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The Official Ameraucana Forum => Housing, Health & Hatching => Topic started by: John W Blehm on February 21, 2016, 05:51:00 PM

Title: Brooder room
Post by: John W Blehm on February 21, 2016, 05:51:00 PM
Here are some photos of my brooder room I started using a couple years ago.  By sharing these ideas that are built on my experiences, hopefully others will benefit.
The room is close to 12' square and has 1" Styrofoam insulation under the OSB.  I built an angled wall inside to keep the chicks away from the entrance door to the room and allow space to keep a barrel of feed and extra wood shavings.
If the room gets too hot an attic style exhaust vent, working off a thermostat, sucks out the heat.  The vacuum pulls open the shutters on the louvered vent in the door to draw in fresh air.   
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: John W Blehm on February 21, 2016, 05:53:06 PM
The floor brooder and heat lamps are also operated from thermostats.
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Suki on February 21, 2016, 07:38:35 PM
Very nice setup.  I have a much smaller one, but then we hatch in far different quantities.  I have heard of "brooder" boxes something like an incubator, I don't understand how they work or how hard they would be to clean.  Your John, looks rather simple to scrub out.

PS.  I forgot to add, that a friend of mine, a traditonal cattle farmer in OK, uses 100 gallon drums for her brooder.  They carve out a side, put in holes and on the other side made a screen.  Fran claims it works like magic.  I'll have to ask for a pic next time we speak.
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: John W Blehm on February 21, 2016, 07:51:21 PM
Very nice setup.  I have a much smaller one, but then we hatch in far different quantities.  I have heard of "brooder" boxes something like an incubator, I don't understand how they work or how hard they would be to clean.  Your John, looks rather simple to scrub out.

The homemade red floor brooder is similar to the gas and electric galvanized floor brooders of long ago...maybe they are still in production.
A box brooder would be like the one on the yellow table in the photo below. 
To the right of it is a homemade cabinet style brooder.  I used to have more of these before dedicating that room to brooding. 
There are also stack type brooders.  I had an old Sears unit on wheels that looked like 5 box type brooders stacked on top each other.
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Suki on February 21, 2016, 08:22:57 PM
Yes I've seen those old tyme ones advertised.  How is yours heated?  Or is just the chicks?
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Max Strawn on February 22, 2016, 08:36:44 AM
I recently purchased this GQF battery brooder set. Each one has its own heater and thermostat. They each have a tray for droppings that slides out for easy cleaning. I'll be putting the first batch of chicks in it this evening...
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: John W Blehm on February 22, 2016, 09:35:21 AM
I recently purchased this GQF battery brooder set. Each one has its own heater and thermostat. They each have a tray for droppings that slides out for easy cleaning. I'll be putting the first batch of chicks in it this evening...

NEW!  It is the same style "battery" brooder as the Sears unit I had, but mine was really old already when I bought it.
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Max Strawn on February 22, 2016, 10:17:29 AM
Yeah, they don't make them like they used to. Some parts are a little flimsy for me. It's light weight and parts are easily replaced if broken. But that was probably their plan. ( Easily broken, easily replaced.)  ???
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: John W Blehm on February 22, 2016, 12:21:35 PM
What I didn't like about the battery and box brooders is I had to replace the newspapers daily that I used to line the dropping pans.  They work great for chicks up to about a week old, but after that the chicks were bigger with more and bigger droppings.  Now I move the chicks out of the brooders, in the hatchery, as soon as possible.  The LF chicks go in the brooder room after 2 or 3 days and the bantams at about 6 days, so they are moved out before the next weekly hatch.
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Max Strawn on February 22, 2016, 01:33:45 PM
How many chicks do you keep at one time in your brooder room? Do you have it partitioned for different age groups? I'm going to try using shavings in the drop pans instead of paper. Hopefully it will keep the smell down a little longer...
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: John W Blehm on February 22, 2016, 02:35:20 PM
When in full swing there will be hundreds of chicks in the brooder room, from a couple days old to maybe 6 weeks old for the bantams.  No partitions.  More chicks go in each week and in a month or so I'll start pulling out the older ones to go out into a coop in the chicken barn.  In the brooder room many of the youngest chicks spend a lot of time under the floor brooder.
The 2 cabinet brooders, on 2 by 4 legs, in the hatchery have deep dropping pans for wood shavings and they work great.  I just sprinkle more shavings on top as needed and don't have to clean them until the end of the hatching season.

