Country Living & Penny Pinching

Getting back to "Little House on the Prairie" living

Tag: brooder

Attempting the DIY Brooder

When bringing the chicks home the Hubby said they must have a  home before entering the house. With little to no money to spend on the brooder I attacked our moving boxes, grabbed some leftover duct tape from labeling those moving boxes and started making a Frankenstein brooder.

a little bit of elbow grease and duct tape

Knowing that each chick needed SOOOO much space in order to be healthy I duct taped all those moving boxes together. These boxes ended up being bigger than my dining room table. Let me add that I have a huge dining room table (we thought we lived in a mansion when we bought it for our tiny newlywed apartment). We were expecting about twenty chicks overall and they are supposed to grow really fast so I made enough space for about 100 chicks.

These chicks did not needs so much space. Do not let these fancy books tell you otherwise. For the first few weeks they only need the size of a storage tub. maybe an extra long one. Next time the brooder will be about a tenth of the size.

Despite the size, I was determined to have everything be D.I.Y. (do it yourself) This would be saving money AND recycling. Here are the waterer and feeder…

Waterer and Feeder

The feeder worked great, the chickens could of course scratch some of it out but I feel like almost all DIY feeders wont be perfect. I used scissors to make the holes and hot glued the juice bottle bottom to the 8 oz baby cereal container.

The waterer was not so great. I hot glued the fancy plastic water bottle to a jar lid, made holes with scissors at the bottom of the bottle and it took me days to figure out why it wasn’t working that well. Every time I tried to fill it, it would overflow.

The holes are just above the lip of the lid…yep! The holes need to be lower than the top of the bottom piece (in my case a tiny jar lid). None of the instructions I read ever said that REALLY IMPORTANT piece of information. So the 2nd generation waterer was cat food cans. These worked and were cheap and of course got spilled but that’s why we had four to five cans in at one time. I didn’t have any more bottles and bottoms to try and make another proper waterer that did not leak.

this is only half of the brooder

Besides the basics we added fun toys. Roosts were in the corner poking through the sides or dangling in the wire. We added a floating wire top because the cat kept jumping in. The roosts really did help them stay distracted and they started roosting at about one week old.

Diamond sitting on his/her roost

There was also a mirror from the 99 Cent Store which had a handle that could be tied to the side or top. Ours leaned against the side since the walls weren’t very sturdy and kept getting knocked over. But boy oh boy those chicks loved coming up to it and seeing themselves.

pink mirror for the self absorbed chickens LOL

We had this set up for eleven days. That was all I could take of the heat lamp near the cardboard. So I kicked all of the chicks outside in a dog cage on our deck. But more on that set up next week 🙂

Have you ever made a brooder?

Getting the Flock

Chicken Math!!!!

Have you ever heard of this? It’s where you think you want six chickens so you end up with double if not triple that number. I thought people were crazy until I started buying.

6 Cochins and 2 Buff Orpingtons

We too started out with the number six. That number of hens would support just our family, but it would be nice to sell some extra too so I doubled to twelve. (The chicken math has started) There were twelve Leghorns in the incubator, bought four from the feed store, three from the lady incubating our eggs, two lemon buff Orpington, six bantam cochins and two Muscovy ducks.  I think this is way more than even the doubled number of twelve. After incubation we ended up with eleven eggs hatching which put us at twenty seven birds.

Hello! 11 Leghorns

TWENTY SEVEN, how did we go from six to twenty seven! haha this is the finest example of chicken math. Here is the problem, when buying chicks there has to be the extra chickens in case of boys popping up in the herd. There has to be extras in case of sickness or death. There have to be extras to keep each other warm so a heat lamp isn’t needed as long. There should just always be extra because they are so darn cute!

2 Muscovy Ducks

2 Muscovy Ducks

So back to bringing them home…I knew how many we were expecting so I made a brooder to fit about 100. I did not want to have to make another brooder once the chickens were bigger so here we were, the brooder is all made, I’ve attempted DIY feeder and waterer (that post coming up), and we began the waiting game for receiving chicks.

all ready for the chicks

Ten chicks came by car and feed store, two ducklings were waiting for pick up, and the 12 eggs were still cooking. The Hubby just about died when he found out how many birds I had purchased, but once he saw them he fell in love. He named half of them and his favorite were the ducklings.

To sum up we went from thinking six birds, to having twenty seven when all was said and done. According to statistics half of them should have been boys, which means I would have been close to my second number of wanting twelve. But nope, only our incubated eggs had that statistic. About five of them were boys but everyone else was a girl!

half of them getting used to their new home

Imagine our good luck and surprise when we found out we had twenty two females!!! Now the harder part was going to begin, keeping them alive until they start laying eggs.

How have you brought your birds home?