What can I do to make this a good baby chick brooder-type area (besides cleaning it up)?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by skybluskyblue, Jan 12, 2015.

  1. skybluskyblue

    skybluskyblue Out Of The Brooder

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    One of my hens is recovering from "sour crop" here for now, but in March my mother will give me 25 Australorps newly hatched babies.
     
  2. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    Hi skybluskyblue ,

    Here is a wonderful video on how to make a quality brooder.
    Custom Brooders: Gail Damerow's Hatching & Brooding Your Own Chicks

    You can make several in this space you have. If you make more
    than one brooder, then you can move the chicks into the extra
    ones while you clean the regular brooders.
    Australops are considered large fowl. So you want to have
    1.5 square feet per chick while you brood them. They can go out
    to the coop as soon as their breasts are fully feathered.
    Ok, you have 25 chicks coming. So you need 37.5 square feet
    of brooder space. We could go on and on discussing brooding chicks. Best bet is to have Mom buy the book called

    Custom Brooders: Gail Damerow's Hatching & Brooding Your Own Chicks
    and you can have a blast reading it. Gail Damerow is very knowledgeable and you can trust her advice.
    Best Regards,
    Karen in PA, USA
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. skybluskyblue

    skybluskyblue Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for answering this day. I kept checking back and found your answer. Nice.

    Looks like that room has 137sqft [minus the 3.5x4ft closet]. It also has a plus of one long wide shelf 33in deep and 7ft 2in long. It has two windows one going into the chicken coop and one going to the outside- I always keep them closed --just in case. So I'll have enough space in general I just need to see what my parents are willing to build for the chicks [they have me raise and care for the hens and chicks that are theirs]. I do not mind at all and I get fresh eggs when I want them. I will have to sell them on the absolute need for a built brooder [rather than the big aquariums I used for 5 chicks at a time] instead of just putting down shavings and plywood straight on the floor and using two lamps for warmth. This is the first time taking care of 25.

    Thanks again !

    I'll fight for the comfort and safety of the chicks as much as I can!
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    That was a beautiful video, and gorgeous brooders. But.

    Gail, like soooo many other people can't seem to break out of the paradigm that brooders need to be on the floor! She, like you, loves chickens and probably adores baby chicks. But why not do something that will insure that your baby chicks will have a stress-free environment in which to grow up, not being afraid of the people who are handling them?

    When I read that that homely little room of yours has a shelf already built, I almost leaped for joy! That's the right size and position for your brooder! The only thing you'll need to solve is how to rig up your heat source, but one of those Ecoglo brooder heaters would work nicely. Or there may be room to hang a heat lamp. You'll also be able to easily hang their water bottle (I'll tell you how) so shavings don't mess it up.

    Here's why you do NOT want a brooder on the floor that you have to access from above. Baby chicks are born with a self preservation instinct to be afraid of and to run away from anything coming down at them from above. Like hawks, owls, your hands.

    By accessing your babies from the side, they can see all of you, and they will not make the mistake that you might be a predator and run from you every time you put your hands in there.

    Just the opposite of chicks raised in top access brooders, baby chicks raised in side access brooders are tame and trusting practically from the first day. I'm sure that's what you are after. Amirite?

    Your brooder is already halfway built. You only need to finish it with some nice, open mesh doors!
     
  5. skybluskyblue

    skybluskyblue Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you on the idea of using the shelf. And the fact that birds do feel intimidated by being lower than their possible predators I know quite well from working with an avian exotic veterinarian [in the same building as the emergency clinic I worked in--so heard and saw so much great handling and advice and little facts that I had not known before]--I worked there 6 years so, I saw a large large variety of birds and exotics and the procedures used on them and specific care for each species. I will go clean that shelf off and see what I can hang the lamps on --or I can make/screw something in to make it work. I'll be back to tell you how it looks.
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Excellent! I wish I had a room like that and a ready-made shelf for a brooder! And you'll then have the entire floor area free for whatever use you care to imagine.

    I was thinking you could even convert the floor space of the room into a grow-out pen, with a ramp coming down from the brooder. By age two-weeks, the chicks will want to be flexing their wings, and all that great floor space would be ideal for running and low-flying!

    The possibilities! Endless!
     
  7. skybluskyblue

    skybluskyblue Out Of The Brooder

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    OK here is the shelf *somewhat* cleaned up. The floor is next, I just wanted to get it here quickly so sorry for temporary mess. It loos like those supporting beams under the top shelf [top shelf is WAY too high for me--I'm 5'2 eyes a blue....] and the white ledge on the right look like they could be helpful to suspend the heater lamps. What do you think? I have 5 other photos of it --they almost look the same --slightly different angles-if you want to see them let me know. Thanks a bunch kind people!!
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    How much space between the lower shelf and the upper shelf? How deep is that shelf, how long? Looks like the beginnings of a perfect brooder. a lamp, something to protect the shelf surface, some hardware cloth, and some scrap wood + hinges to make a door or two, and you're in business.
     
  9. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    The lower shelf certainly appears to be the perfect height. You would be able to pull up a standard chair or low foot stool to sit on when you play with your chicks. If you're built as close to the ground at 5'2", it shouldn't be hard on your back leaning in to clean and handle the babies. 33" deep is a comfortable reach, too. I'm going to take a guess at the height of the lower shelf to the top shelf at 40". It appears to be plenty of room for heat and air to circulate and not become oppressive. You'll need to make the front almost entirely of screen mesh so heat can disperse, though.

    But a thought just occurred to me. You could easily drill or cut openings in the upper shelf to vent any excess heat buildup. Cover them with screen for security. That's what I would do. Six inch air holes and you could still store stuff on the upper shelf.

    This is my kind of project when you're starting with something already in place and you need to turn it into something useful. I like to call it cooking with leftovers! You are extremely fortunate.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
  10. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    I agree completely with the top access issue. I have noticed it in my chicks. They do come around and are friendly when they are older. I would like to keep the fear response from happening when they are small. I am hoping to have raised brooders in my new shed this year.
    For the heater, the Sweeter Heater is a great choice. http://www.sweeterheater.com/

    Call them and they can tell you what size you need for 25 Australop chicks. Show this to your parents. It has been around for 20 years and I think is more durable and safer than the Ecoglow.
    Plus it can be raised so the chicks don't climb on top of it and poop on it like they do the Ecoglow. The Sweeter Heater is the light that Gail has hung in her brooders in the video. Hang the Sweeter Heater with swingset swing chains. Just adjust the length to raise the Sweeter Heater as the chicks grow and need less heat. I'm a big fan of the Sweeter Heater.


    Comparing Ecoglow 50 and Sweeter Heater:

    http://www.brinsea.com/p-381-ecoglow-50-chick-brooder.aspx
    EcoGlow 50 is ideal for up to 50 chicks or ducklings and suitable for any waterfowl or gamebird chicks. uses 60 Watts , runs at 12v for safety from a mains transformer (supplied) and with the convenience of a generous (about 10 feet) power lead. Dimensions: 22" long x 16" wide x 9" high
    ( that's 352 sq. inches of heated surace ) Regular price 179.99 On sale for 159.99
    Here's a picture : http://www.brinsea.com/popup.aspx?src=/images/Product/large/381.j
    I am hearing from breeders that the Ecoglow 20 is not big enough to handle 25 large fowl chicks like Australops. That's why we are comparing the Ecoglow 50 with the Sweeter Heater.


    Now check out the statistics on the Sweeter Heater. http://www.sweeterheater.com/page2.asp
    Much more heater for the money. Yes, it uses more electricity but you also get more surface area
    for much less money.


    Best Regards,
    Karen
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015

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