A brooder is a small pen designed to protect, warm, feed and water your newly born chicks until they are strong enough to survive on their own. Basically, a brooder takes the place of a broody hen who under normal circumstances would be responsible for taking care of her clutch.
There are three primary types of brooders:
- Home brooder
- Box brooder
- Area brooder
Regardless of how you brood your chicks, there are some general guidelines to follow:
- Always ensure chicks have access to clean, fresh water
- Always ensure litter or liners are dry
- Follow the instructions if you have purchased a brooder
- In general, begin your with your temperature at 90-95° F for week 1 and reduce by 5° each week
- Watch chicks to ensure they are not too hot (panting)
- Watch chicks to ensure they are not too cold (huddling together)
- Always work to eliminate drafts
- Keep it in a protected area where dust from chickens won’t be a problem (e.g., garage)
- After the second week, you can begin introducing your chicks to the outdoors
- Keep your chicks away from pets (especially cats!) and unsupervised children
- Move your chicks into their coop after 4 to 6 weeks
Here are a few items you may want to consider purchasing if you plan to brood chicks into chickens:
All brooders must designed to keep your chicks nice and warm.
For most brooders, you will need to add a chick feeder and waterer.