A Large Brooder

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DANG!  These chickens grow fast! 

So, the baby pool was a great little brooder idea.  It worked well.  It was cheap.  It was easy – what’s not to love?  The size.  Friends, the little space the cheeps had to move around became an issue.  We had been fortunate enough to come across a new neighborhood in the area being constructed while they were getting rid of their scrap.  The foreman had no issues letting us take whatever we wanted, so we scored a decent chunk of plywood and other wood pieces to use.  And even if I had no immediate use, I will someday so it’s mine.  MINE. 

We went ahead and constructed a large brooder that we could reuse in the spring when we’ve already planned on ordering more chicks.  Chicken addiction, ya’ll.  It’s a thing.  I’m sorry I judged you all as uncontrollable chicken freaks. 

via GIPHY

It was actually relatively cheap, simple, and I wish we would have just done it in the first place.  It takes up a huge portion of my office, but whatever.  We’re pals now. 

We used 2×2’s and made an easy, lift-able top with screen overlay to avoid jump outs.  We’ve got a piece of 2×2 that holds the lid up for easy accessibility.  The walls are just plywood with a few more 2×2 pieces as framing, a perch, and a few support pieces for their essentials.  All in all, easy.  What’s not easy is hauling this damn thing from the garage to the office.  I shan’t be doing that again, so this is just where the brooder will live now.  I don’t care what Hubbers says. 

We tried the rectangle tray feeders and attached them to the wall since the circle chick feeders were continuously filling with shavings.  It worked well, but we didn’t feel like the chickens were able to get as much food as they needed out for whatever reason.  They’d go crazy when I’d dump the old food out in the morning like they were starving.  We went ahead and implemented the PVC pipe feeder/water method and have a third zone for their grit.  We wanted all the food and water items on one side for ease and it opens up the other half for roosts and scraps I toss in.  It’s been working well.  It’ll also help when we go on vacation and my friend Kelly checks in on them.  Less to do – it stays full for quite a while and it’s easy enough to reload with goodies. 

We tried to make a little barrier so shavings would get until the waterer, but as you can see, that was a pointless effort.  We attached the old rectangle feeder bottom to catch water.  It still gets shavings and poo in it that need to be cleaned out (or it stinks!) but it’s easy to maintain.  We had originally lined the bottom with linoleum squares to help with cleaning but the cheeps managed to start pulling up the corner of one, so we took it all out. 

We noticed after about a week or so that the cheeps weren’t even using their heater anymore.  They’d snuggle together at night or during the day, so we went ahead and removed it.  I really liked the heat plate over the lamps, though.  I never felt nervous and they were able to use it for warmth and a place to jump on and play.  No, I never got the cover and we’re just going to pretend like I never intended to, m’kay?!

Every morning I come down and the gals are anxiously waiting for me at the front window.  As soon as I open the lid they start flying up and perching on the outsides of the brooder waiting for treats and love.  It’s worked out great.  I’m going to keep them in the brooder until roughly Thanksgiving – a bit longer than necessary, but it’s big enough that there shouldn’t be an issue and it extends our time frame to get the coop done and ready properly. 

The girls seem to love it.  No matter what Hubs says, I know they enjoy having me in the office with them all day. 

Until next time!

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