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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 2:00 pm 
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Hatchling
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Afternoon all.

Given the season is getting started, looking at building another brooder box, so interested in ideas on things to change from my current design. I copied the design principle from somewhere on the net when I built it a few years back.

It is 1200mm long, 600mm deep and 400mm high.

I'll put up some pics below, but interested in thoughts on perhaps a front opening brooder, rather than top opening ? May retain heat better in the cooler months ? Or any other designs capable of being built at home. I would prefer to stick with form ply as it is so easy to clean and won't get moldy like unfinished ply.

Some things I would like to change from current set up is:

- add fly screen over the mesh,or even replace the wire mesh with a "crimsafe" type screen ? As it warms up in qld flys become a problem. And the mesh just looks untidy with screws holding it in.

- the heat lamp needs a cover, or the brooder needs to be taller, my larger breeds hit their head on it before they are old enough to go out, burning their heads :). A better thermometer is needed as the one I have has a wire that is under the shavings. And would like to install a thermostat to reduce power consumption.

- the door needs a gas strut to keep it open.

- a divider is needed for younger birds being added. A week apart the larger birds can trample day olds.

Any advice appreciated.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 7:03 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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Hi askapin and welcome to BYP. What type of poultry do you have?
Below are some links to other threads on home made brooders.

Yours looks pretty good for a mark 1.
I would stick with a top opening - much easier for access. The Crimsafe sounds like a good idea. Fit it to the inside rather than the outside or put a frame around the edge of the wire for asthetics.
Heat loss from the top is easily controlled with some hinged lids (I use glass or perspex) as they can be propped open for ventilation.
I would make the next unit higher and put a reflective light shade (one of the white metal flat cones) to deflect heat down. This can then be set higher than a bare globe and reduces the risk of burning chicks.
A thermometer is not really necessary in a brooder - the behaviour of the chicks is the best indicator of their comfort.
Huddled under the heat and cheeping - too cold
As far away from the heat as possible - too hot
Sleeping around the perimeter of the heat pool - just right
Wire in a dimmer switch to the heat source to reduce the heat over time and plug it into a timer switch to control increasing periods of no heat during the day.

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=8034902&p=804945&hilit=refrigerator+brooder#p804945

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=7955107


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 7:11 pm 
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Fiesty Fowl
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Maybe economise on the gas strut with a length of cord and a hook. And spend the savings on the best 'mother hen' type of heater. This solves the problem of needing extra height, and avoids heat from the lamp burning chicks.

Your set-up looks well made: I use a fridge on it's back, with a top frame of mesh like yours, but not fixed, light enough to lift off. That depends on the secure shed being fox and cat proof so that a locking lid is not needed.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:47 pm 
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Junior Champion Bird
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I've made a top opening brooder and a front opening brooder that has top access also. They both have their pros and cons. I think I prefer the front opening style for the most part, but that has more to do with me personally, I'm short so reaching into top opening ones is difficult.

The next one I'm going to make will look roughly like this (I just did a 2 second mock-up as I've lost the photo examples other people have done). I think it'll be a good middle ground between top and front opening brooders.

Attachment:
brooder shape idea.jpg
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I totally second PossumCorner's suggestion of an electric brooder 'mother hen' style of warming, rather than globes. They are much more energy efficient and you don't need to worry about burns or fires or anything like that. Titan make an affordable one, Brinsea make another, and there are a few other brands around that all do the same thing.

Pneumatic/gas struts are cheap and not a bad idea. I've got a bunch I never got around to putting in my kitchen that I was going to use for the same thing, however I decided I prefer a fully opening door (90° or more), and the struts limited opening too much.

A divider for new chicks isn't a bad idea, as long as they have a heat supply in their section too. I personally just have a smaller brooder I put the hatchlings in to find their feet, then integrate after (if I'm going staggered hatches). That way works best for me as I find it easier to keep an eye on them, but a dividing screen could be good, it would allow the older chicks to see the new ones (and vice versa), without trampling hazards. I think you'd want it fully removable though, so you weren't restricting the brooder area.

What you've made looks great, certainly better than some I've thrown together last minute, lol. I'm looking forward to see version 2.0. :)


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 11:04 pm 
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Proud Rooster
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Whether to use an "electric hen" or ceramic heater is a subjective choice based on personal preferences and brooder housing design. They are both variations on a theme using resistance heating and a shield/reflector to re-radiate heat and trap warmed air. Each converts electricity to heat with exactly the same efficiency. A 40-watt ceramic heater produces the same amount of heat as a 40-watt "electric hen".

If you want to save electricity use a thermostat as it will switch off the heat when it is not needed and going to waste and switch it on again as soon as it is needed. In spring when the nights are cool with warm days it may run the heater for only half the time. It will also keep a larger area within a comfortable temperature range than a constant temperature device would.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:22 am 
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Junior Champion Bird
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Lol of course a 40w electric hen is going to use the same power as a 40w globe, but a 25-65w electric hen is inherently more efficient than a 75-150w lamp (hazarding a guess that's what the OP's is by the label and shape).

