Tuesday, 27 March 2012
"Cheap" Chick Brooder
We picked up a dozen 2 week old chicks today! They're a mixture of Black Copper Marans and "Olive Eggers", so some beautifully coloured eggs are in our future. It became quickly apparent that the set up I had carefully prepared was NOT going to last longer than a day due to the active, curious nature of these critters (not to mention their large size). I forgot how big chicks can get in just 2 weeks!
Some quick thinking that tapped into the recesses of my mind resulted in copying a straw bale brooder that I saw online ages ago (where, I don't remember - sorry!). Essentially, a cage is built using straw bales as the perimeter boundary. I have these on hand for our hens anyway, so it took only minutes to put this together. Loose straw and pine shavings on the bottom insulate from the cold concrete floor of the garage and our trusty aluminum ladder was used to securely hang the heat lamp from it. I made sure to fasten it 3 ways so that it won't move/slip and cause a fire by coming in contact with any straw. The temp is holding steady and the chicks are happily eating, drinking and pooping which is a very good sign. As a bonus, they seem to really like pecking at the straw walls which keeps them busy and out of trouble!
The water is raised up on a platform on the cool side of the brooder and is staying quite clean so far...
and of course, food is the main attraction! Like teenagers - these chicks eat constantly.
Check back soon for updates on the new brood :)