As the chick brooding season began this spring, I told my husband it was time to build a chick brooder. I came up with the design, and he did the construction.
Before this, we've brooded several batches of chicks in cardboard boxes, but it's hard to find them in a large enough size. Our heat lamp is pretty strong and the chicks need a big brooder to make sure they have room to move away from the heat lamp. Another problem with cardboard box brooders is that they disintegrate when wet, so if the chicks repeatedly spill their water, your box won't last long.
I wanted a brooder that was large enough to comfortably house as many chicks as we were ever likely to have at one time, but it needed to be custom sized to the space where we wanted to keep it (the middle of our bathroom, where it is warm and safe from our 6 cats). Plus I wanted it to be collapsible so that it would be easy to disassemble and store flat when not in use.
Here's what we came up with:
Here are the sides and bottom of what will become a plywood box. Our brooder is 5' long by 2.5' wide by 2' high.
Then Ken added a framework of 2x2s around the plywood bottom and up the sides of the end pieces.
After that, he drilled holes through the plywood sides and 2x2 frame and attached the sides using bolts.
When we're done using the brooder for the year, all we have to do is unscrew the nuts, remove the bolts, and all the brooder pieces come apart so that they can be stored flat, taking up much less room in the off season.
Here is the new brooder all set up and ready for use:
Just in time for the new arrivals: a brand new batch of Blue Orpington chicks we just hatched out of our incubator!