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Re: Re:Cats and Chicks..

Jesse and Jim,

I can't find the original plans after all - I guess I gave away the magazine, but it's all based on using standard lumber, if I recall. The ends are 2'x 2' plywood. The bottom and sides are 2'x4' plywood. The frame is of the same dimensions, made of 2"x2".

One half of the top is covered in half-inch hardware cloth. The other half of the top is 2'x2' plywood. The screened part is hinged.

The solid half has a cut-out to allow hanging a heat lamp. The lamp is completely inside the brooder. The hanging loop is ingeniously held by a square of 1"x1" and 2 nails. There's a small piece of plywood (about 2' x 6") that acts as a curtain between the two sections, and I usually hang a cloth (part of an old pillowcase or something) that goes nearly to the litter to keep the heat in for the chicks. That way they can run into the enclosed part to keep warm, or run out into the more open area for exercise.

Dad cut some viewing windows - about 6x9" into the solid part, and used some leftover acrylic stuff for windows. They're each attached with one screw so that I can swing them aside and tend to the chicks or ventilate slightly if necessary. I hang the thermometer there, too.

I used an old broom handle to make a roost in the screen-top area. The chicks are usually roosting on it by the time they're a couple of weeks old. It's a lot of fun to see them learning to perch there, and it keeps them from snoozing on their water jug and pooping into it.

It does a box (25) of chicks for 2 weeks, a dozen chicks for about 4, and half a dozen for 6 weeks, no problem. I think that this year the 8 chicks were in the brooder box for 6 weeks, maybe 8, but I don't remember exactly. We were in the worst of the tainted dog food care then.

Jim, the way the box works provides a natural flue to release moisture and maintain ventilation. I think that for cheese drying purposes, they recommended a 15 watt bulb.

The original plans called for attaching rope handles at either end, but we didn't.

Jesse, don't beat yourself up for forgetting to close the door. You may have closed it most of the way and Raja opened it. Diesel does - he's delaminated the door from the kitchen into the utility room by hooking his nails into the wood to do so. And sometimes we have to accept that as much as we want all creatures to get along, nature sometimes outwits nurture.


----- Original Message ----- From: "Jesse Bell" <silverhawk@flash.net>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2007 10:30 AM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] Re:Cats and Chicks..

Really? Yes, I'd be interested in seeing the magazine or online catalog for your chicken brooder. Last night we went and bought a galvanized steel water trough (small and lower to the ground - small sheep or goat size) and transferred the chicks into that. I have 10 of them now and the box was just too small. I let my guard down for 5 minutes while I went outside to dump the old shavings into the compost pile and when I came BACK, RAJA was sitting INSIDE the trough, with the chicks, staring at them. Poor little chicks were all huddled at one end, scared to DEATH. I yelled "RAJA!!!! - NOT YOURS!!! AGHHHHHHHH" and went after her...she scampered out of there and I didn't see her for the rest of the night. I was so lucky. Can't believe I forgot to close the laundry room door behind me.

Daryl <pulis@mindspring.com> wrote:
My chick brooder has a screen top on one end, and wood with some small plexi
windows on the end with the heat lamp. Diesel loved to spend the day
watching the chicks and enjoying the extra warmth.

I was glad the chicks got big enough for Diesel to leave them alone. He was
good when I was out there with him, but considering the lust in his eyes,
and what he did to a wren that got onto the screened porch, I think that he
would have made lunch out of them given the chance. It was a very
well-traveled wren before he dropped it in the dining room and I was able to
get it out from underneath the furniture. Don't want to do that again!

BTW - the plans for my brooder came from Countryside and Small Stock Journal and it can double as a cheese dryer, if you're interested. I can raise half
a dozen chicks to 6 weeks w/ no problem.


----- Original Message ----- From: "Jesse Bell"
Sent: Thursday, September 13, 2007 9:39 AM
Subject: [CHAT] Re:Cats and Chicks..

Raja has been sitting by my newly hatched chicks every day that I've had
them in the house. They are safe, in a big plastic storage box with a lid
that has holes cut in it. I have a heat lamp in there - BUT - you can
sort of see the chicks walking around inside the box because of the light
shining on it, and Raja sits there, with HUGE eyes, and stares at the box.
I take the lid off to change the food, water and wood shavings, and to
play with the little cuties..and Raja sneaks her head over the edge and
looks at them, then looks at me like "can I have 'em?" and I say, "NO
Raja - not yours" and she sits back down, looking very put out. But she
knows when I say "not yours" that she has to leave them alone. But she
really, really wants them. I love those silly chicks. Because I've had
them since day 1 or 2 and handle them all the time, they just sit in my
hand and fall asleep. We had a new one hatch yesterday and I left it
under the mother for the first day. They do
better that way. I think I'll have 2-3 more before it's all over. It is
so amazing to watch this whole process. Very cool.

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