raising chickens

Free Homemade Chicken Brooder Plans

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The first step in raising your meat birds is to get your chicks in a properly heated brooder. There are different setups, but what I found that works best and is probably the most economical is this homemade chicken brooder with free plans below.

Chicken Brooder Enclosure
Use a 5-ft kiddee pool as shown below. Plan on one such setup for each 15 chicks. It is cheap, it won't leak, and lasts forever!

Chicken Brooder Lamp
You will need a brooder lamp - this is commonly available at a hardware or home store. Get a clear 250W brooder bulb for the lamp.

Chicken Brooder Box
This is so simple! Just get a 2ft by 2ft cardboard box that is 15" deep. Then cut off four scrap pieces of wood (1x2 or 2x2) to a length of 25". Screw in 4 drywall screws through the cardboard into the legs so that the bottom of the box is 10" off the floor. Make hole at the top that is about 6 inches round for excess heat to escape. What you can then do is knot your electric cord around another 1"x2" board so that the bottom of your brooder lamp is about a foot off the floor. Place your brooder lamp in your pool and then place 1 large bag of wood chips or shavings. Don't use cedar! And do not use sawdust or any treated wood product. With enough chips and not too many chicks, you can get by with less cleaning. But, periodically, remove the top bedding material and provide some new clean bedding. Keep your pool in a safe area out of the weather and wind. A back porch is ideal but a closed garage if it is not too cold will do.

Notes: If you have your pool on concrete, place the pool on some flat wood pieces so it istays a bit warmer on the bottom. Watch the chicks: If they are huddling in the middle, lower the light a little. If they are scattering away from the light, move the light up a little. After a few weeks your growing chicks will start to escape - to keep them in the brooder, fasten some 2ft high chicken wire around the perimeter, as shown below. At about the start of the 4th week, when the chicks are feathered out in white, they can be moved to either a pen or portable free range pen.

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Click on photo for larger view

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