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!
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…
Interior with new brooder
Still lots to do, but I don’t think a month to completion is unrealistic. 🙂