easy chicken brooder

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Unregistered-1427815803, Jun 2, 2004.

  1. I order my chicks today from Ideal. They will be here in three weeks. Can you all give me some ideas for a brooder for 25-30 little ones, standard chicks not bantams? I was thinking of doing the kids swimming pool idea, but thought maybe you all had something easier without having to buy the swimming pool. DH could build a brooder box, but I've given him so many things to do lately that I would like to let him continue getting his shop organized. We just moved in a month ago. I've got a plastic storage bin 30" x 24" and 24" height, but I think that would be too small. I've got the lamp, thermometer, waterer, and feeder ready to go, just need ideas for the structure. Also, does it have to be round or can it be rectangle?
    Thanks. By the way this is Leigha, I can't seem to log in.
     
  2. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    a brooder can be as simple as a cardboard box (but be very careful not to let the lamp catch it on fire).

    the reasoning behind round brooders is in case the chicks get chilled and pile up. no one can get stuck in the corner if there aren't any. my brooders have square corners and i've never had a problem.

    jena
     

  3. MaKettle

    MaKettle Well-Known Member

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    Mine is a 2 x 3 chicken wire box with a lid to discourage predators, and slabs of cardboard around it to discourage drafts. But they outgrow it so fast. The kiddy pool would be a good idea with cardboard sides to keep out drafts and to prevent the more adventorous from hopping out. Depends too, on where you plan to locate it. I've heard of some people using the bathtub in a pinch--but then it is difficult to take a bath.
     
  4. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Stop by an appliance dealer and get a stove or washer carton. They are tough, and would hold 30 chicks for two or three weeks OK. I would keep them in the house to begin with because it is safer and the temperature is more steady making it easier to regulate the heat in the box.
     
  5. renabeth

    renabeth Well-Known Member

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    I have nine in a cardboard box in my garage right now. And I don't heat my chicks. I don't know where you live. I live in Arkansas. It depends on your weather. Mine are a month old and I haven't lost a one. Anyway I didn't come up with this non heating chicks idea. Both my Grandmas (one's 86, the other's 77) laughed when I asked them how the brooded chicks without electricity and said order in May and you don't have to heat. Go figure, tried it this year and worked like a charm. Yours might pile with so many, I really don't know, just my experience. Good luck.
     
  6. Zuiko

    Zuiko Well-Known Member

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    I have been using a 110 gallon rubber stock tank, until they are softball sized, then i moved them to a 3' high 6' x 6' pen, made of chicken wire and 2x4's. This worked great for ducks (theyve moved in with hens already) however I have found that for chickens I need to put a net over it, they can "fly" pretty young. A pen wouldnt be too hard, but it would probably end up costing more then the kiddie pool.
     
  7. The grocery store near my farm often throw out big round cardboard boxes used for holding watermelons. I haven't latched on to one yet because I only brood 3 or 4 chicks at a time but the watermelon box would be ideal for 25
     
  8. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    We put down a sheet of plastic or a tarp on the wood floor of the garage. We toenail several lengths of 2x4s upright onto the floor and then use drywall screws to attach 2-3' high strips of cardboard from appliance boxes to create a circle. It is extremely tough and stands up to my young kids leaning on it all the time. The inside gets filled with wood chips and the heat lamps can be secured to the 2x4 supports. The benefit is that once the chicks are out, you just gather up the plastic or tarp, throw it over your shoulder (unless you've brooded 200 chicks in there, in which case there will be no "throwing over the shoulder" :haha: ) and haul it off to the compost pile.
    I would discourage you from brooding in your house or basement from personal experience. Once they begin to fledge, there will be dust and down everywhere.
     
  9. Zuiko

    Zuiko Well-Known Member

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    Garage worked well for me, it stays close to the house temperature, a little colder in mornings, but it is also cat proof. Clean up is much easier, even if you dont use a tarp like fin said. Just bring in a shovel and a wheel barrow, or if the brooder isnt too big, and is strong enough, a 2 wheeler would work. I put the 110 gallon tub onto a moving dolly, then tied it to our lawn tractor with a rope to move it to our composting area, you have to go real slow though. I could have also dragged the tub, but its heavy and I didnt want to risk messing up the tub, lawn, or driveway. Another possibility would be, do you have the hen house ready? Maybe you could break off a portion of it, so they dont loose the heat, with chicken wire, stapled to the walls or posts would work.
     
  10. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    I read about an easy one on the internet, where you take a Rubbermaid (or generic) storage box about 6 to 12 inches deep with a lid that has an inner panel design on it. You cut out the inner panel and screw screen over it (I would
    put the screw heads on the underside so the little darlings don't get indented skulls!). Then you can take a desk lamp and focus it on the screen portion for heat if needed. This brooder is portable, easy to clean, doesn't take up much space and would not cost much to make the several you will need for 2 dozen chicks.
     
  11. Thanks, everyone for your replies. I just came from Lowe's and got a cardboard box 4'x4' with 16" sides that they were throwing out. Do you all think that is too big for 25-30 chicks? I know I'm probably thinking about this way too much, but this is my first time to raise them this little and I want to do it right.
     
  12. MelissaW

    MelissaW Well-Known Member

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    4 x 4 doesn't sound too big to me. They grow FAST! I had 30 this year. I started them in the baby pool, but had too many escapees, so I moved them to an old baby play pen. It worked great! When they got bigger, I spread an old shower curtain on the barn floor with lots of cardboard over it, and the shavings. Then my husband built a little frame with chicken wire around it. Now they are in the big coop at 8 weeks. Enjoy them! They are such fun when they are tiny.
     
