Chicks are cute and fluffy
for the first day or two, but they wear out their welcome inside pretty
fast. They also outgrow their brooder and start trying to fly out
in search of pasture by week three…which is problematic when their
brooder is in the living room. So this year, I’ve decided to
experiment with outdoor brooders.
The idea is to give the
chicks somewhere predator-proof, dry, and not too cold so they won’t
get sick before they are fully feathered. But, at the same time,
to give the youngsters access to pasture as soon as weather permits —
hopefully by the time they’re one week old.
A search of the internet
doesn’t turn up very many outdoor brooders, especially if you want to
go beyond the rabbit hutch option (which doesn’t let your chicks on
pasture). I snagged the images in this post from various websites
— click on each to find the source and read more about the design.
It sounds like the design
requirements for an outdoor brooder include:
- 0.5 square feet of room per
bird (assuming they move from the brooder to a coop by the time they’re
a month old).
- Raised off the ground (so they won’t get damp during torrential
rains. This is why a plain old chicken tractor won’t work.)
- A window to give them sunlight (not essential, but highly
recommended) and a source of ventilation that doesn’t produce a draft
at chick level.
- Located close to the house to keep predators at bay.
I’ll post about the
design we came up with soon — stay tuned!
healthy from day 1.