauling dirt for 12 hours and lost my mind long ago [​IMG]

    I had it hung but they kept jumping on it or into it which, of course, causes spills :(

    Really wishing the coop was built right about now, I would just throw them in there with the heat plate and call it good!

    Thanks!
     
  4. Choco Maran

    Choco Maran Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I went and got a swam cooler pad from Wal-mart and it is working great. There only about 5 dollars. I cut one in half for both brooders. Don't really have a problem. The pad in set right on top of the shavings. My biggest problem is keeping the shaving out of the water.
     
  5. lutherpug

    lutherpug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I pulled out the old waterer-one like Azygous has in that post, and set it on a landscaping brick in the coop. If nothing else, at least it is less water to spill than the bigger waterer [​IMG]

    I'm just too exhausted right now to try to problem solve. I really do appreciate all the suggestions! I may have go grab a bag of clementines tomorrow at the store......

    Slightly off topic-there was no way to dry out all that sand. The fan barely made a dent. I'm not pulling it all out of the brooder unless it is 100% absolutely necessary. It will eventually dry out, right? We're planning to use sand in the run-obviously it will be wet when it rains, snows, etc. Assuming that this won't be harmful but advice appreciated.
     
  6. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    Funny you should mention wet sand in the brooder. I'm facing that very problem myself.

    I am getting new baby chicks in two days, and I brood outdoors in my run under the heating pad system, and my run is sand. Well, the chick pen I plan to use for brooding my new babies was saturated a week ago when I got sixteen inches of snow, and the melt found its way into the run under hydrostatic pressure, meaning in spite of raking the darned stuff off the run roof and then shoveling the resulting mountain away from the run, the melt still crept in under the run under ground and all the sand in that pen is soaked.

    My concern is evaporation causing an unwanted temperature drop, which could chill the babies. They have no insulating feathers to hold in their body heat, and any cold draft or humidity will compete with chicks struggling to maintain their body temperature. So, I've been raking it back and forth and turning it over and over, and inviting my chickens to help with those built-in rakes they have on their feet, and the last couple days have been warm and windy, and I hope it dries out before I install the chicks.

    So, this is your problem with wet sand - evaporation causing an unwanted "air conditioning" effect. If you have any place to stash the chicks temporarily until the sand in the brooder dries out, I would do it.
     
  7. Werforpsu

    Werforpsu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am a beginner so my solution might be bad BUT....

    We bought the 1 quart waterer from TS. They kept spilling it and one morning I went to the brooder to see shivering chickens because the entire brooder and all the bedding was wet. Anyway, we put it on a board so it was elevated, I thought that the bedding was getting into it and that this would prevent that and therefore our problem.
    Fast forward several hours to another wet coop.
    In the end, I added a towel. I have a folded bath/rag towel on the bottom, a board on top of that and the waterer on top of that.
    We went great for about 5 days and then when I changed the bedding, it apparently wasn't set level and that caused the waterer to not be setting straight and I got a spill BUT...the spill was soaked up primarily by the towel. I had to scoop out just a few handfuls of bedding that was damp, though it probably would have dried. I replaced the towel with a dry one and we were back in business. The towel is hang drying and going to be washed for next time.
     
  8. RonC

    RonC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Might purchase one of the kiddy pools and place it under your brooder to protect the carpet. I hang my waterer but haven't had the spillage problem. Now if I could keep them off the top of the feeder.
     
  9. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    Placing a towel or some similar material under a waterer to soak up spills is a very simple and straight forward solution, and it may allow you to get by as long as the chicks inhabiting the brooder are well on their way to growing in their feathers for insulation against losing precious body heat.

    The problem with any excess moisture in a brooder over a large enough area, especially when chicks are mostly still decked out in down, is the evaporation effect causing a cooling, as much as ten degrees, of the air in the brooder, which could suck warmth from tiny chick bodies, causing them to spend way too much time under a heat lamp, disturbing a nice flow of chick activity. and natural weaning off heat. Also, if a chick happens to get drowsy and fall asleep on the wet towel, it may end up with wet down which will cool it dangerously even further.

    You want to avoid spills. Period.

    The reason for using small quart chick water bottles is they present far less surface area, both on top and on the tray part for chicks to be attracted to perching on them. Placing the bottle on a couple of bricks laid side by side is a quick way to elevate the bottle so shavings are less likely to get kicked into the water tray, but there's still the danger of a dim-witted chick deciding to take a nap next to the bottle and when its head drops down in slumber, if it happens to land in the water tray - tragedy. We had a report this past week on one of the forums of a chick drowning in this fashion in a quart water bottle tray.

    It's so easy to make a hanging bottle, I urge every one who is getting chicks or who has them already to go treat yourself to some Clementine oranges and follow my easy steps and make up several hanging bottles. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/957712/how-to-hang-a-chick-water-bottle
     
  10. lutherpug

    lutherpug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks to everyone for the good info and replies-I really do appreciate all the good advice here.

    As I mentioned yesterday, I swapped out the bigger waterer and feeder for the smaller ones and this seems to have eliminated the issue. 6 out of 7 chicks are mostly feathered, I have one Cochin that is lagging behind on development which I've heard is common for the breed. Nobody is acting cold, they're barely spending any time under their heat plate during the daytime. I am, however, going to swap brooders to give them some more space and eliminate the wet wood thing. So, I bought a kiddie pool and am getting ready to start cleaning the garage to give them a home out there for the next several weeks.

    Building the coop will be the easy part compared to what we've had to do to our yard to get it coop ready. That project is on the verge of potential disaster so the odds of the chicks being outside at 6 weeks is looking near impossible at this point. The water in the brooder was really just the cherry on top of the sundae this weekend but that's a story for another post.

    Thanks for the advice and for letting me blow some much needed steam about the rest of it [​IMG]
     

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