If you plan on incubating eggs and raising chicks yourself, a chick brooder is a necessary investment.
Having one ready to go means you can, in theory, hatch whenever you like.
Here, you’ll learn about the different types of chicken brooders on the market so you can make an informed decision.
A variety of other topics, including heaters and their installation, will be covered as well…
You may also want to read about the best chick brooder heater.
What is a Chick Brooder?
A chick brooder is often misunderstood for an incubator. The inconvenient truth is that it probably is!
Eggs that have been fertilized and are ready to hatch can be placed in an incubator. In this protected setting, the egg receives an adequate amount of heat and moisture to facilitate development and hatching. Your poor little chicks will finally emerge on day 21. Leave them in the incubator for a while to dry out and plump up. For the first 48 hours of their lives, chicks do not need to find a new home.
After the eggs have been fertilized and the chicks have been hatched, they will be transferred to a brooder. A lot of time will be spent here making sure they have food, water, love, and a safe, dry place to sleep.
The incubator served as a brooder for a few days, but it clearly wasn’t designed for that purpose.
Types of Chick Brooders
Compared to the standard cardboard box, this is a significant improvement. You have realized that your once-tiny chicks have grown to the point where they need more space, and so you have relocated them to an enclosure.
The chicks would ideally remain in the area brooder until they are ready to move to the coop.
The presence of a brooding area or starter coop is essential if you plan to keep and raise chickens. You can put extra items in there when you’re not using it.
Keep in mind that as a rule of thumb, the higher the price tag, the longer it will last.
Chick Brooder Box
The vast majority of us make do with, or begin with, a specially adapted large container designed for containing baby chicks.
When they don’t weigh too much or take up too much room, this type is ideal. It’s common practice to transfer the chicks from the starter brooder to a more spacious area outfitted in a similar fashion.
Make sure that whatever you choose to buy or build is at least 12 inches high so that there is no way for them to get out. Use paper towels as flooring/bedding until the chicks’ legs are much stronger because they have a hard time gripping the floor. After 7–10 days, you can transition them to pine shavings.
Regardless of the style you choose, remember that its primary function is to provide a protected space for your chicks to grow in before they are ready to move into the coop.
Many things make up the brooder:
- In terms of the perimeter, you have two options: buying or making.
- There are various sources of heat (heat lamp, ceramic lamps or heat plate)
- Cats, dogs, mice, and small children are all potential security threats that must be eliminated. You should be the only person with access to the area.
- It is your responsibility to supply a suitable food container and suitable food.
- Again, you’ll need to supply a suitable drinker and fresh water every day.
- Comfortable nesting material for laying hens. If you want to start out with newspaper or paper towels, that’s fine; you can switch to pine shavings after a few days.
- Keeping Chickens in Mind When Planning Your Home
Although young chickens tend to crowd together, don’t underestimate the space they’ll need.
Two square feet per hen is the minimum amount of space needed. You can relax your supervision in the first two weeks, but once they begin to gain size and try to establish their social status, chaos will ensue.
The bad habits of picking one’s toes or plucking one’s feathers are particularly hard to break once they’ve begun.
When the chicks are 6-8 weeks old, they need 4 square feet of space per bird. In terms of bird size, you are getting close to adulthood. Teenage years are the most destructive years of life, so it’s important to provide ample space to avoid injuries, bullying, and frustration.
What You Need to Know About Brooder Set Up
You’ll want to get a few things in order before bringing your chicks into the brooder. Rinse everything with disinfectant or warm, soapy water, even if it’s all brand new.
Second, before putting the chicks in there, make sure everything is fully operational and has been tested.