The other day when I had plenty of other things that I was supposed to be doing, I decided to build another chick brooder. I’d been thinking about it for a while and guessed that I could build it from scrap wood and other bits of stuff I had leftover from other projects. A few years ago I built a 4’ x 4’ Ohio brooder like the one described here. It will brood (keep warm) up to 250 chicks. I brooded a batch of 75 and then a batch of 100 chicks in it. And all went fine. The main feature of this type of brooder compared to the usual heat lamps is that this type uses about ½ the electricity and is able to use regular house hold incandescent light bulbs instead of the 125 or 250 watt heat lamps.
I made this new brooder about 24 inches by 26 inches. I wanted one about ¼ the size of the original one and found a piece of ½ inch plywood 24 x 26 so went with it. I should be able to brood up 50 to 60 chicks. The sides are 1 foot wide pieces of wood and the legs are 16 inches high. I removed the wiring from my old 4 x 4 foot brooder and put it into this new one, figuring I wouldn’t be using them at the same time anyway. The cords were from old computer monitors. I had partially lined the first brooder with bubble foil insulation which I removed for this new brooder. I didn’t have enough to cover the whole inside, but remembered I did have some bubble wrap. I just took aluminum foil and covered the bubble wrap to make homemade bubble foil insulation and even found some foil tape to tape it on. This was an easier improvement over my original method of gluing the insulation on. On my fist brooder the cover sits down in the frame about an inch. On this one the cover rests on top. I actually like and recommend the first way better and wished I had done this on like that. I think it has less air gaps in the top that way.
For amusement I tested it out in a room that was 57 degrees F. With two 60 watt bulbs it was 91 degrees inside. With a 100 watt and a 60 watt bulb it was 101 degrees inside. I’m guessing that having chicks in it might raise the temperature a bit also. The reason I built it with two lamps it to have some backup if one burns out.
It was fun to make. I made it with things I already had around and now I have an excuse to get some chicks.
Note: Unlike what I did, make the legs 1 inch down from the top and make the frame the correct size for the plywood top to rest inside the frame on the legs.
brooder with cover off showing bubble foil insulation