When our chicks turned 2 weeks old, they were already too big for their box I had set up in the house. Technically the space is big enough, but they seemed cramped and it was getting super dirty every day. So, it was time to move to their big brooder in our workshop.
The workshop is connected to our garage and is insulated with a baseboard heater for cold days and nights. I was also able to plug in their EcoGlow above the brooder. Perfect!
The bigger brooder measures 4' x 6' and is 3' high. It was constructed with repurposed wood from our house. Any renos we've done, we've saved any good wood just for things like this.
The bottom is lined with plywood sheets that were originally used as shelves in one of our closets. Since the brooder butts up against two walls, Hubby only had to build the other two side walls out of other plywood scraps.
He then constructed the lid, which he framed and secured with wood in the corners to keep it from shifting. He then covered with hardware cloth.
Since I wasn't sure how damp their bedding would get, I lined the bottom with puppy pee pads before filling with flax bedding.
I then put in the EcoGlow, waterer and some branches for them to jump on. They LOVED it! Running and flapping - so funny!
I was using two of my homemade feeders, which worked great for when they were little, but as they got bigger they just kept knocking them over. I ended up getting a huge feeder (which I bought from a co-worker) that will go in their coop as well. I also switched to water nipples for their waterer - amazing! Take a bucket, insert water nipples, put holes in the lid, hang bucket from above and fresh clean water is continuously available! Hubby put a board across their lid to hold the water bucket securely. This will also go in the coop.
As they grew I took out the EcoGlow (between 4-5 weeks old), as they weren't using it and were feathered enough to stay warm on their own.
With the flax bedding I'm able to scoop the poop with a cat litter scooper. It works good, but I do a lot of bending and getting in and out of the brooder, so it does take a toll on me physically. I look forward to them being in their big-girl coop!
They like to fly up to the ledge of their big brooder to greet me when I open the lid, studying my face and sitting on my hands. They are so sweet. I'm looking forward to giving them even more space along with the outdoor freedom in their enclosed run.
Next - chickens graduate to their coop!