Any ideas on how to make a brooder? (Poultry - Housing/Equipment) : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I would like to make a chicken brooder kind of like the ones that are made of metal with built in heat lamp, waters, feeders and with the removable bottom for cleaning. Any ideas???

-- KBall (, April 20, 2001


Response to Any ideas on how to make a brooder?

Raising Poultry the Modern Way by Leonard S. Mercia (Garden Way Books) has several designs, including some homemade.

Yesterday I started to brood three Muscovy ducklings. They are in a 11 1/2" x 17 1/2" x 12" high cardboard box, lined with newspaper on the bottom, containing a quart bottle feeder (wild bird seed) and waterer. Have two strips across the top on which the heat lamp sits at one side and the entire box is covered by an old towel. Started out with a 25 watt bulb, but it was too cool, so switched to 60 watt. It is keeping the bottom at the center about 92 degrees, which is what the above book recommends for chicks. They will be eventually transferred to a larger hardware cloth cage. Once a day I will replace the newspaper in the bottom.

Still waiting to see if my two sitting Muscovy ducks will give me more than three ducklings this cycle.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, April 20, 2001.

Response to Any ideas on how to make a brooder?

I use one of the big plastic containers that are about 3 ft long by 18 inches wide and 30 inches high. You can pick one up for about 10 bucks or less. I taped a scrap piece of wood across the top and hung a 60 watt bulb on one end. I scratched up the plastic bottom with sand paper so it wasn't so slippery and put in a few handfulls of pine shavings. Works well. It would be easy to cut the bottom off and tie in a hardware cloth bottom and set it on spacers and a removable pan if you wanted to cut down on the clean up time. Ducks can be very messy. They piddle with the water and splash it out. I had 3 Rouen ducks in there till a few days ago. They got so smelly that I had to get them outta here! I hope yours do better Ken.

-- Kent in WA (, April 20, 2001.

Response to Any ideas on how to make a brooder?

The last few years I have had good luck with a kids wading pool in the back of my chicken coop. I fill it with litter and tape a two foot high piece of cardboard around the top to keep out drafts-then hang a heat lamp over it. The lamp can be raised or lowered depending on how hot I want it. When the pool gets too dirty-it's easy to remove the chicks to a box and remove the cardboard to hose the pool out. It is very inexpensive and I have used mine for the last five years. I have used it for my ducklings too, it works just fine. The ducklings are a lot messier and need cleaned up after more often but they are messier no matter where you brood them!! Good Luck!!!

-- cowgirl (, April 20, 2001.

I use the bin method myself. I buy one of those large storage bins, use a 60 watt bulb in a clip light and clip it to the side of the bin, pointed down. I use the metal chick feeder dish and the plastic chick waterer. Use a thin layer of pine shavings on the bottom. When the chicks are older and more active put the waterer and feeder on some sort of riser - I use a piece of board - to keep the shavings out of the feed and water. Works great until they are ready to be introduced to the coop. Afterwards the bin can be cleaned and used for other things or stored for the next brooding. I have brooded three sets of chicks this way - in my livingroom. One more thing, once the chicks are about a week old cover the bin with chicken wire as they will start trying to jump and fly soon. Good luck !

-- cindy (, April 24, 2001.

There are are as many different brooder ideas as folks who come up with them. Some use large rabbit cages. This is a popular idea:

I happen to use a 4 foot long dog cage. In fact, I'm preparing it tonight 'cause I have a bunch of peepers coming from the hatchery in the morning! The 4 sides are covered with 1/2 inch hardware cloth to keep the little ones in. I also attached hardware cloth about 6 inches up from the floor for the chick's floor. The poop falls thru and the chicks aren't living in their droppings. A 100 watt bulb in a reflector hangs in the back of the cage. A blanket covers the top and 3 sides of the cage.

When the chicks are about one week old, I open the gate of the cage and attach a bridge I made out of the hardware cloth. This allows the chicks to leave and return to the cage. I have a 4 foot tall circle of the hardware cloth around the cage. This gives the chicks a 10 foot diameter area to play in. I feel their running and playing is healthy for them.

I don't use water for the first 3 days, I use un-flavored Pedialyte. The electrolytes help the chicks get over the trauma of their trip.

For the first week, if you put marbles in the waterer tray, the chicks won't drown.

Once the birds are feathered up, I put them outside in a pen. They are kept in the pen for 3 weeks. I free feed, there's always feed in the feeder. This trains the birds to return to the pens to roost at night. Too many night time predators here to leave the birds out at night. All my birds return to their pens, on their own, at dusk to roost. I then close the gates.

-- ~Rogo (, April 24, 2001.

i got this idea here a while ago and used it with success for 10 duclings. My two toulouse goslings just went into the same setup today. Get two large to extralarge dog carriers. Pop off the doors, and put them aside. Put litter in both carriers, then put them together door opening to door opening. The waterer will go in one box, the dry food and the heat lamp in the other. A clip light will usually fit on the top lip of one of the door openings, or you can use a board on top. If you have a kitten or inquisitive dog, be sure to block up the cracks between the two boxes. (I found my kitten INSIDE one of the boxes with the ducklings before I blocked it.) Also, it is good to wedge the two boxes together.

Keep a thermometer inside the dry cage to monitor heat. Also, you can cover the top and sides of the boxes with towels to keep heat in. The 'water' side should be cooler to allow the birds to cool off if needed.

-- seraphima (, April 25, 2001.

i would have went the other way. the babies love the heat. they will tell you if it is too much by hanging out by the entrance of your brooder. just crank the watts on a dimmer. buy a big light and put in a dimmer those big light bulbs are expensive. the biggest thing for those kids is to make sure there arent any drafts those will get em worst then then too much or too litle heat.

-- jeromeah barnhill (, April 26, 2001.

I use a cardboard box and a heat lamp but take out the infared bulb and put in a 60 watt bulb i also put a teddy bear or some ther stuffed animal in there withit and the chicks will get under it like they would their mama

-- greg hargett (, August 30, 2001.

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