February 23, 2012


Ingenuity- word of the day.

Our 200 cockerel chicks quickly outgrew the makeshift trough brooders in the garage but it was still a bit too cold and windy to move them back out to the barn brooding stall.  After all the work getting through that first cold week, we really didn't want to lose any more chicks because we weren't diligent in protecting them from the cold.

We couldn't turn them loose in the barn stall yet because it was still too cold and windy.  The brooder lights alone weren't enough to keep the chicks warm.  We need to insulate them from drafts.  I had previously put up styrofoam insulation panels as draft guards and to provide some heat retention. Great idea until the chicks decided it would be fun to peck at them until they got to the styrofoam, pulled off pieces and then chased each other trying to grab the styrofoam out of each other's beaks.  We considered putting in the wood brooder dividers we used last year but the chicks started jumping pretty high and we were afraid they'd jump out, get cold and be unable to get back into the brooder and the lights.

I was at a loss for what to do but it was clear they couldn't stay in the garage any longer. We already caught a few testing their ability to jump out of the troughs.

I got to the farm on Tuesday and started hunting around for Greg.  I found him in the brooder stall.  That man is brilliant.  I'll admit I let out a big laugh when I saw his solution, but honestly, it's ingenious!

The back wall is cement with a styrofoam panel, then a piece of aluminum siding nailed to it to keep the chicks from pecking at the insultion.  The other three walls are old doors from a job site that were going to be thrown out.  The roof area is made from the original insulation walls.  I don't know about you, but I LOVE the window door in front!  As soon as we walk up, we can see how the chicks are doing.  Once it warms up enough and the chicks are another week older, we'll take the doors down and they'll have full run of the stall.

It made me laugh but it really is pretty awesome brooder. And it's just redneck enough.

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