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 Post subject: Brooder box
PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:05 pm 
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Showy Hen
Showy Hen

Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2016 8:06 pm
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Location: One Tree Hill, South Australia
In anticipation of my first eggs hatching in under 2 weeks, I need to think about building a brooder. I'd like space for up to 24 chicks.
From what I gather, temperature is no where near as important as during incubation and that placing a heat source at one end is desirable as the chicks will regulate their own temperature by moving nearer or further away from the heat?
I was thinking of using another heating element and an LED light on a day/night timer rather than an IR bulb which may blow and let the chicks die in the process.
Any thoughts?

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 Post subject: Re: Brooder box
PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:32 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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Location: ACT area
Sounds good but probably overkill. A hanging heat source (incandescent globe or heat lamp under a reflector) which can be raised as the chicks grow and need less heat is adequate. A blue or black reptile globe will allow the chicks to sleep during the night. LED lights are very bright on tiny eyes although some extra lighting during the day is good if there is not adequate daylight.
Perhaps an alarm on your heat source if you are worried about it failing although if chicks are cold they will yell.


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 Post subject: Re: Brooder box
PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:15 pm 
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Showy Hen
Showy Hen

Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2016 8:06 pm
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Location: One Tree Hill, South Australia
Ah I see. Something like this possibly?
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/131894904054
With this: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/311673295445

Thinking of knocking up a melamine chipboard box with a half closed top with the light under and the other half with wire over the top.

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 Post subject: Re: Brooder box
PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:35 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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Location: ACT area
Yep
I use refrigerator cabinets. Laid on their back and on castors. Big insulated box which can be wheeled outside and hosed out. As above for 1/2 & 1/2 top.
There's always someone with a dead one or the 2nd hand appliance places also often have them

Have a look here. Page 6
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=8034902&hilit=hippy+engineer&start=75


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 Post subject: Re: Brooder box
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:33 am 
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Great Game
Great Game

Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 12:20 pm
Posts: 1270
Location: Thirlmere nsw
I use at the moment those plastic storage tubs that are rectangular with the little wheels on the bottom for when they are first hatched . At around 3 weeks old i then move to a fiberglass bath tub, also easy to clean, but not as good as insulating as a fridge, was bought for our house but was cracked / chiped at the top. After 6 weeks i then move to outside converted bird avairy to grow out..


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 Post subject: Re: Brooder box
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:56 am 
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Showy Hen
Showy Hen

Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2016 8:06 pm
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Location: One Tree Hill, South Australia
Very nice!
What power bulb would you suggest? They come 50w-250w

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 Post subject: Re: Brooder box
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:01 pm 
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Great Game
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Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 12:53 pm
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Location: West of Bendigo
I also use a fridge on its back, door removed. In cropping country you can't eradicate, so mice/rats are the risk in the shed. Lost a full hatching one bad day before I was aware. Also magpies hear chicks, and will enter a shed through holes that would defeat a fox!

Solution is a top-frame of mouse and snake-proof wire netting with a brick or two on it, good protection and ventilation, a hole in it for the heat-lamp cord.

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 Post subject: Re: Brooder box
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:04 pm 
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Location: Gold Coast Hinterland
sue55 wrote:
LED lights are very bright on tiny eyes although some extra lighting during the day is good if there is not adequate daylight.

Very bright lights to simulate outdoors may actually be a good thing, and may prevent you getting myopic chickens.
Check out this Catalyst story from a few weeks ago. The testing on poor little chics found if the light levels were too low they became myopic (short sighted). Go to 09m50s for the relevant part of the story: http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/cataly ... 00#playing


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 Post subject: Re: Brooder box
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:51 pm 
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Showy Hen
Showy Hen

Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2016 8:06 pm
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Location: One Tree Hill, South Australia
I ended up ordering a 10" reflector and a 150w ceramic bulb. Will hunt down a plastic tub from burnings maybe and then cover it in wire :-)

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 Post subject: Re: Brooder box
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:30 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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Set it up and check the temp around the perimeter of the heat circle. It should be around the 36' mark to start. If the chicks huddle in the middle and squeak constantly they are cold. If they avoid the heated area it is too hot. Ideally they will spend their resting time around the perimeter of the heated area ad eat and play in the cooler space.
I find that 60 watt globe is sufficient but my house is warm (solar passive) and the insulated brooder (fridge) with initially mostly 'roof' retains the heat.
Get the biggest box you can find or you will soon be designing extensions.


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 Post subject: Re: Brooder box
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:53 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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Location: ACT area
Matt Smith wrote:
sue55 wrote:
LED lights are very bright on tiny eyes although some extra lighting during the day is good if there is not adequate daylight.

Very bright lights to simulate outdoors may actually be a good thing, and may prevent you getting myopic chickens.
Check out this Catalyst story from a few weeks ago. The testing on poor little chics found if the light levels were too low they became myopic (short sighted). Go to 09m50s for the relevant part of the story: http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/cataly ... 00#playing



Good lighting yes but too bright is also damaging. Use caution and provide illumination which is not directed into their eyes. Remember that chicks eyes are unprotected by feathers and well exposed on their heads. Keep in mind that chickens are basically a forest species and evolved to spend much of their time in filtered light. They prefer to spend the brightest part of the of the day, when the sun is overhead, under shelter.
Myopia may well be an evolutionary advantage for foraging. Poultry have also evolved with specific left and right vision . Left eye (right brain) for targeting and food selecting, and right eye (left brain) for longer vision (predator spotting and food location) The Catalyst program didn't appear to address this.


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 Post subject: Re: Brooder box
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:10 pm 
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Location: Gold Coast Hinterland
Yeah the program wasn't about chickens, so no specifics there.
Good points you bring up about chickens being a forest species, plus right v left brain.
I've noticed with my chooks - when I walk out the door to go down and feed them in the morning they get all excited and congregate around the feeding point, and at that point I'm about 35m+ away, so they've got better long range vision than I thought they would.

I wonder what the ideal lower and upper light limits are for young chics?
If I ever find out I'll do some measurements as I have access to a light meter :)
I'm thinking of adding 1 LED light bar to my brooder as it's in the lounge room at the moment, and I think the light output would be less than a 100W incandescent globe.
My only concern with using LED light is that the wavelength of light is very narrow, so I'm not sure how much of an issue that might be on them :think:


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