The Backyard Flock: You Can Build a Brooder

Look what I made.  You can, too!

Look what I made. You can, too!

Now, don’t panic! This was my first building project. Ever. I bent nails. Shot them around the basement, but in the end I had a very nice brooder for 8 fuzzy fluff ball chicks.

Let’s take a closer look. The why of it all is at the bottom.

Let’s begin the adventure:

I started with two pieces of 1″x 10″x 8′ pine boards. Use 1″x 12″ x 8′ — I wished that I had.

1. I hacked…and I mean hacked them into three foot sections. My son claimed the leftovers for his own construction project.

Why? Because I wanted 9 sq ft. for 8 birds to grow in.

If you cut the boards in half (4′ sections) you will make a brooder to fit a 16 chicks. Assume 1 sq ft. per bird.

2. I hammered my now 1″x 10″sections into a box shape.

Note that those 2 pieces of strapping are what the enitr thing sits on like little feet.

Note that those 2 pieces of strapping are what the entire thing sits on like little feet.

3. Using 4 gazillion staples, I stapled hardware cloth (AKA 1/2″x 1/2″ wire grid) to the brooder box. This will eventually be the bottom. For now. you are working on it up-side-down.

4. Using two pieces of strapping (AKA 1″x 3″ board,) I hammered them over the hardware cloth, essentially pinching it in place.

5. Flip the whole thing over so that it is sitting on the strapping and the hardware cloth is now the bottom.

Making the lid:

Oh, yes, you want a lid. As they grow, they really want to visit the rest of your house.

A. Again using 1″x 3″ strapping, make a flat square, that fits the brooder box. If you can make nice corner cuts… what’s the word? Mitre (sp?) cuts then hurray for you. That was beyond my skill. So I just made the shape and hammered it together using metal cleats. Take a close look at the corners of the lid in the top photo.

B. Staple 1/2″ by 1″ welded wire grid to the “outside” of the lid.

C. Using relatively sturdy hinges, attach the lid to the brooder.

TaDa! You did it.

Why this design?

1. The dropping fall through to the newspaper below, for cleaner healthier birds.

2. You can easily change the paper without disturbing them much.

3. It rest on the strapping so little toes can grip and grow stronger, healthier legs.

4. No dust. Raise them in litter and after they play in it. You’ll have some mighty dangerous dust in you air, your lungs, your kids lungs. Gross!

5. Because they grip the wire, they are not very likely to suffer hip displacement.

6. This is the absolute cleanest way I could dream up. Cleaner for them, means the grow into darn sturdy birds. Cleaner is easier and healthier for you and your family.

7. I used strapping on the bottom so they would be as close to the floor as possible, without touching their feces. This way less heat from the lamp escapes. Hot chicks. Sexy!

I think that’s everything. If any of this was unclear feel free to e-mail me, write a comment or check the IM at the right to see if I’m “available.”

Here are some other articles from the Backyard Flock series:

Chicks Checklist

The Beginner’s Flock

Coop Considerations

The Egg Challenge: Store Bought Vs. The Backyard Flock

Contemplating a Backyard Flock

Choosing a breed

The White Egg Layers

So, how many chicks are you going to get? Are they for eggs? Meat? Both?


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  1. […] Nancy presents The Backyard Flock: You Can Build a Brooder posted at Recession Depression Therapy, saying, “Even the super beginner can build this well […]

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