Materials needed:
(4) Legs, 2x4s (actual size 1 ½  x 3 ½) x 48” (may be shorter if using pre-cut studs)
(1) Top Back, 7/16” OSB, 48” x 10”
(1) Door - Top Front, 7/16” OSB, 48” x 16”
(3) Hinges, 2” or whatever
(1) Front, 7/16” OSB, 51” x 10”
(2) Supports - bottom, 1x4 (actual size Ύ x 3 ½ or 3 5/8) x 51”
(1) Back, 7/16” OSB, 51” x 16”
(1) Bottom, 7/16” OSB, 48” x 27”
(2) Sides, 7/16” OSB, 25” x 16”
(4) Supports – inside front & back, 1x4 (could even use 1x3) x47”
(4) Supports – inside on sides, 1x4 or 1x3 x 23 ½”
(1) Support – inside divider, 1x4 or 1x3 x 23 ½”
(1) Window on top – acrylic, Ό” (or whatever) x 6” x 24” (I added a couple more in front, later, for short kids to peek in)
(1) Support – door, 2x4 x 45 ½”
(1) Droppings Pan, galvanized, 6” x 26 ½” x 46 ½”
(1) 33” Brooder Heater, #5040 thru Cutler’s Supply
(3) Pan Slides, 1x4 or 1x3 x 26 ½”
(1) Hardware Cloth, 24 Ό” x 46 Ύ”
(3) Ό” x Ύ” Wood Strips - sides, 25” long
(2) Ό” x Ύ” Wood Strips – front & back, 45 ½” long
(1) Ό” x Ύ” Wood Strip - center, 23 1/2 “ long
A bunch of 1” drywall screws
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Schroeder on February 23, 2016, 07:59:37 AM
How many chicks do you keep at one time in your brooder room? Do you have it partitioned for different age groups? I'm going to try using shavings in the drop pans instead of paper. Hopefully it will keep the smell down a little longer...

Have you tried the pine pellets intended for horse stalls?  They work very well.  Might be cost prohibitive on a larger scale though.
Duane
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Max Strawn on February 24, 2016, 07:23:58 AM
I'll give them a try. The drop pans are shallow so the pellets might not make such a mess. Thanks for the tip.  :)
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Russ Blair on February 24, 2016, 12:45:28 PM
I have to quit looking at John's post. Every time I am like Oh I need one of those lol. Seriously John it is another great idea. Thanks for posting the pictures to give me more ideas lol
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Max Strawn on February 24, 2016, 01:18:07 PM
When in full swing there will be hundreds of chicks in the brooder room, from a couple days old to maybe 6 weeks old for the bantams.  No partitions.  More chicks go in each week and in a month or so I'll start pulling out the older ones to go out into a coop in the chicken barn.  In the brooder room many of the youngest chicks spend a lot of time under the floor brooder.

That's a great idea. I didn't think about installing a floor brooder to give the younger chicks a place to escape from the older ones.. I have a brooder room that is 6ft x 12ft. In the past I have only kept chicks in there that were a few weeks apart. Having that floor brooder will cut down on the number of smaller brooders to maintain. So it looks like I'll be visiting the hardware store again for floor brooder materials... Thanks John ::) No really, Thanks!  ;D ;D
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: John W Blehm on February 24, 2016, 04:13:33 PM
The steel cover on the floor brooder was leftover from a pole barn.  It originally worked off a wafer thermostat, but now the Lux thermostat regulates it.  The heating element was a clearance item at TSC, years ago, designed to keep livestock water tanks from freezing.  I put a welded wire cage around the element to protect the birds.  There is a low watt LED to attack the chicks and shed some light.  Now days they suggest blue lights for growing birds, but the red one works. 
Note I place the brooder close to the wall so the small chicks can come and go, but the bigger ones generally avoid the tight space.
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Max Strawn on February 24, 2016, 05:23:43 PM
Thanks for posting the pics. A visual always helps. I'll post pics of mine when it's done.
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Dennis Heltzel on March 02, 2016, 03:02:44 PM
When in full swing there will be hundreds of chicks in the brooder room, from a couple days old to maybe 6 weeks old for the bantams.  No partitions.  More chicks go in each week and in a month or so I'll start pulling out the older ones to go out into a coop in the chicken barn.  In the brooder room many of the youngest chicks spend a lot of time under the floor brooder.
The 2 cabinet brooders, on 2 by 4 legs, in the hatchery have deep dropping pans for wood shavings and they work great.  I just sprinkle more shavings on top as needed and don't have to clean them until the end of the hatching season.

