our chicks nearly bit the dust during a brooder
fire caused by the heat
lamp, I started pondering whether there is a better way to keep
warm during the first month of their life. Heat lamps are widely
used but are extremely archaic — they are clearly unsafe and energy
inefficient. Is there an alternative?
The haybox brooder works on the same concept as the haybox cooker — a
well-insulated container prevents the contents from losing heat to the
study in Ethiopia showed that chicks in a haybox
brooder grew more slowly than those in an electric brooder for the
first month of their life, but then caught up to mature at the same
Survival rates were the same for chicks in electric brooders and
for those in hayboxes in the city (although rural haybox chicks died
often, for various reasons largely unrelated to the haybox.)
The diagram above shows how to build a haybox brooder with a run
attached for easy feeding and watering. The scientists had good
luck brooding 10 to 70 chicks in hayboxes ranging in size from 12 X 10
X 10 inches for 10 chicks to 10 X 27 X 27 inches for 70 chicks.
Before you run out and turn off your heat lamp, be aware that this
study was conducted in a tropical climate. Perhaps chicks could
be raised in a haybox around here during the summer months, or inside a
heated home? I’ll keep researching and experimenting and will
a DIY solution to other chicken problems? Check out our homemade chicken
waterer that solves the poopy water problem.