Brooder Invention and a New Coop

Michelle Dickens : Our invention of a brooder. We used a large rabbit cage and put it in the bathtub (we have a shower that is separate and no one ever actually uses the tub) We bought the heat lamp and attached it to the top at one end of the cage so they could go to the other end if too hot. Also it had 2 heat settings. Eventually, a week before they were moved out to their coop, we no longer needed the lamp. The cage fit oh so perfectly into the tub so we did not need to build sides to keep the heat in. Just to mention, we have 4 cats and they were at first curious about the chicks, but after a few days pretty much ignored them. So, no one was harmed.

First pic below is the start of the building of the coop. My husband made it. Wish I could say I helped but I didn’t. Powers tools are not my thing. Second pic, is the completed outside. It was stained with the same color we used on our pot bellied piggy barn.(we have one) She squeals for attention when we are paying too much to the girls. The fencing used was obtained from my husbands work as they were not using it anymore and we thought since it was VERY sturdy it would aid in security. The roof which is now on, is made of the same material.

The girls the first time they were let out to explore – I used sandpaper for the first week so they wouldn’t slip on the wood, but no longer need it.

They get lots of shade and there’s lots of room for them to go under the coop as it is fenced with chicken wire that skirts out at the bottom and is staked into the ground.

Inside the coop are 2 roosting poles, and four nesting boxes. We used cat litter boxes inside them. There are two windows that open, one on the south side and one on the west.

Their entry door has a closure that slides up and down (it’s on the inside) and their ramp closes up at night and there’s a hinge too high up for predators to reach and too low for them to reach from the roof. The inside door is raised in the morning to let them out. They are used to the routine now. I let them out at 7 am when I also feed the pig, and then close their coop up again at 10pm when I give the pig her supper. At first, the girls would be waiting near the ramp to be lifted into the coop but after a couple weeks they started to put themselves in for the night.

One extra pic attached to this shows my 6yo daughter inside just to show the size of the coop. The wood used was stuff we already had on hand. We got the windows for $3 and $10 at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, as well as the door for me to use to access inside, for $12

We received our girls on April 27th at one day old. 5 are meat birds that won’t be with us long, so I think the remaining group will have plenty of space. Thank you for your newsletters. We learned lots from them before, during and since this project began. Michelle Dickens


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