Three questions on building & heating a brooder

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Irajoe, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. Irajoe

    Irajoe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I read through much of the brooder sticky several times before posting this...I didn't want to ask a question that had already been answered. Actually, it's the posts that led to me to the point at which I find myself.

    We candled last night (day 12) and have 13 developing eggs with 3 or 4 other that were inconclusive. Since this is our first hatch, I need to prepare a brooder.

    Here are my three questions related to preparing the brooder:

    1. I have both a dog cage and a dog crate (used for traveling). The dog cage is big...probably 2 feet wide, 3 feet long, and 2 feet tall. The crate is about 18 inches wide, 2 feet long, 15 inches tall. Is the smaller crate sufficient space for the first couple of weeks (for 10-15 chicks)?

    I'd actually like to use the larger cage, but I can't even figure out how to reach the required 90-95 degree temperature in the smaller crate...which leads to my next two questions...

    2. To those who use a traveling dog crate for a brooder, what watt bulb have you found to work? I did a test run with a 60 watt bulb but could not get the temperature above 79 degrees. I'm using the bulb with at reflector and clamp (as shown in pictures on the brooder sticky). I put cardboard over the vent holes on the side (leaving only the front gate as an open area) but still cannot reach above 79 degrees.

    3. To those who use a large dog cage, how do you get the temperature high enough? I saw one post that used paper to create walled sides...are there other suggestions - perhaps better ways to insulate to keep temperatures at appropriate levels?

    I'm sorry for asking questions that should be obvious to me through the brooder sticky...and I'm most grateful to learn from your success.

    Thanks so much!!
     
  2. Judymae

    Judymae Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First off I would use the larger crate. That would enable you to have a cooler area for the chicks. They won't stay under the heat lamp 24/7. I use a 150 or 250 watt bulb for my brooder. I just move the light closer if it needs to be warmer and farther away if it seems too hot. You can watch the chicks to see if they are comfortable. If the chicks won't stay under the light at all then it's too warm for them. If they peep alot then they are too cold. I would put something around the bottom to keep the shavings inside the crate and to keep drafts from getting to the chicks.

    Good luck!! Enjoy them while they are young because it doesn't last near long enough!!
     
  3. Irajoe

    Irajoe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's helpful - thank you. I noticed when trying to get the temperature to the required 90 - 95 degrees in smaller crate that the light seemed to overwhelm the area. My concern was that any temperature acheived would be constant throughout the crate, without the opportunity for chicks to move to a cooler area.
     
  4. Judymae

    Judymae Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You want the chicks to be able to move to a cooler area. They could overheat. I keep the waterer and feeder on the cooler side.
     
  5. jimnjay

    jimnjay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have several wire crates and baby chicks can get stuck in the wire. Don't know if your large crate is wire or not. The small one sounds way to small. I brooded my first chicks in a travel dog crate the Extra Large one. I place the light outside at the end where the door is. It never got warm enough for the chicks to stop peeping that way. It is best to have the light shining directly at the floor so they can get under it. I have never used more than a 100 watt bulb, I drop back to 75 watts at two weeks and it has worked fine. The very best brooder is a big cardboard box. If you can get one that a recliner or washer came in that is good. Boxes that Paper Towels or Toilet paper comes in work good to. I place the box next to a door and hang the light on the door knob
     
  6. Irajoe

    Irajoe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I appreciate the insights...thank you so much.

    Fortunately, the dog cage is not wire...tonight I'll assemble the cage, put a 100 watt bulb in the reflector lamp, and see if I can get an area directly under the light to 90 - 95 degrees.

    I hope so - - the larger dog cage would make watching them so much more fun!

    Thanks again!
     
  7. Their Other Mother

    Their Other Mother Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use a plastic storage bin for a brooder. I can fill the bottom with shavings and then I use a wine bottle rack to hook my heat lamp to. with all the different heights for bottles I can adjust my lamp. And I use a red heat lamp with a reflector not just a regular light bulb. I keep the chicks on the counter of our wet bar in the house because they are easier to watch there, so the bin keeps all the shavings inside and I have less mess to deal with. Also there is a sink right there for filling water and washing hands right away after we play with the chicks. (especially conveinent for my children) The one I start out with is about 16" X 24" but 11 chicks grow out of it in a week.

    I then go to Costco where they have great boxes for free. Pick the size you want and transfer the chicks. When that one gets messed up or outgrown, go get a bigger one - free.

    I am in the process of building a wooden brooder similar to one our local feed store has. Basically a rectangle plywood box about 2 ' high, 2' wide and 6' long with 3 removable screen dividers. I'll still start the dayolds in the plastic storage bin, but they grow so fast I can move them into this new brooder and just extend their space with the dividers. Or if you want to keep breeds seperate the dividers are a great thing.

    The Chicks I have right now are 10 days old and I'm ready to move them out to either the garage or the coop (with their heat lamp still) because they are so noisy they are driving me nuts! If I put this box in the coop I'll have to put a screen top on to keep the bigger pullets out.

    Congrats on your first hatch! I found myself hatching way more than I anticipated and also brooding over orders from hatcheries. So If you build one, build big. This is an addicting hobby and you will encounter nothing but enablers on this site![​IMG]
     
  8. Irajoe

    Irajoe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In just our first hatch, I've probably spent 40+ hours reading all these threads to trying to learn how to survive the incubation process and now on to the brooder stage!

    The wine rack is such an interesting idea.

    If I can't make the dog cage work, I'll go with the cardboard box. I'm hoping for the former, just for visibility sake.

    Thanks for sharing your success!
     
  9. MissJames

    MissJames Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I found the dog crate too small. I used a clear rubbermade tote that was for wrapping paper.It was long.The fake tree totes would work well also.My husband just cut and bent hardware cloth to fit over the top.I got a red heat lamp and a thermometer and hung the lamp from a nail above the tote,which was on a counter.You can raise and lower the lamp as necessary.The tote was long enough to have room for the water and feeder.They could spread out and have a warmer side and cooler side.Eventually we have had to improvise larger brooders as they've grown.They are just out in the coop now,with the same heat lamp,at 10 weeks old..
    Test the temp in the brooder before the chicks hatch.And have fun!
    I want more now........
     
  10. Irajoe

    Irajoe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you very much - I appreciate the insights. I'm so grateful to know in advance of the size requirements.

    Our family's still a bit anxious that we're doing it all correctly...I can't imagine trying to do this without all my newfound friends on BYC!
     

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