If you have been anticipating the arrival of healthy fluffy chicks, then it is time to provide them with a brooder. A brooder box is a spot that will contain the chicks and keep them warm and dry. A brooder is basically made up of walls, a bottom surface that can be placed with shavings, a brooder lamp, and a cover to prevent the chicks from soaring out. The brooder must also have space for the food and water of the chicks.
To build the body of the brooder, you can make use of any material you see fit. You can utilize a kiddie pool, storage tub made of plastic, or a fish tank. You can even use a simple cardboard or wooden box. Bear in mind that each chick needs about two square feet of space in the brooder box.
If the box you are using is around twelve inches deep, then you may do away with placing a cover for the box. If the container has a depth lesser than that, then a cover may be helpful. Other than keeping the chicks from flying out, the cover can also keep curious household pets and kids away. The cover should be made of a breathable material since the chicks must be well ventilated.
The brooder lamp helps set the appropriate temperature for the chicks. An infrared lamp with a two-hundred-watt bulb does the trick. Add a reflector and clamp for to your purchase. Include the wire guard that runs beneath the lamp since this reduces the likelihood of starting a fire should the lamp fall over.
Place the lamp in the brooder box in a height that suits you best. Make sure the lamp is at the right level of the chicks and, at the same time, placed handily for you to adjust the temperature by five-degree increments.
Of course, you need a thermometer to check the temperature in the box. You might want to use a wire in placing your thermometer so you can easily read the temperature from the box. You can also use a sensor, which you can place beneath the lamp.
Pine shavings are the more recommended bedding type to be used in covering the bottom surface of the brooder box. The shavings are quite safe should the chicks decide to eat them. Avoid cedar shavings since they are toxic. Newspaper is also not recommended. The material is slippery, and this can lead to the chicks developing a case of spraddle legs. Other flooring materials you might want to consider are clean sand, rice hulls, or shredded newspaper.
For the feeder and waterer, there is a wide array of designs and styles available on the market. You can check out your local feed store for such, or you can make your selection from a catalog or online. If you are looking to save a few pennies, the egg part of egg cartons works quite well.
Select a waterer in a red hue. This enables the chicks to see the waterer better. Hence, they are able to drink the water more and get soaked less. Waterers encourage chicks to drink, so you might want to get them one.
With these easy-to-do steps, your homemade brooder box should be done in no time!