Brooder Shed for Silkies and Hatchlings

Finally! This is my finished brooder shed with a custom built brooder box for my Silkie hens and their hatchlings. The shed is 8×10, it was just a bare bones structure with a window, double doors, and two sidewall vents. Today it has vinyl flooring, electric, insulation & drywall, overhead lighting and is temperature controlled.

All my Silkies live primarily in the chicken coop. However, now when a hen becomes *broody she’ll be moved to the brooder shed where she’ll sit on fertile eggs until they hatch. The chicks will then stay with the hen until they’re sold… or moved to their own chicken yard when fully feathered to be later sold as *point of lay pullets.

 

Broody:  When the hen has an urge to sit on her eggs to try and hatch them.
Point of Lay Pullet: Young female chicken just about to lay,  5-6 months old.

 

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Brooder Shed Update

For the past year, maybe longer, we have been remodeling the brooder shed to be a more suitable place to raise baby chicks. This will also be where my broody Silkie Bantam hens can hatch eggs. Over the winter we had drywall put up, and this past week it was taped and prepped to paint. The brooder itself has been built, but there’s still a box of flooring to install on the bottom.

I bought paint the other day for the interior of the shed, pale yellow of course! Next week painting is the number one priority.  It’s been fun picking out prints for wall decor, mostly retro poultry tin, but I did choose two framed prints of fancy hens and roosters.

The biggest problem with raising chickens here is the hot weather. It’s impossible to tell a hen when to go broody, and of course they pick the worst time on their own. So I’ve solved that problem with a heating and cooling system in the brooder shed itself. However, that means the pressure is on to produce really nice quality birds. Air conditioning is going to drive my prices up a little to accommodate the price of keeping them alive in 115 degree temperatures. But, that also means I’ll have chicks during the off season when they’re not readily available at local retailers.

There’s still an incubator to buy just in case a hen decides to leave her eggs. They do that sometimes! One day they are dedicated mothers sitting on a clutch of fertile eggs, and then just like that, decide to re-join the flock, leaving their babies to die. What the heck!

So little by little it’s all getting done, but it all cost money, and unfortunately the money tree I planted has not produced even a single dime. Dang!

Here’s what the brooder shed and new brooder looks like so far…

Still lots to do, but I don’t think a month to completion is unrealistic. 🙂

A New Option, Sexed Bantams

My Pet Chicken Corners the Market by Sexing Chicks, and the 15 Chick Minimum.

Anybody who has ever tried to buy sexed bantams found out quickly they’re almost always sold as a straight run, or not sexed.  Almost always, meaning every hatchery I know of, except My Pet Chicken. Nobody seems to know how they do it, and I don’t know if in fact their accuracy rate is even commendable, but I’m going to find out soon.  For the first time I was able to order less than the normal 15 chick minimum, and they’re sexed.  That’s right, the minimum order of shipped chicks from My Pet Chicken (in most cases) is only three. Of course I paid a $premium$ for my sexed Silkie Bantam day old chicks, but it seemed worth it. If it is to you too, visit My Pet Chicken for all the details.

When ordering my chicks I did take into consideration the margin of error associated with sexing, and of course, the shipping survival rate. I’ll have more Silkies than I want, if they all survive, and are pullets, two will be re-homed.

The brooder is ready and waiting for my new arrivals. It is averaging 100 degrees in the day, and 85 at night in the outbuilding where they will be living for the next 4 weeks. It should be quite easy to maintain a suitable living environment through the month of September. There is a window for natural light, air circulation, plumbing, electric, and lots of space for me to work play in.

 

The chicks will be moved to the coop between 4 and 5 weeks old, they will fair well in the mild temps of October until they are fully feathered at age 6-8 weeks. Sometime between now and then I’ll have the coop ready… not exactly chick worthy in it’s current state, but I’ll save that train wreck for another post.

♥ Five bearded & non bearded black Silkie Bantam chicks are expected to ship, Sept. 10th!