My current home doesn't have a verandah but I'd like it to! A long porch surrounding the entire house. With a porch swing, potted blueberry plants, and a long strong dog laying at my feet. The sweet smell of lrosemary and freshly-turned soil wafting across my yard. The chickens clucking contentedly as they scratch for goodies in the fertile dirt. Knowing we have a full root cellar, trees in the orchard about to drop their bounty, and soup made all from hand-picked harvests bubbling in the crockpot. Heaven.

Please move with me over to my current blog, www.rosemary-ridge.blogspot.com ... thank you!

CHEAPO CHICKEN BROODER COOP

I'm cheap. Really cheap. I squeeze a penny, and Abe's nose pops. So instead of buying yet more materials to make a place for my baby chicks to live their first few weeks of life, I got creative.

Big clear plastic tub with lid
Used Boxes
Plastic Zip Ties
Window Screening
Newspaper
Shredded Pine (Shavings)
Dowel rods or sticks
Duct Tape

NICU
This is where the chicks go as soon as they come home ... from the incubator or post office or breeder. It's close to help them contain body heat, and easy to clean between clutches.

As you can see, I put a small box to the right, with a hole cut out. I was tired of cleaning the pine shavings out of the food and water! Yeah, some still gets in there, but it helps to keep it clean. The chicks learned this within 20 minutes. Maybe I just have smart chickens!

I kept the top that attaches to the tub. Cut two holes in it (ventilation) and duct-taped window screening over that. Allows air to come through, but no escapees! Newspaper on the bottom, then scattering of pine shavings.

PRESCHOOL TUNNELS
Time to move the chicks to their next home while they grow out their wings and get ready for the great outdoors.

We'd recently moved, so we had lots of boxes. This "brooder coop" (pic to the right) took only two boxes, plus a small box inside for the food/water separation.

The box on the left is closest to the heat lamp. I cut a window in the front and duct-taped window-screening to it. Can see inside! Also poked a hole in both sides for a dowel rod (I think this is actually an old stick on ths side) for when they are ready to start perching. Actually has two but I took off the one at the left because they were getting confused. Also put a feeder and waterer in a box in this chamber because they still need heat. When they start exploring more, I'll take this one out.

Chamber two, the box to the right of the setup, gives them even more room. The perches / roosts are set up higher, and I've put an even bigger "window" at the front. You can see the waterer and feeder in the box to the back, and might be able to make out the door on the left that leads to the left chamber.

Attached the boxes together with plastic tip ties.

I still need to put window-screening over the tops. They've only just started to figure out their wings so I have another few weeks before I need to worry about them leaving. I'll duct-tape screening to the far end (in strips), then pull taut and attach (temporarily) with a push-pin. Will make it easy to move to change water, check for pasty butts, etc.

Here are the 5 chicks from our first hatch gathered from eggs our hens laid. 6 hatched, but the 6th died last Monday. These 5 look healthy. All have names, and we've marked them (you can see a blue band on one ... That's "Early" ... hatched a day earlier than expected. This pic was taken just today.

I'm expecting 25 bantam chicks in the mail today so initially, they will go in the tub for a couple of days. That will give me time to construct a second preschool tunnels in the back bedroom for them.

See? You don't need a lot of money to make a cheap and very easy brooder coop. Believe me... I have almost no construction skills, and this took me very little time.

2 comments:

Jennifer said...

Hello,

What a great idea! I am getting chicks today and will use this idea. Thank you!

Vee and the Kid said...

Good luck, Jennifer. Just something I've learned this past month ... have a separate "box" that's actually a plastic tub. Same concept: cut a hole in it and connect to the box homes. We used lots of duct tape.

Since the chicks will inevitably spill water ALL OVER, having the food and water in the tub will make it easy to clean up. (Boxes disintegrate into your carpet, and get moldy.) No shavings in the tub ... just newspaper, food and water. Replace the newspapers when wet. Pine shavings in the other boxes.

Be sure to check out www.backyardchickens.com because there are some GREAT ideas on there too!

Vikki