Before getting our chicks, we needed a brooder where they could live until they were mature enough to survive outside. Our brooder shown above is 8'x8' which could theoretically fit 120 chicks at 1/2 a square foot per bird. We filled it to about 10" deep with sawdust from a local sawmill. The sawdust will absorb the bird droppings and hold the birds off of the cold ground.
This is what 10 bucks will get here locally after filling the brooder 8'x8'x10"deep. What a great resource!
Here is the brooder with the metal sides on ready for birds. The feeder is my own design made from 3" pvc and a 2x4. The tall white cylinder is a hover made from some plastic wall covering I found laying around. The heat lamp shines directly into it and it will be much warmer (90-100 degrees F) than the rest of the brooder. It has a hole cut in the side so the chicks can go to where the temp suits them best. The waterer was bought at the co-op and I eventually hung it off the ground to keep it cleaner.
We got our first 50 Black Jersey Giants from Mount Healthy Hatchery and brought them home from the post office. The cookie sheet above is full of creek sand covered in feed to get grit into the bird right away as this is how they "chew" their food. As you can see, they mill around from the food and water to the hover to warm up. They stayed in the brooder about 4 weeks until they were feathered out enough to handle the cool early spring night temps. The next post will get into the mobile coop construction and moving the birds into it.