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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:18 am 
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Golden Robin
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This is a very "how-to" written and presented by Fizzle (Stacey)

Mother Hen Box

This is my Mother hen box. My variation on what I believe is called a cold brooder.
I used a firm cardboard box which had a lid that fitted over the bottom. I cut an old towel into rectangles approx. 6 inches wide & the height of the box. I then tore/cut strips 1 inch wide to within an inch of the top of the strip. I then rolled these & poked them through small holes , approximately 1cm square, I'd cut in the lid of the box.
I cut a doorway into one end of the box.
I also used 2 pieces of Bamboo garden stake which was put through holes I cut in both the lid & base to get the lid at the right height. This then becomes adjustable with more holes added where necessary as the chicks grow. The box came with retro fitted airholes. If there are no airholes I'd be inclined to put them in on the sides and back.

My chicks spent their first night in their Mother hen box, which was in the enclosed end of a small A frame coop, on the grass -without a heat lamp, at 10 days old.
The temp outside was between 12 & 14 degrees celcius.
The second night, cooler, I 'chickened' out & picked the whole box up, chicks & all & carried them back to the brooder with heat lamp. When I stuck my hand in the box to get them out they were as warm as toast & I was kicking myself that I'd interfered. Still - better safe than sorry.
After that The heat lamp was packed away & the Mother hen box was their bed.
I did , at one stage put my digital thermometer in the coop with the outdoor probe stuck down inside the box. One inch from the top on the inside.
The outside temp was around 14-15 degrees celcius & the temp inside the box with chickens was 30 degrees celcius.
I have since learnt that I should have provided a hanging mother hen type contraption (ie mop head hanging down or similar) within the brooder from day one so that the chickens retain their natural instinct to 'go under Mum for warmth & comfort'.

Hope it helps someone
Picture 1... showing strips
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Picture 2.. showing the two boxes
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Picture 3.. showing the two boxes on top of each other
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Picture 4.. showing the chicks inside the brooder box
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All text and photos by Fizzle






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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 12:03 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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What a ripper!

I suppose they venture out to feed?

Have you posted this before Frizzle? I seem to remember it.....

Raf

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 12:07 am 
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Golden Swan
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Hi rwood,

fizzle posted this just before the crash and it got lost, so we asked her if she'd mind reposting as it was such great info!

NellyG

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:58 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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Cool , I thought so.

Then I have a few question:

How did it go raisig chicks,

How big could it be, ie could a bigger box be used for say 20 chicks,or is it more 'Single Hen" specific, say 10 chicks?

Such a great idea, my 60yo father in law talked about this from his childhood but I couldnt picture it, nor imagine it working without a heat source.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:26 am 
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Golden Robin
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Raf
Cold brooders have ben around for eons. Its how the romans raised chickens.

It can be as big as you like and it will work. But remember it works by trapping the body heat from the chickens, so, if you have a bigger pone then you DO need a correspondingly larger number of chickens to fill it.

I also think that it would be unwise to leave it somewhere that is exposed to -8 C temperatures that happen overnight. I think it relies on relatively normal ambient temoeratures.

Mike

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:31 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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Ok , so not something I should try over winter then.

Spring it is.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 9:02 pm 
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Discerning Duck
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possibly even summer if you are in Canberra. Autumn in Melb and last night it was 9 degrees overnight!


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 10:41 pm 
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Golden Swan
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Cold brooders (I think the straw bale type ones) have been used in much colder climates than ours. If you want to try one out to see how it holds temperature, I'd suggest using a small animal that you know tolerates the cold (for example a rabbit of body weight similar to the clutch of chicks you would be using) and measure the temp using a max/min type thermometer over a cold night. With enough insulation you should be able to keep a reasonable sized clutch of chicks warm anywhere in Australia.

NellyG

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 8:20 am 
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Bleedin' brilliant .... >> heads off to grab veg box & onkaparinga ...>>


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 Post subject: My cold brooder
PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:25 pm 
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Prime Pekin
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Always seem to have more bin lids than bins. So 1 bin lid,4 bits of wood, a bit of polystyrene , any old bagging or toweling , sundry screws,washers and glue. End result
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:45 pm 
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May I see under the skirt please :oops: to see what is supporting the "roof" of the brooder, please Blackdotte.

I had been wondering since you mentioned this above and thinking about using my spare bin lids for some portable shelters in the chookyard - even just over the feed and water dishes. D


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 Post subject: Roof support
PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 4:42 pm 
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Prime Pekin
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The roof/lid is supported by 4 pieces of 50 ml X 50 ml timber,each screwed into the rim of the bin lid. A hole is drilled in each opposing pairs of legs and a wire fixed across to provide some tension, to stop the legs splaying.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 4:55 pm 
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Thank you :D


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 Post subject: Cold Brooder
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 2:30 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Hi there

Just letting you know that I found these cold brooder instructions a couple of weeks ago which convinced me that we could purchase young chickens even though we are on a small solar setup (at the moment) which certainly wouldnt have supported an infra-red heat lamp 24 x 7 for 4 weeks.

Our new arrivals, 3 little 7 day old australorps settled into the brooder box really quickly, grant you, they do stay inside the house overnight.

They are now 13 days old but happy to keep you informed on how they go


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 2:46 pm 
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Golden Robin
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Location: Tuross Head, NSW fsr south east coast
Please do
I am also moving in spring and we will be totally on solar so I am interested in two things. How the brooder goes and secondly details about your solar setup.

We have good storage capacity but we are waaayyyy under with our harvest even with a wind turbine as well. We only have three 80w panels and its not nearly enough harvest.

Mike

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