Materials needed:
(4) Legs, 2x4s (actual size 1 ½  x 3 ½) x 48” (may be shorter if using pre-cut studs)
(1) Top Back, 7/16” OSB, 48” x 10”
(1) Door - Top Front, 7/16” OSB, 48” x 16”
(3) Hinges, 2” or whatever
(1) Front, 7/16” OSB, 51” x 10”
(2) Supports - bottom, 1x4 (actual size Ύ x 3 ½ or 3 5/8) x 51”
(1) Back, 7/16” OSB, 51” x 16”
(1) Bottom, 7/16” OSB, 48” x 27”
(2) Sides, 7/16” OSB, 25” x 16”
(4) Supports – inside front & back, 1x4 (could even use 1x3) x47”
(4) Supports – inside on sides, 1x4 or 1x3 x 23 ½”
(1) Support – inside divider, 1x4 or 1x3 x 23 ½”
(1) Window on top – acrylic, Ό” (or whatever) x 6” x 24” (I added a couple more in front, later, for short kids to peek in)
(1) Support – door, 2x4 x 45 ½”
(1) Droppings Pan, galvanized, 6” x 26 ½” x 46 ½”
(1) 33” Brooder Heater, #5040 thru Cutler’s Supply
(3) Pan Slides, 1x4 or 1x3 x 26 ½”
(1) Hardware Cloth, 24 Ό” x 46 Ύ”
(3) Ό” x Ύ” Wood Strips - sides, 25” long
(2) Ό” x Ύ” Wood Strips – front & back, 45 ½” long
(1) Ό” x Ύ” Wood Strip - center, 23 1/2 “ long
A bunch of 1” drywall screws

Do you use 1/2 or 1/4 inch Hardware Cloth for the bottom? Any problems with hurt legs on that ? I usually put them on paper for the first week or 2.
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: John W Blehm on March 02, 2016, 04:46:52 PM
Do you use 1/2 or 1/4 inch Hardware Cloth for the bottom? Any problems with hurt legs on that ? I usually put them on paper for the first week or 2.

1/4" hardware cloth is what GQF used on their hatch trays 1/2" is used on many brooders, but I used 1/3".  It was hard to find and I bought a 100' roll.  I still have most of it.
I think the wire mesh for the first few days may help with them, especially those that tend to have what some call spraddle legs.
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Max Strawn on March 07, 2016, 10:51:35 AM
Ok, my floor brooder is complete and in service. The only problem I see is keeping the water clean for the smaller chicks. The water for the older chicks is elevated enough to keep it pretty clean.

 I'll also try using a rabbit feeder so only the chicks under the floor brooder can eat from it.
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: John W Blehm on March 07, 2016, 01:14:51 PM
Max,

With the large cutouts on each end and the openings of the steel ribs on the end boards, I don't think you'll hold the heat inside the floor brooder.  You want it warmer under there for the younger chicks.  I would also suggest lowering the heating element closer to the heads of the chicks.
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Max Strawn on March 07, 2016, 03:49:42 PM
I cut two pieces of plexiglass to cover the openings if needed. I wanted to be able to see inside without raising it up. The Texas weather is much warmer than yours so I wanted to be sure they had adequate ventilation. It has been mostly in the 70's for the last few weeks...
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: John W Blehm on March 07, 2016, 05:01:44 PM
Max,

I thought about the difference in climate, but you have a thermostat on there also so I don't think that comes into play.
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Russ Blair on March 09, 2016, 08:18:36 PM
You guys are killing me with these ideas. I am so pressed with time after building another breeder pen/conditioning pen I broke down and ordered a dickey hatcher. I wasn't going to have time to build one as planned. Ok now my rant is over let me chime in on a concern of mine Max. To me it looks like your wafer is mounted high up on the brooder. I would be concerned about floor temp fluctuating to much? It may just be the picture and I am sure you used a thermometer at the floor to set it. It could be the Michigander in me, use to 30 degree nights and 60+ degree day time fluctuations.
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Suki on March 10, 2016, 09:20:45 AM

