Homemade Chicken Brooder for less than $30

Many people who are raising chicks for the first time are looking for an easy and affordable way to house them.
This article will show you how you can make your own chick brooder for under $30.

Here is the materials list and links to buy them online or you can find them at your local walmart or lowes.

$10 Plastic storage box. Carry thru handle provides a perfect clamping spot for the heat lamp.
The link below to walmart.com is a listing for a set of 6.  That is the only way they sell them online.
Your local store will have them available one at a time.
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Sterilite-10-Gallon-40-Quart-Easy-Carry-Tote-Spicy-Lime-Set-of-6/22582944

$6.50 8 1/2″ Clamp Light
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Bayco-8.5-Clamp-Light/14003467

$5 Heat lamp Bulb
http://www.tractorsupply.com/en/store/westinghouse-lighting-250w-r40-heat-lamp-incandescent-light-bulb-red?cm_vc=-10005

$6 Hardware Cloth
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Mat-Mesh-Hardware-Cloth/20822625

Tools needed:
utility knife
duct tape (not listed in materials because you should have some already)
wire cutters

Cheap Homemade Brooder

Cheap Homemade Brooder

 

Step 1. Cutting the lid

To cut the lid you want to first score it. You score it by simply scratching the cut line and not cutting all the way through.
It is actually easier to get a straight cut by repeatedly scoring your cut lines rather than trying to cut all the way through in one pass of the knife.

Most lids have an indention or lowered area. This provides the lid more strength when stacking. Since we are not stacking the box, I will usually cut out most if not all of the lowered area.
Just be sure that your hardware cloth is larger than the hole you cut.

Step 2. Cut the hardware cloth.
Measure out the hole cut in the lid and using the wire cutters cut a piece of hardware cloth 2 inches bigger in each direction.
This will give you an inch overlap.

 

Step 3. Attaching the hardware cloth to the lid

Duct tape the hardware cloth to the lid on all 4 sides.  Note that once the heat lamp is on, the duct tape may wrinkle up.  You will just have to press it back down every now and then.
Alternatively you can use wire ties to attach the hardware cloth to the lid. To do this you will need to drill holes through the lid and then run the wire tie through the hardware cloth and lid and zip them.
This leaves the edges of the hardware cloth exposed which it can be sharp and pointy.  So we prefer the duct tape.  Using the zip ties and then duct taping the edges is the best method.

 

 

If you bought the storage box with the carry-thru handles you can simply clamp the heat lamp to the handle and point it toward the hardware cloth.
If not you will need to place the brooder close to something that you will be able to clamp the light on.  A chair or table leg work well.

For the bottom of the box, you will want to fill it with litter.  We prefer large flake pine shavings.
Not the small saw dust size as the chicks can eat it and not cedar as the oil can damage the chicks legs.
If you do not have shavings available then another option is to use fine soft hay.  Just be sure it it not pointy and rough.

For feeder and waterer you can buy them from your local feed store or you can simply use jar lids.  If using a jar lid for a  waterer you will want to put marbles or washed rocks in a jar lid to keep the chicks from falling down in the water and drowning.

It is truly that easy and inexpensive to build your own brooder.

Hatching day is always a good day.

Today is hatching day.  Below is a picture of some of the chicks that are just a few hours old.IMG_0846

Sorry for the fuzzy picture I was trying to hurry and get them into the brooder to keep them warm.

There are several breeds of chickens in the basket.  Barthuhner, Isbar, Bielefelder, and Chocolate Wyandotte.

They can currently be see live on our brooder cam.

 

 

Isbar Genetics

Isbar Chickens come in three colors.  Blue, Black, and Splash.   Since Isbar chickens do not breed true to their color, you will get different colors based upon the parents.  Here are the percentages.

 

Blue x Blue = 50% Blue, 25% Black, 25% Splash
Blue x Splash = 50% Blue, 50% Splash
Blue x Black = 50% Blue, 50% Black
Black x Splash = 100% Blue
Black x Black = 100% Black
Splash x Splash = 100% Splash

 

As you can see from the table above, there are ways to predetermine the offspring’s color by knowing who the parents are.   The most sought after color is blue.  However, to get 100% blue you do not want a blue.  You would want a splash and a black.  So for breeding purposes you truly want a mix of all 3 colors in your flock.   That is what we have here at Omega Hills Farm.  Our isbar chicks come in all three colors but they are weighted toward producing more blue than anything else.   Our Isbar eggs are like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you are going to get.