But the OP's issue is less about energy efficiency and more the problem of height and potential burns, both of which an electric hen would effectively solve.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:33 am 
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Proud Rooster
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My observation was not that the devices use the same amount of power; that would be quite lol. My comment is that they both produce the same amount of heat.
Ceramic lamps are commonly available in a range of sizes drawing 25 watts and upwards. Comparing apples with apples a ceramic globe drawing 25 watts of electricity is inherently equally as efficient as an "electric hen" drawing 25 watts. They both use the same process to produce an identical amount of heat.
I find the manufacturer's claims of superior efficiency by comparison to a much larger device to be quite disingenuous.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:10 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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Neither the electric hen or the globe addresses the need for less heat as the chicks grow. The simplest way is to raise the heat source (which is energy inefficient). A thermostat is a better option, a dimmer switch with a suitable globe is probably a less expensive option.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:06 am 
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Proud Rooster
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sue55 wrote:
Neither the electric hen or the globe addresses the need for less heat as the chicks grow. The simplest way is to raise the heat source (which is energy inefficient). A thermostat is a better option, a dimmer switch with a suitable globe is probably a less expensive option.


In recent years simple thermostats have become available quite cheaply.
This one, for example, is a little over $10 and will control a load of up to 1500 watts: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/New-White-Di ... SwU-pXrMRG

They are simple and easy to set up and adjust as the chickens grow.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:27 pm 
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Hatchling
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Thanks Sue55, I have Silver laced Wyandottes and Silkies. More so concentrating on the Wyandottes this season though. I will have a look in to dimmers or the like.

PossumCorner. I just had a look at the mother hen type heaters. They do seem appealing, but not sure if they will suit larger numbers. The hens have started laying and I will be setting 36 eggs a week. The gas strut was more a luxury than necessity, the door does fold right back on itself..

Azira, thanks, that does seem a reasonable compromise the 45 degree front. However, it would mean more cutting timber, so a basic front or top opening box would be my preference. The Titan mother hens seem well priced, will have to investigate them further. Certainly will increase the cost of the build. Version 1 is all built for less than $150 (excluding labour). And I would likely need several of the mother hen devices which would negate the energy savings. The bulb i currently have in it is 75W.

hi Fuscipes, will certainly look in to the thermostat idea. As sue55 suggested, saving energy is not necessarily the goal, but would be nice considering its rising every year !


Thanks for all the comments :)


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:26 pm 
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Junior Champion Bird
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fuscipes wrote:
My observation was not that the devices use the same amount of power; that would be quite lol. My comment is that they both produce the same amount of heat.
Ceramic lamps are commonly available in a range of sizes drawing 25 watts and upwards. Comparing apples with apples a ceramic globe drawing 25 watts of electricity is inherently equally as efficient as an "electric hen" drawing 25 watts. They both use the same process to produce an identical amount of heat.
I find the manufacturer's claims of superior efficiency by comparison to a much larger device to be quite disingenuous.

I'm not sure the manufacturers claim superior efficiency, that was my claim based on the information the OP provided. I was guessing that he was using a 75-150w globe (which he has confirmed is 75w), so using that information, even the larger 65w electric hen brooders would be more efficient, hence my claim.

askapin wrote:
PossumCorner. I just had a look at the mother hen type heaters. They do seem appealing, but not sure if they will suit larger numbers. The hens have started laying and I will be setting 36 eggs a week. The gas strut was more a luxury than necessity, the door does fold right back on itself.

The larger electric hens can support up to 50 chicks. Of course as they grow things get more crowded, but they only need heat until they are feathered up, and more to the point, in a brooder your size you'd never want to raise more than that in it anyway.


askapin wrote:
Azira, thanks, that does seem a reasonable compromise the 45 degree front. However, it would mean more cutting timber, so a basic front or top opening box would be my preference. The Titan mother hens seem well priced, will have to investigate them further. Certainly will increase the cost of the build. Version 1 is all built for less than $150 (excluding labour). And I would likely need several of the mother hen devices which would negate the energy savings. The bulb i currently have in it is 75W.

Yeah there is definitely advantages to keeping the brooder a simple shape. If you're not a shortarse like me then you don't need to worry about not being able to reach into a top-opening brooder anyway, haha. :rooll I'd probably stick to that rather than front-opening, or if you do the latter allow for the option of top-opening too. Covers like Sue suggested to use overnight would help mitigate heat loss.

There is a simplicity in just using lamps, and as long as factoring in height and potential burn/fire hazards doesn't add too much to the build costs, then it's a perfectly good option to stick with. There are many ways to build and heat brooders, lamps, hens, mats, heated towel rails, and hell, I've made low- and no-power chick caves that work too. It really just comes down to what works best for your particular requirements.

askapin wrote:
hi Fuscipes, will certainly look in to the thermostat idea. As sue55 suggested, saving energy is not necessarily the goal, but would be nice considering its rising every year !

Thermostats are a good idea and as fuscipes said, they are quite affordable now. With a reliable one, over the course of the breeding season you can really save on energy costs.

Best of luck with your next build. :clnava


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