Chicks and Brooders

What is a Brooder?

A brooder is a heated container that has a temperature controlled area. It’s used to confine chicks until they are old enough to go outside.

Creating a Brooder

You can make or buy one, other than a few mandatory basics, it’s up to you to research and find what set-up works best for you. It’s always important to plan ahead and have the brooder completely prepared for new chicks before they arrive.

It’s not necessary to spend a lot of money on a brooder, what you can make functional with scrap material is always the most rewarding.¬†You can view MANY brooder types HERE

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Chicken Nest Boxes and Bedding

There are many different types of nest box bedding that chicken keepers use. There’s no right or wrong one, you just have to find the one that suits your birds needs or preference for the type of next boxes you have.

Nesting material is important, if your hens scratch around in their nesting box and kick all the bedding out you’re going to have broken eggs.  The kind of nesting boxes you have are also important. If they are semi enclosed for privacy, such as a wooden box with a hole for entry there is a less chance your birds will kick out their nest material. Shredded burlap partially covering the entry hole is also helpful.

Bedding Materials / Pros and Cons

Wood shavings: A great choice if you have a box that will prevent the chickens from kicking it all out of the nest.
Straw: Many people use straw, it’s inexpensive and goes a long way. However, it does get hard and brittle which can cause irritation to the hen’s vent area.  It also can get moldy, so it’s very important to keep in turned.
Grass hay: This is my choice of bedding. I like it because it’s soft and stays soft for at least a month and my birds don’t kick it out of the nest.
Sand: Clean, and makes for an easy clean-up using a kitty litter box scoop. But I think sand would be rather difficult to replace… not to mention it’s heavy.
Shredded paper: Becoming very popular in today’s world of massive household paper shredding. Some people mix it in with shavings, others use it alone.  It can go in the compost pile, and what’s really nice is there’s is an endless supply, especially if you or your friends subscribe to a newspaper.

Solutions for Broken Eggs in the Next Box

Lining the bottom of next boxes with a cushioning material under the nest bedding can be very helpful if you are finding broken eggs. Here are a few ideas that are often used as nesting box liners.

  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Rubber shelf liner
  • Carpet, upside down
  • Artificial turf, upside down
  • Rubbermaid kitchen sink mats
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Buying Smart is the Ideal Chicken Coop

Build it Right the First Time

As a chicken keeper myself, I can’t stress enough the importance of having adequate housing for your birds. Saving money by building too small will inevitably prove a bad investment when you become overwhelmed by the difficult chore of keeping it clean.  Cramped housing also presents problems among the social ranking of the pecking order, thus causing injuries and poor egg production as a result.

A chicken coop is a place you will be spending time in too. Tending to chickens must be done whether its raining, snowing, freezing, or smoldering hot. It only makes sense to build a convenient and spacious coop that you will enjoy, after all, nothing is fun when it becomes a dreadful chore.

Remember, you can build small, but when it’s all said and done the first egg usually ends up costing $750. If that sounds like a lot of money, be warned, it could double after two seasons, when you feel the need to upgrade your coop.  Buy smart and build it right the first time!

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