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we need honest opinion on our brooder box

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by hapjr, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. hapjr

    hapjr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The box is 4 foot long 2 foot wide into foot deep and has quarter inch wire mesh for the bottom flooring it has half inch wire mess on the sides for ventilation during spring or summer months it is right now currently wrapped in a she cloth to help regulate temperature during the winter months. I have a 150 watt light bulb for heat to regulate the heat and temperature in there. I currently have straw hay for bedding thinking about moving more towards pine shavings not sure.
     
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    I'm not sure about the wire mesh floor, but apart from that it looks good. Wood shavings would make good bedding, it will absorb the moisture from their droppings, but if you use that put the feeder and waterer on top or something, not too high, or the chicks will fill it with shavings and you'll have to clean it out all the time!
    Hang your heat lamp on the side opposite the food and water, so you'll have warmer and cooler spots for the chicks and they can choose where they are more comfortable. Mine liked to hang around the edge of the heat and the cooler spots and sometimes flopped down directly under the lamp for a quick warm-up.
    It looks like you have a solid lid for the top? You need to leave a gap around the area where the lamp is to let the warm air and poo fumes escape. Good ventilation and fresh air is as important as warmth.
     
  3. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The picture shows wire over wood with bedding over part of it? That will be REALLY hard to clean. Poo and food will wedge itself between the wire and wood. Better if you have time to install linoleum on the floor. Then use paper towels as bedding for their first week, switching to pine bedding after that. If you keep the papertowels or switch to newspaper, you just roll it up, bedding and all, wipe it down, add fresh, and cleaning is done.

    You need a lot more ventilation.

    The sides near the lamp look to be wire with the white covering? I'd cut the top 2 inches off the white covering to expose the wire and allow more air in. Cutting more each week to reduce the temperature as they grow. Next batch of chicks, maybe use double sided tape and towels, the tape set at intervals, so you can drop the towel instead of removing pieces. I use towels a lot, they really insulate well. I've used all wire hutch style brooders before, covering the whole thing in towels. When the temp needs lowered, I start removing towels in stages. Have a whole stack of "chicken towels" now, courtesy of Goodwill and using old ones we had around.

    Turn it on, and put a thermometer below the lamp. See where it's at in 3 days. You won't know how the heat will build up in a matter of hours. Leave it run for days to really see what it will do. Adjust the ventilation accordingly.

    On the wooden side, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a thermometer over there too, to see if heat gets trapped over there. It might need a strip of ventilation across the top Left side. Easy to drill holes as well, a grouping of vent holes made with a drill in the center.

    It's healthier for the chicks to have good air but slightly lower temp, they'll hang out directly below the light. Having the temp just right but stagnant air would be more detrimental to their respiratory health.

    I usually put a stuffed toy just to the side of the heat circle below the lamp, something they can hide under, stand on, something to keep them from feeling exposed in the middle like that. They seem to play more when I do that. I remove it at about 3 weeks and throw it in the washing machine. Seems to help roosting later, having something early to jump on. They seem to like having something to huddle against, which is lacking in the center of a brooder where the most heat is.
     
  4. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You didn't say how may chicks you plan on raising in the brooder, so I can't make any comments about the size. You might want to consider putting something on the floor like a scrap of lineoleum or corregated plastic so that it will be easy to clean (take the lining out and hose it down when the chicks old enough to move on). I'm also a bit concerned about air-flow and heat if the top is solid. Be sure to set up your brooder with a thermometer at least day in advance and run the lamp so that you can see what temperature is like in the brooder. Since your heat lamp is fixed to the roof you won't be able to adjust the temperature up and down by adjusting the height of the lamp. I suggest that you purchase a rheostat...a dimmer switch type mechanism. I have one that I plug in between the heat lamp cord and the extention cord. It only cost a few dollars at Walmart and it allows me to dim the light over time as the chicks get older and need less heat.

    I've liked lining the floor of the brooder with paper towels for the first few days. Baby chicks will try to eat their pine shavings in the begining and the paper towels not only keep your water suply cleaner, they also make it easier for the chicks to figure out where the food is. You have to replace the paper towels pretty regularly (at least once a day) because baby chicks are poopie creatures, but after they are settled in,and know where the food is, you can switch to shavings.
     
  5. hapjr

    hapjr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thamk u. I am in process of making some changes
     

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