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 :)

10 comments:

  1. too cute. mine started flying very quickly - will that be a problem. great idea on the bales, I will put them around the outside of my chicks house soon as that might keep them a little warmer in winter. thanks :)

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  2. Do you have older chickens? I was just curious how you would introduce the younger ones to the older chickens.

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  3. We have 5 Australorps (15mths old)in a hen house with a small run. They free range after they have laid their eggs in the morning. I have the chicks in their own little house that is on grass. Actually it's nearly as big as the main hen house. I posted today on http://downtoearthforums.com to see when I can let them free range. As I would rather mix the older hens and chicks while free ranging. Their houses are only 2m apart so the big chooks have already checked out the littlies. I will wait another couple of weeks I think and then let them out. I also have 3 dogs to train again. They look at the little chicks as a meal that wont fight back. My Mum's chicks started free ranging themselves with the older chooks at about 12weeks, but they have a mother that belongs to the group. My advice is if you are putting them in a pen together, do it and watch. There is always some 'sorting out' to do between them but if it looks too vicious hold back for a few more weeks until they can start to look after themselves in the pack.....however I am no expert.....yet!! :)

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  4. They are so cute!!!
    We are suppose to get turkeys and two hogs this year. Our first time...I am sooo excited!!!

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  5. Meggie, yes we have established hens... one these chicks are older (and have more feathers), we will put them in the coop in a modified brooder area. We use wire mesh so that the older chickens can see them and the chicks can see out. They get to know each other for a while this way, and what usually happens is the younger ones want OUT and the older ones want IN to the brooder :) Once the chicks are feathered out, we will have them in their own run area within the main run for a while. Then we let them into the main run once all the older hens seem indifferent to their presence. We have yet to have a problem with older hens attacking the chicks... but never say never...

    Stay posted for more updates!

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  6. pasmit - we use chicken wire on top of the brooder if they start to try to fly out :) We put the bales on their sides so it's a higher barrier for them... Loving the bale idea... simply adding a few bales increases the square footage of the brooder as needed... so simple!

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  7. Wonderful! And ooh, olive-eggers, how exciting. I love little chickie updates :)
    -Jaime

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  8. How cute are they? I would love some chickens but we dont have any room.

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  9. That was so cool to see you chick set up!

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  10. We use straw bales for our new chicks, too. Very handy!

    Angie

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