Making a chick brooder

Today I finally made a chick brooder for our little ones. They kept escaping the plastic tub in the kitchen, plus we wanted them outside with the rest of the flock. We also needed the room in the kitchen, since we have almost 30 more on the way. Our first brooder, the one in the kitchen, is a simple plastic tub with a warming light hovering over it on a gooseneck light with a clamp. This setup worked well for the first while, until they could get up on the side and jump out. This was quite amusing for the dogs. We lined the bottom with paper towel, put in the water and food containers, and they were all set. This worked for about 2 weeks with the 14 chicks that we hatched.

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Our indoor brooder for after the chicks hatch.

Outdoor Brooder or Warming Box

Then we decided that we needed a brooder box that could go outside, keep the chicks safe and warm, but be easy to deal with. After searching on the web for various designs, we decided on a warming box. The plans were for a box that was 4 feet by 4 feet and would cover about 150 to 250 chicks. Since we don’t intend to have that many chicks, so I scaled it down to 2 feet by 2 feet. I also changed it from 2 heat lamps to just 1. I had lots of spare lumber and other parts around, so I didn’t have to buy anything except the octagonal power box. Since I have had a few cord mishaps, I even has some 3-pronged electrical cord that I could use. If you were to build this and had to buy lumber, it would be cheap. One 4×8 sheet of plywood and one 2″x2″x8′ would be enough to build the full-sized one or 4 of the ones I made (you would need 4 of the 2″x2″x8′s though).

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Our new brooder box for when the chicks go outside.

The box that I made is 2 feet square, with 1 foot tall sides. The legs keep it 4″ above the ground, and go all the way to the top to support the top. The top is 1 inch lower, because it states you can put shavings or other insulating material on top. This gives a warm surface for this chicks or other birds to warm themselves.

The setup is rather nice, and they have all figured out how to go under the brooder. At first, they hung out right next to the brooder in a corner, but they eventually went underneath. This will keep them safe from the roosters and chickens until they are fully integrated into the flock.

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Farm First Aid Kits

A first-aid kit around the farm is important, but so is having one for your animals. There are lots of pre-made kits for people, but one for the farm is best if it is made to order for your particular needs. Since I have chickens, ducks and sheep at the moment, I will look at what I might need to have around, and what my first aid kit will look like. I have some, but not all of what is on the list. Some are being put together as you read this, as we had a sick duck last night and I didn’t have all the items I may have needed. Continue reading

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Quick post: How to accidentally dye a duck’s tail green.

My wife has made her own duck diapers after being unimpressed with what is out there and not wanting to wait for postal delivery (last time it took almost 3 weeks).  Continue reading

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Farm Safety and visiting our farm

On a farm we watch bio-security, health, and safety of both our animals and our visitors. Our “Farm Safety rules” are pretty straight forward and pretty lax. We prefer to have one of us with you when you wander around (our kids love to show other kids around). Those that are new to the farm get to know what the animals are, information about the different breeds and we can answer your questions. Continue reading

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Roku: Your ticket to free TV

When we were looking to lower our costs, we gave up our TV. However, we still wanted the entertainment value that it brings. We looked at various options, including the Roku, AppleTV, and others. Paying Bell for channels was not something we wanted to keep going, so we went elsewhere.

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Feeding your compost bin

Compost have needs too. You feed your family healthy food, you make sure your pets and animals have proper nutrition in their feed, and you give your garden compost. But is your compost being fed good food as well? If you look at the various sources about compost, you will see a plethora of information about the proper amounts of ingredients to put into your compost pile or compost tea. Continue reading

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Muscovy ducks: Pros and Cons

Now that we have had our Muscovy ducks for a while, I can attest that these birds have their good points and bad points. While we love our ducks, we prefer them outside.

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Cold weather and lambing mortality

Cold weather brings its own issues. We have had a bad winter for lambing this year. We have learned a lot and hope that we can prevent mortality in the future.  Continue reading

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A video of a Lamb being born.

20140106 165758 150x150 A video of a Lamb being born.

The mother and her two lambs.

We have had some lambs born on our farm, unfortunately some have died. I went to check on the pregnant ewe in the lambing jug I built and saw she had one baby that was just born. Lucky timing, so I grabbed my phone and started to make a video. Continue reading

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Compost Tea: How to make your own

tea and compost l 150x150 Compost Tea: How to make your own

Compost tea?

A lot of gardeners love compost tea. Some of the award-winning gardeners that grow exceptionally large produce have secret compost tea recipes that they guard with their lives. I have looked for a consensus on the “proper” way to make compost tea for my Square Foot Garden. Continue reading

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