That's a nice unit Russ.  Congratulations. Did you get the acrylic door?  I think for hatching that would be a winner. Let us know how it works out

http://dickeyincubators.com/hatcher.htm (http://dickeyincubators.com/hatcher.htm)
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Russ Blair on March 13, 2016, 02:13:23 PM
No I didn't get the acrylic door. I may upgrade it later, I have a batch hatching in it as I speak. I did opt for the dual wafer system after concerns if electronic thermostat being plugged by down. Seems to hold steady.
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Suki on March 14, 2016, 07:31:41 PM
Interesting about the thermostat.  You are definitely hatching alot.  Every time you post you are either just finished a hatch or putting one in.  Most impressive.
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Gerald E Hall on April 13, 2016, 01:21:45 AM
How does the battery box work? Could I build a box like that and use a couple digital heat fans like in the incubators? I have a brinsea but it's only good for small hatches. I've been using a 4x4 welping box and a heat lamp.
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Suki on April 13, 2016, 03:06:13 PM
Hello Gerald
AS for digital heat fans do you mean  LEDS for heat?  LEDS do not put out heat that is way they last so long.  Perhaps I misunderstand.

Here is a commercial batter brooder though Russ got his from Dickey, same idea though.  I couldn't find a manual for any of them btw.
http://www.strombergschickens.com/prod_detail_list/battery-brooders

As for making one, here is an idea that maybe you can adapt from Mother Earth News.
http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/diy-chicken-brooder-zmaz77zlan.aspx

Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: John W Blehm on April 13, 2016, 05:32:24 PM
Here is a commercial batter brooder though Russ got his from Dickey, same idea though.
Dickey makes and sells incubators, but I don't think he sells brooders(?).
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Dennis Heltzel on April 14, 2016, 08:04:24 AM
Here is a commercial batter brooder though Russ got his from Dickey, same idea though.
Dickey makes and sells incubators, but I don't think he sells brooders(?).
He does make and sell brooders. I got a flyer about them in one of the purchases I made from hem, but it's not on his website, which in 2016 practically means it does not exist, LOL.
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Max Strawn on April 14, 2016, 09:18:00 AM
How does the battery box work?

It works ok but it's not what I was hoping for. The bottom brooder is hard to work with since it is so low to the floor. The chicks sling their food everywhere and make a mess. When removing chicks, you have to use a small fish net to reach them at the the back of the brooder. If they had put the sliding door on the side instead of the front, you might be able to reach all the chicks by hand. It's convenient and easy to clean, but expensive. I could have built it myself to suit for less than half the price but I needed something quick.
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Suki on April 14, 2016, 01:05:42 PM

http://dickeyincubators.com/hatcher.htm (http://dickeyincubators.com/hatcher.htm)

5 Tray hatcherHatcher, w/dual wafer thermostat & TRH 158 hygrometer $509.25UPS
5 Tray hatcherHatcher, w/electronic thermostat & digital hygrometer $586.20UPS
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Jeffery Vance on December 13, 2017, 10:25:11 AM
John we did you pursue the thermostat control for your heat lamps?
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: John W Blehm on December 16, 2017, 07:28:59 PM
John we did you pursue the thermostat control for your heat lamps?

I said The floor brooder and heat lamps are also operated from thermostats (http://ameraucanaalliance.org/forum/index.php?topic=430.msg3088#msg3088).  Well I searched online to find what I wanted and bought them on Amazon.com.
Lux WIN100 Heating & Cooling Programmable Outlet Thermostat  (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000E7NYY8/ref=pe_385040_30332190_TE_3p_M3T1_ST1_dp_1)
They've worked out very well.


Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Russ Blair on November 18, 2018, 05:28:06 PM
Ok, the Michigan winter is setting in so I did some fishing on some nice winter projects. So I figured I would bump this up with me getting my first setting ready to go in. There's a couple spring shows and I have a critical number of breeders so for peace of mind I want a few chicks on the ground.
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Russ Blair on November 21, 2018, 12:58:56 PM
John I was wondering on your brooders (on legs) how hard is it to clean and disinfect the wire bottom? I am going to build a couple, which mine will be a table top version based off dimensions of a 36”x30” rabbit hutch tray that easily purchased through TSC. It appears your wire bottom is fixed and not removable? I was thinking of making mine where it would slide out in order to wash and disinfect it. Perhaps it’s not really necessary? Just wondering what problems if any you might of had or would recommend.
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: John W Blehm on November 21, 2018, 01:08:04 PM
John I was wondering on your brooders (on legs) how hard is it to clean and disinfect the wire bottom? I am going to build a couple, which mine will be a table top version based off dimensions of a 36”x30” rabbit hutch tray that easily purchased through TSC. It appears your wire bottom is fixed and not removable? I was thinking of making mine where it would slide out in order to wash and disinfect it. Perhaps it’s not really necessary? Just wondering what problems if any you might of had or would recommend.

