The New and Improved Chick Brooder

Did I mention that we are expecting three new chicks next week? I think I did. They'll be shipped on Monday, and we expect them bright and early Tuesday morning. Vacation week is a good time to get babies, since we'll be home when our friendly neighborhood postal worker brings them to the door.

Kirk had off from work today, so he built a new brooder in preparation for the new babies. Our old one was a plastic bin with some hardware cloth for a floor, but the new one is the Taj Mahal of brooders:

The great big crate was made from a couple of our old potato boxes. (We are going to hill our potatoes a different way this year and won't need all those boxes--more on that later.) There's still the guillotine stand to hold the heat lamp, though it's now permanently attached to the sides of the box.  

Inside the box there's a permanent cross bar to support the feeders. There's also a layer of hardware cloth secured in place by battens along the side to make the floor. This is a big improvement over the previous design, in which we had to lift out the mesh floor to clean the brooder out. Here's a better look:

The hardware cloth is suspended several inches above the subfloor, which is a wooden tray that will eventually be filled with wood chips. The best part about that tray?

It slides out from beneath the brooder like a drawer for easy cleaning. This is a major design upgrade. Except for a new roll of hardware cloth, Kirk built the whole thing for free out of scrap. Well done!

Now all we need is to fill it with some cute baby chicks next week!


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