  13. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    3 2"x4" boards and 1 4'x8' sheet of ply wood and some will do the trick.

    Cut the plywood into 4 2ftx4ft strips. Cut 1 2x4 into 2ft legnths.
    Use the the cut 2x4 as interior corner post to hold the plywood correr strips togeather. A few screws or nails at each corner.

    Use the last 2 2x4 boards to make a frame for the top. Cover frame with chicken wire.

    I picked up everything for my chick pen at the discount hardware store under $20. Doesnt look fancy but doesnt have to. Chicks are only it in for a short time.

    Ill see if I have any photos of it and post it.
     
  14. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Actually, big is fine, as long as there is a big enough area of warmth. Having a large enough area is important as it allows chicks to get away from the heat if it is too warm. I use a 500 gallon stock tank, covered with a rubber tarp.
     
  15. Gimpy_Magoo

    Gimpy_Magoo Well-Known Member

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    Hows this for easy.
    [​IMG]

    That's a 175watt heat lamp. pine shavings with newsprint roll end over top (only till tomorrow as these chicks are 2 days old) We also used this to brood two Rouen ducks to 5 weeks old also.

    We just moved 18 5week old layers out of the stock tank you see in the background. Could have held 25.
     
  16. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    I raised 48 chix in a 34"x36" brooder for 5 weeks, the last week it was a wee bit tight, they would have been out of there cause they had full feathers, but it was raining and the temp dropped to the freezing mark the first of april.....

    it was originally built for 25 which was fine for 8 weeks..... and the sides on it are 20 inches, and i put a slant roof it with a screen door for part of the roof.... ventilation was adequate, and the heat lamp help in place by a piece of rebar so it couldnot fall and light a fire.

    I built it out of cedar boards i sawed on my sawmill, and a piece or two of ply wood from leftover building scraps, it really dont have to be fancy, just has to keep them in and other critters out, nad keep them warm...... a loal feed store uses a water trough and a couple of heat lamps.... which lets the kids all go have a looksee as to whats in the box.

    brteathe easy and the cardboard you have should do just fine, and remeber to put some shavings down so the chix dont slip and get spraddle legged.

    William
     
  17. Nan(TX)

    Nan(TX) Well-Known Member

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    Here is a link to TX Rose brooder pictures. Reminder if your use this type of enclosed brooder. Chicks need to have the air exchange 6 times a day to prevent ammonia and humidity build up from manure. The ammonia especially can cause the respiratory tract to become irritated thus causing tissue scarring.
    http://countryconceptsllc.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3774
     
  18. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

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    We put our chicks in a stock tank last year with heat lamps hanging down but I think I left them in there too long ... they got too crowded, the air was bad and then later I lost several to heat stroke. I lost 6 in one day (out of a group of 20) which was discouraging to me.

    This year we found plans for a wooden one in two different books -- "Success With Baby Chicks" by Robert Plamondon, and the other book was "Home Made" I think. Using those plans we made a 4 X 4 wooden box on short legs with light sockets on opposite sides, flipped it over and piled straw on top for insulation. My 5-year-old son and I made it with just a couple of phone calls to Grandpa about the wiring. We put it in the back half of one of the horse stalls in our shed and enclosed the front and top of the stall with chicken wire then put plastic up for a draft shield. We started 100 chicks in it. For the first several days we put their little feeders and waterers in there and they sort of disappeared! Since it was so cold here in April, we stapled cloth to a couple of sides to cut down on floor drafts more. They ventured out when the weather warmed up :lol: so far they are all doing well except one that was in an accident.

    You can scale this down for smaller numbers of chicks. 4x4 worked best because the lumber yard would make so many cuts for free in the one sheet of plywood.

    Not too sure of my wiring skills, so I also bought a very large fire extinguisher! We want the chicks out in a shed or barn somewhere in case there's a heat-lamp mishap. And also because they produce so much dust! We produce plenty of dust on our own and don't need any help!

    Good luck with your chicks!
    Ann
     
  19. EricG

    EricG Well-Known Member

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    For a dozen layers we used the same thing as Gimpy. Rubbermade tub. We just used a regular shop reflector and a 100watt bulb put in one corner. They will get as close as they need. Paper towels on the floor at first then newspapers and wood shavings.

    After a couple-three weeks when they got too big we moved them out to a corner of our shed. Put some cardboard on the floor with shavings on top and stapled some chicken wire up in one corner to make a pen. Gave them a piece of plywood leaning against the wall with the lamp in the corner. When they outgrew that they went in with the others.

    This was spring time in Alaska so they needed some source of heat. We just used a shop lamp reflector with a regular light bulb.

    good luck.. They're pretty hardy critters after the first week or so...

    Eric
     
  20. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    this time of year I start them in a glass fish tank (no water) with a oil lamp or propane lamp under the tank, 26 chicks will be crowded in a 20 gallon tank at two weeks but then I put them into a wire cage on our back padio at that time, with the propane lamp hanging under it, a ceramic floor tile blocks the direct heat from the lamp and everyone is doing fine, I laid a short piece of corigated roof panel on top for the rains in the last 3 days, they are happy and growing well.