What advice would you give someone setting up a brooder?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by TheChickenQueen, Feb 9, 2017.

  1. TheChickenQueen

    TheChickenQueen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Eastern Idaho
    this advice could be for someone who is brooding chicks for the first time or it could just be things you have learned over time.

    Now I have brooded chicks many times but am looking for some different perspectives on the matter of setting up a brooder since I'm sure many of us are setting up brooders sometime in the near future.

    Here are a few simple questions I have(if you have other thoughts please share!):
    -What do you use for bedding?
    -What kind of heat source do you use?
    -How do you keep chicks from soaking the bedding or filling the waterer with bedding?
     
  2. myfivegirls

    myfivegirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    1. I prefer wood pellets - though some people use "pine fresh" horse bedding. Very absorbent, the chicks love to dust bath in it once it expands due to moisture, then often dries out again.

    2. I'm loving the Mama Heating Pad method - or "hover brooder" if raising a large # of chicks. The chicks feather out faster, are ready for outdoors sooner or even raised outside from day-one depending on temperature & time of year.
    Link below to the thread with more info:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/956958/mama-heating-pad-in-the-brooder-picture-heavy-update

    3. I've used the bottom-mounted poultry nipples for chicks & have liked them, but I'm thinking of using the side-mount or horizontal nipples since they aren't supposed to leak. Either method keeps litter out of the water. I also still use the regular chick water founts, but raise them up off the ground, so it's less likely to get bedding kicked into them.
     
  3. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    I use the deep litter out of my flock's coop and I brood right on that coop floor, no matter the weather. This gives my chicks an exposure to the germs of the flock right off the bat, which is something they'd be getting with a mama. My DL is a mix of many materials but the bulk of it is leaves. I use hay bales to form the walls of my brooder, which are great for insulation and can be moved to decrease or increase the size of the brooder as needed and also moved to open up a chick sized door into the larger area of the coop for integration purposes.

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    I too use the HP brooder and have done so several times with great results.

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    I also use the vertical nipple buckets but mine don't seem to drip or leak like some folks report, so I don't have any problems with them. If there is even a small dampness under the bucket, it's easily remedied by throwing some dry bedding on that area or just moving the bucket.
     
  4. TheChickenQueen

    TheChickenQueen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Eastern Idaho
    I'm intrigued. What exactly is a hover brooder? Last year I had a couple heating pads that my chicks enjoyed cuddled on top of, but with more chicks it had proven to not be enough to keep everyone warm.
     
  5. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Can't answer about the "hover brooder" but the HP brooders incorporate the HP in a position that is above the chicks, in contact with their backs instead of using it under them. It's a contact heater, much like the heating plates one can buy from Premier. It more closely mimics the hen's warmth and, since it is formed into a shape that conserves the heat to the chick's bodies, it's very effective. I've used it in outside brooders in 20-30 degree weather.
     
  6. myfivegirls

    myfivegirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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  7. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens




    This is what I do....

    I use puppy pads the first few days.....Then i switch to sand or Pine shavings.........i put my fonts up on bricks .....i brood my chicks inside baby play pens i buy second hand and line the walls with rolls of cardboard......lots of room for chicks...i put in tree stumps and things for jumping on.....


    Cheers!
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    I use sand/PDZ as bedding in brooder inside for the first week, with a chunk of sod from outside on day 3.
    Then outside to coop partition on fresh pine shavings..some main coop shavings get in there too.

    I use a heat lamp during day for first couple days to observe activity, eating, drinking.
    But mostly DIY heat 'plate'...https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/pseudo-brooder-heater-plate

    Tote lid for feeder and waterer both inside and outside for a few days...then up on bricks and/or blocks of wood.
    Helps keep waterer from spilling into bedding and bedding out of both.
    Also have horizontal nipple waterers that they soon transfer to fulltime.


    Heat plate/pad raised in brooder for cleaning under.
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    Heat plate/pad in coop.
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