In the picture below you can see our black rooster with a few splash hens and one blue hen.

Sparky and his girls

Sparky and his girls

Appenzeller Barthuhner and Chocolate Wyandotte Hatching Eggs Now Available

We are happy to announce that we now have limited quantities of hatching eggs available for Appenzeller Barthuhner and Chocolate Wyandotte. We have been testing fertility and have been very pleased with the tests results of 95% fertility.

Sales are limited to 6 eggs per order. Hop on over to our shop and check out the eggs now available.

NPIP Testing Complete

NPIP Testing

 

Yesterday morning we had a visit from the Mississippi Board of Health to test our flocks.  The testing was done so our farm could be NPIP certified.    The test involved drawing a blood sample from the wing of each bird and placing the sample on a test strip.  Within three seconds the test shows the result of a positive or negative for pullorum typhoid or PT.  They also swab the vent to check for Avian Influenza or AI.  The swabs then get sent to a lab to be examined.   While we know that the PT tests were all negative, we are awaiting the results of the AI test from the lab.  There has not ever been a case of AI in our state so it is very unlikely that we will have any issues with it.   If that is the case we should have our shinny new NPIP number sometime next week.

First Home Grown Bielefelder Chicks!

Yesterday was a big day on the farm.  Our very first home grown bielefelder chicks popped out of their shell!  These little ones are  already spoken for and along with their brothers and sisters  and will have a new home shortly.   We have an incubator full of eggs so they are just the first of many hatchlings to come.

 

Notice how you can tell the difference between the male and female chicks in the picture below.

It's easy to tell between the male and female chicks

It’s easy to tell between the male and female chicks

Bielefelder Hatching Eggs Shipping Out Now!

We are now shipping Bielefelder hatching eggs.  Here is a picture of some boxed up ready to go.  You will notice that each egg fits perfectly into the foam packaging to ensure safe delivery.   Even so, we always include extras just in case the postman didn’t get his coffee the morning of delivery.

bielefelder eggs

Bielefelder hatching eggs

Bielefelder chickens growing up.

It’s been a while since our batch of bielefelder chickens were on our brooder cam for you to see. So we thought you might like to see some pictures of them now. Here are a pair that were out for an evening stroll.

Bielefelder pair out for a stroll

Bielefelder pair out for a stroll

Bielefelder hen posing for a picture

Bielefelder hen posing for a picture

Found a bug!

Found a bug!

Augsburger Chickens or Pollo Diablo?

We have a new breed of chicks on the farm this week. The Augsburger. Due to their imposing image we have affectionately nicknamed them “pollo diablo”.

Augsburger Rooster

Augsburger Rooster

This extremely rare breed from Bavaria had a population of under 150 total birds on the planet just a few years ago. Our variety is black with a greenish sheen throughout. This is an older breed that originated near the city of Augsburg in around 1880. The two main ingredients are the French La Fleche and Italian Lamotte breeds.

The most striking feature of this breed has to be the almost buttercup comb. A proper augsburger comb should split into two “single” combs after the first couple of points. This results in what appears to be a cup comb. To be proper there must be two separate blades that come together in the rear. While our chicks do not have their combs yet, it will be fun to watch them grow into the “pollo diablo”!

This current batch is now being housed in “Big Momma”. You can view the live feed of the brooder cam here.

Augsburger Chicks

Augsburger Chicks

Augsburger Chicks

Augsburger Chicks

Augsburger Chicks

Augsburger Chicks

Augsburger Chick

Augsburger Chick

Augsburger Chick

Augsburger Chick

Moving Day

One batch of chicks out of the brooder another goes in. Today we are moving the batch of Bielefelder chicks from Big Momma to our juvenile coop. The coop is to far away from our WIFI network so we will be leaving the web cam in the brooder. So you will still get to watch chicks grow up however the next breed will be Blue Isbar.

We will be renaming the Bielefelder cam to brooder cam since there will be a multitude of breeds on display not just the Bielefelder.

The Blue Isbars should be fun to watch and try to guess which are hens and which are roosters. Since the Bielefelders are an auto sexing breed we knew right away what was what. We have 6 isbar chicks that are about 4 weeks old. They will get to stay at big momma’s for a few weeks before they are moved on out to the juvenile coop.

You can see our Brooder Cam here.

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