Chicken Brooders: Everything You Need to Know
What is a chicken brooder? A chicken brooder is a place of safety where baby chicks are kept warm, fed, watered and cared for until they are able to care for themselves. Brooders are an essential piece of equipment for you if you intend to hatch and raise chicks yourself!
A brooder is the place where you move your chicks to after incubation. Here they will spend a lot of time being fed, watered, loved on and of course, being kept safe and warm.
There are a few common types of chicken brooders but the main two are an area brooder and a chicken brooder box.
An area brooder can easily hold up to 15 chicks comfortably. It has an adjustable light bar to set the perfect temperature for your chicks and it has no base which makes it much easier to clean.
A chicken brooder box has no bottom which also makes it easy to clean, along with an adjustable light bar to set the perfect temperature for your growing chicks. Unlike the area brooder, the chicken brooder box can folded flat when not in use to make it easier for storing and saving space.
When selecting the brooder your prefer it is important to take space into consideration. Chicks are tiny and always huddle together, but don’t let that fool you, they still require a good amount of space. In the first couple of weeks the recommended square footage is 2 per chick. After that at 6-8 weeks old, the floor space needs to be increased to 4 square foot per chick.
After you have selected the type and size of brooder you want to put your chicks in, it is essential that you have the following:
- Perimeter: Can be bought or made. This is important for keeping your chicks secure while they are in the brooder.
- Heat source: There are several types (heat lamp, ceramic lamps or heat plate)
- Security: It needs to keep out cats, dogs, mice and small children. The area should be completely self-contained and accessible by only you.
- Food: You will need to provide a food container and appropriate food
- Water: Again, you will need to provide a suitable drinker and clean, fresh water daily.
- Bedding: Suitable for chicks. This can be newspaper or paper towels for the first few days, then transition over to pine shavings.
- Odor Control Spray: Chicks are fun to raise but can be extra smelly and their living spaces can be harmful to them if not cleaned out properly.
After you have all of these 7 items you are ready to begin the brooding process.
Before placing your chicks inside the Brooder it is important that it is pristine and free of any harmful chemicals. Wiping your brooder down with Chick Fresh odor control spray will ensure that your chicks are happy and healthy as soon as they are put into their brooder.
After wiping down your brooder make sure that everything is working inside your brooder before placing your chicks in. Once you have tested and everything is working properly in the brooder it is time to put your chicks in!