Starter kit/supplies

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by AZ RT89A, Feb 5, 2015.

  1. AZ RT89A

    AZ RT89A Out Of The Brooder

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    I was going to buy this kit from Mcmurray which has a lamp, a couple feeders and waterers and a barrier. Is this kit a good kit to buy or is it like most starter kits where they put in the cheaper stuff.

    https://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/starter_kit.html
     
  2. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think you could put it together cheaper. The "brooder barrier" may be perfect for day old chicks, but by three weeks they'll be jumping out of that.

    1) Get a wardrobe box and open up one side or a pumpkin box (free from the grocery store).

    2) A couple of nipple bottle caps (http://shop.chickenfountain.com/Brooder-Bottle-Cap_c6.htm). These don't tip over like the font style and they keep the water CLEAN.

    3) Just use a cardboard egg carton as a feeder until they're big enough to need a real one. The little chick feeder is only useful for a couple weeks anyway. Just $ thrown away.

    4) If you're going to splurge on anything, let it be an EcoGlow instead of a heat lamp (safer for you and the chicks). http://www.amazon.com/Brinsea-EcoGlow-Brooder-Chicks-Ducklings/dp/B008HVM56Q
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    I agree, the brooder kits are a waste of money. Go to your local feed store. Heat lamps: $8/each, cardboard: free. Feeders only about $4. Buy a 2 gal. water fount instead of the little base that fits a 1 qt jar. You can cobble something to get you past the first week, or even spend the 4$ on the water base. I put marbles in my chick waterers for the first week to keep them from getting in the water. A chick can and will drown if there is any open water available. I always like to have 2 bulbs handy in case one dies on me. First time brooding: I recommend a thermometer. Other suggestions: electrolyte mix, or make your own. Pro-biotics, or start them on fermented feed. Poultry nutri-drench to give them an extra nutrient boost to get over shipping stress.
     
  4. AZ RT89A

    AZ RT89A Out Of The Brooder

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    Another question, does the brooder need to be in a circle? Or is a rectangle/square ok?
     
  5. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Any shape is fine. Some people like circles because then there's no corner for the chicks to crowd into and maybe end up smothering one of their fellows. Not sure how big an issue that really is though. I just put my EcoGlow sort of out in the middle so they could get under and exit from both sides and all went well.
     
  6. Rose66

    Rose66 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The reason some people use a circle is because that leaves no place for the chicks to pile up and squish one another like they can do in corners. That said, I would say that most people use rectangle and square brooders without any problems. Chicks tend to pile in corners when they are cold so as long as you have the temperature correct and give them space to get away from the heat if they want to, you should be fine with a rectangle or square brooder. You can go to a grocery store and see if they will give you one of the big cardboard bins that watermelons and other fruit comes in. They make good brooders but you may have to cut down the height some so you can reach the bottom to change whatever bedding you use. The last couple of years, I've used a Grand Wardrobe box from Uhaul ($11.95). It comes with a bar (for hanging clothes) which is great for hanging the heat lamps from if you are going to use one of them. Regarding the small quart size feeders and waterers made for chicks, I use them. They last forever so when the chicks outgrow them, I just store them for my next batch of chicks.

    Good luck with your chicks!
     
  7. kar0427

    kar0427 Out Of The Brooder

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    I considered the wardrobe box for a larger area as my chicks grow, and turning it on it's side to make the dimensions 24X48 and 21 high. If you use it as it's designed - with the rod at the top - don't you get a really tall box that's only 24x21 area for the chicks? Or do you rig the rod differently to hang the light from? Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  8. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I highly recommend constructing a brooder out of a cardboard box, too. They're cheap, versatile, and they don't over-heat like plastic containers can. I also strongly suggest you find a sturdy table that will fit your brooder box, and put it on the table. I create a side access in the brooder so the chicks can see me, and as I slip my hands in from the side, they can see they're attached to me and not some predator from the sky. The end result is chicks that are calm, tame and friendly as opposed to chicks that are scared to be picked up.

    It's also much, much easier on your back than brooders placed on the floor. I like to cut slots in the side up near the top, slip a sturdy stick through the slots and hang my water bottle so the chicks don't kick wood shavings into it or overturn it, flooding the bedding. I even cut windows into the sides of the brooder and cover them with see-through plastic to let in more light.

    I stretch cheese cloth over the top to discourage escape artists. The heat lamp needs to be hung from the ceiling rather than trying to attach it to the cardboard box, or clamp it onto something solid near the brooder. Those "starter kits" are worthless. You can do far better putting the brooder together yourself.
     
  9. Rose66

    Rose66 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The clothes rod is removable so I lay the box on its side, cut out most of the top and then lay the rod across the edges. The rod fits down over the sides so it's secure. Then I hang my lamp from it. When you decrease the temp each week, you'll find that you have to go to a smaller bulb because you can't raise the bar any higher than it already is. I go smaller with a 100 watt red light from one of the box stores and it works good. Be very sure to hang your lamp with something that is not going to break. Chain works well for this in my experience.

    Now following azygous' suggestions in her posts, I also put my box on a four foot table that has adjustable height legs. It is a dream come true for my bad back. I also cut two doors in the side and use them as much as I can but because I use a heat lamp, I have to have the top of the box cut out also. Having side access doors and your box on a table means you can sit in a chair while you play with your chicks through the side doors. It is also so much easier on my back too. I do not have to hang my waterer because I do not use shavings until the chicks move to their outside brooder. I use the puppy pee pads and they work great for chicks. I do not keep my chicks in the house long enough for them to be able to jump out so I don't have to worry about covering the top of the box.

    How many chicks are you getting and where are you getting them from? Yes I'm nosey. Lol
     
  10. kar0427

    kar0427 Out Of The Brooder

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    15 from McMurray in mid-April (mixture of BA, BO, BR and EE). I have a smaller brooder set up in the house for the first week or so - I like to have my eyes on baby animals closely for that long - but then they'll move into my attached mud room (not heated, but should be adequate by the end of April with some supplemental heat from a light). The light I'm using is a reptile light with a dimming feature on the lamp and it doesn't have to be moved, just turned down, so the rod would work great. I work where I have access to bed incontinence pads so will definitely utilize those for awhile in the inside brooder. That brooder is sitting about chest level on a conference table that will also work for the cardboard set-up.
    I don't expect the chicks will be in the wardrobe brooder for more than 3-4 weeks if the weather cooperates here. I have a portable dog panel fence for while I'm working in the garden so they'll have lots of run and play time in the yard during the day. My wonderful old chicken house that I inherited when moving here (and hopefully will get motivated to finish securing and adding the run if it ever warms up a little here) is too far from the house to run a cord so I'll need to be pretty confident in their feathering and the weather. But I bred parrots for years and know all too well the dust birds produce...I'll move them for both our sakes as soon as it's safe.
     

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