I have a wire brush with a scraper blade on the backside that I use to clean dried droppings from time to time and after the hatching season.  It works best to scrape the dried droppings from the bottom side of the hardware cloth.  This loosens them and then a use a shop vac to clean up.  I don't disinfect though.  Chicks build immunity to Cocci, when they are exposed to small amounts of it.
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Russ Blair on November 21, 2018, 07:28:53 PM
Thanks
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Samantha Voges on November 23, 2018, 08:25:45 PM
I am loving this post! So many ideas! I only hatch small minuscule amounts in comparison to you guys and have a brooder downstairs in our storage room that a friend made with the plastic liner from the bucket of a bucket truck and it serves the purpose well but the amount of dust that’s accumulating down there is crazy! Does anyone have any ideas for controlling it!? I’ve been thinking about strapping an air filter to the back of a box fan and maybe that would help control it but I’d love to hear your guys thought!
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Russ Blair on November 24, 2018, 11:53:05 AM
Not sure about your fan idea Sam? It might be worth a try and let us know how it works? I know a lot of people swear by using play sand instead of wood shavings for the bedding. Supposedly it doesn't cause as much dust as the wood shavings? Unfortunately I haven't tried it so can not testify to its potential.
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: John W Blehm on November 24, 2018, 12:16:22 PM
If the dust is from wood shavings I'll go with the sand idea Russ mentioned.  With any poultry there will be a problem with poultry dust/dander...not to be confused with the poultry dust powders used to treat mites/lice on birds.  This dust/dander can cause allergies to flair up and disease, so I would suggest not keeping chicks in the house beyond a week of age at the most.  If you have a forced air furnace it can spread the dander throughout the house and the filters should be changed often.
In my hatchery room I have a few brooders, but they are only used to house newly hatched chicks for 3-4 days, for LF, and up to a week for bantams.  There is dust in the hatchery from the hatchers as chicks hatch, but all the surfaced would be covered if I left the chicks in that room longer.  They then go out onto wood shaving on the floor in my brooder room, where the dust/dander is all over the place.  A respirator should be worn in brooder rooms like this and I turn on the exhaust fan when I'm cleaning the room.
Quote from: http://ameraucanaalliance.org/forum/index.php?topic=430.msg3087#msg3087
If the room gets too hot an attic style exhaust vent, working off a thermostat, sucks out the heat.  The vacuum pulls open the shutters on the louvered vent in the door to draw in fresh air. 
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Suki on November 24, 2018, 01:33:10 PM

Temple da Silva has had better luck than me with sand instead of shaving, but that may because she just has bantams.  Now that I have some banty's I've used it with them and it does work well...or at least better than for LF.  In the latter case, the sand gets too wet and heavy, so I dropped it from them.


Sue
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Temple DaSilva on December 09, 2018, 10:19:53 AM
I did use sand not but for growing out chicks in our basement before it was warm enough here in CT to put them outside.  I always had shavings in the brooders to start.  And I had dust, dust, and more dust!  I'm not sure how much was chick dander versus sand or shavings dust.  What we ended up doing was building a room in the basement that could be totally closed off.  I switched back to shavings even in the next-step-past-brooder pens and bought a residential room air filter.  It's probably a bigger job than the filter was meant for I clean it frequently.  The containment and the air filtration really helped.

Another breeder friend of mine says if you go with the animal bedding wood pellets (like for horse stalls), it will cut down even more on the dust.  But as I have bantams, it seems like it would be a difficult substrate for them, especially just starting out.

-Temple DaSilva
Connecticut
Title: Re: Brooder room
Post by: Suki on December 23, 2018, 01:40:53 AM
Another breeder friend of mine says if you go with the animal bedding wood pellets (like for horse stalls), it will cut down even more on the dust.  But as I have bantams, it seems like it would be a difficult substrate for them, especially just starting out.

-Temple DaSilva
Connecticut

They are recommending equine pellets for cats btw, so I'm going to try it with my bantams this week.  I agree with the dust.  It's a horror.  I have a HEPA air cleaner running full time to keep the air clean particularly during the winter.