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Roomier Quarters March 20, 2007

Posted by Laura in Farm.
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The chicks have grown quite a lot since their arrival a few weeks ago.  They quickly became too crowded for the stock tank, necessitating the construction of a new brooder.  Voila!

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(Now does that look homemade, or what?)

I designed this to be multi-functional.  The brooder is made of 3’ x 3’ panels covered in chicken wire.  The wood frame of each panel is made of 4 balusters from the deck section of the lumber department.  They are already mitered at 45 degree angles.  We connected the panels together (two on each side, one on each end, and two making a roof) with cable ties, leaving one of the end panels only tied closed on the right side so we could use it as a hinged door.  We cable-tied the heat lamps onto the ceiling so that they could not fall into the cedar shavings and start a fire.  I hope that the panels can be used for other temporary animal stalls, specifically making “jugs” for lambing ewes.

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(This has GOT to be one of the most flattering pictures my husband has ever taken of me!  I love how my jacket is puffed out to look like I’m still pregnant, while my sweatpants make me look like I’m lumpy and bow-legged.)

Chicks chill quite easily before they have feathered out, so we attached cardboard to the inside of the panel walls to keep drafts out. We tried to round off the corners a bit to keep the chicks from piling and suffocating if startled. When the temperatures dip at night, we put scrap wood on top to hold the heat in for them.

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(Though they have been moved to considerably roomier accomodations, they are huddling in the rounded corner for “safety in numbers.”)

We have had a Barred Rock hen that is fond of laying in the barn stall instead of the henhouse.  Whenever she gets the opportunity, she sneaks into a corner and lays her eggs in the hay she has formed into a nest.  This time, she obviously decided to keep an eye on those noisemakers and layed on top of the brooder instead.

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Comments»

1. amazinggrazefarm - March 21, 2007

I love the idea of the panels you just wired together. You could make something bigger if you had to, and then take apart and store flat.

I think your picture is just fine. Looks like things are going well there.

2. chickenmama - March 22, 2007

Yes, that was part of the appeal of this for me. We have serious storage problems, so anything that doesn’t take up much room and can be used for more than one function gets high marks with us.

Originally, I was going to try to make the panels from 2x 2x 8’s cut in half, but all the ones they had were warped. The balusters were about $1 apiece, and one 25 foot roll of 36″ chicken wire covered the 8 panels. I can’t remember now how much the roll was, but this project was definitely one of our cheaper ones.

I’d like to get sheep and goats, too. I’ve read that small enclosures are helpful for giving shots, keeping a new baby with its mama, and so on. It would be nice to have more panels now so that I could enlarge the brooder. The chicks are getting too crowded for it, but yet too small to go into the chicken tractor which is made of 2x 4 welded wire. I may have to attach some chicken wire over top of the welded wire to keep them in and get them moved before things get ugly.

Thanks for your comment and encouragement!

3. Grams - March 23, 2007

Those babies are growing. They’re lucky chicks.
Good work!


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