Raising chicks in a box somewhere in the house is not a very pleasant experience, at least after the first two weeks. Chicks are messy, and smelly if not constantly cleaned up after. This is difficult without a proper set-up. Without the right tools for any job means working twice as hard, and raising chicks is no exception.
Caring and housing chicks shouldn’t feel like a chore. The planing, building, and improving your set-up is half the fun. Just like anything else, once a hobby becomes a job it’s just not fun anymore.
After years of looking for an easier way to raise chicks on a budget, this is what I came up with.
I had an 8×10 bare bones shed built with one window, two air flow vents, and a double door. Then the finishing was up to me, it took probably close to two years to afford everything.
Today it has painted walls, a tile floor, electric, and a custom made brooder to accommodate 50 chicks comfortably. All my supplies are handy, and any mess sweeps right out the door. I actually enjoy spending time in my brooder shed. My cute chicks, a window fan, soft music, and a cup of coffee. That my friends is how to enjoy your birds!
Not only for the safety of little thirsty critters, I’d really rather not have to deal with picking dead animals out of water buckets at 5AM in the morning. Here’s the brainstorm I came up with to end this dilemma once and for all.
Water is scarce in the desert and I don’t like wasting this precious and costly resource. I re-use water from the horse troughs for the birds and small wildlife that visit our ranch. Even condensation from the AC unit is caught in a bucket for watering plants. But this practice can be a death trap for birds and small wildlife who fall in and drown. Just in the last week I found a Prairie Dog and two birds dead in buckets of collected water.
- Flat back bucket & paint can grate
It’s called a paint can grate, I found it at Home Depot where the rollers and paint brushes are. It hangs nicely on the side of a flat back bucket and provides a perfectly suitable ladder.
Vinyl Shed with a Floor, Windows and Doors, Costco, $600
It’s easy to find a suitable chicken coop, but for the money they always seem too small. If you do find one that’s roomy enough, the price is rather spendy, at least for what it is. Certainly can’t use a store bought chicken coop and not worry about it being wind proof, or rain proof. You’ll be spending a lot of time and more money draping tarps over it, or worse, nailing boards to a flimsy framework . I think if you’ve spent any time on-line looking for a chicken coop, you’ve already seen everything you really want is well over $300. That will only accommodate about 4-6 birds and not exactly with enough room to spread their wings so to speak.
This shed from Costco is ideal, if you build a shelf on three sides about half way up for nest boxes you have created the perfect set-up. There’s ample space for feeders and a water source, so you have less to worry about in inclement weather. This shed provides a safe haven from predators when you close it up at night, and there’s no need to worry about ventilation because they have windows!
If your worried about how they hold up, don’t. Folks have been using them as tack rooms on ranches for years here in Phoenix. They’re pretty tough considering they bake out in the sun where temperatures reach 115+ degrees.
Another point to consider is this shed will be far more useful over the years, a chicken coop is what it is – and probably not for very long. So what are you waiting for? Build a fence around it and you’re in business!