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Peep Show

May 7, 2014

As promised – pictures of cute chicks.

second favorite pastime after napping - eating.

second favorite pastime after napping – eating.

Every one seems settled in for now.  It was chilly this morning when the call came from the post office.  Now the chicks are basking in the warmth of their new home.

My friend

My friend – Mr. Braverman

This little character comes over to sit at my feet every time I go in the brooder to check on everybody.  Three times before noon, I think he likes me…although pretty soon I doubt I’ll be able to tell him from any of the others.

Mr. Braverman

Mr. Braverman

“Bust me out of this joint would ya?”  It’s kinda fowl in here!

Miss Priss

Miss Priss

The pullets are, well, pullets, skittish and quick and not interested in sitting a spell.

Cat's eye view

Cat’s eye view

So here is the cat (or other predator) proofing, that seems to work.  Knock on wood.  Concrete footings, chicken wire attached to the sill board up to the hip board.  This is a 20′ x 20′ greenhouse, bows on 5′ centers, with the front 5′ being walled off with chicken wire for our personnel area and feed storage.  The chickens have full access to the remaining 15′ x 20′ area.  I remember doing the concrete and the inside was a breeze, but we had to work around the bows and sill board on the sides due to the construction method of the greenhouse.  Bows set in concrete, sill boards attached, concrete poured underneath to fill in any gaps between soil and bottom of the sill board.

Chick's eye view

Chick’s eye view

I can’t say this is totally predator proof, I am sure a marauding bear could blow right through this, or even a hungry cougar or bobcat could jump on the roof and rip the plastic to shreds.  But, those scenarios are not likely, and at a certain point nothing in life is guaranteed.  A combination of siting, roaming Australian Shepherds, and human activity helps keep the chickens safe.

What we like about greenhouse brooding:
1)  Bright natural light lessens the need for artificial light and heat during the brooding period.
2) Comfortable surroundings for the humans because it is naturally lighted.
3)  Dirt floor allows for some insect activity in the deep bedding.  Think feed you don’t have to provide…
4)  Inexpensive – especially if you’ve built a large greenhouse.  Plastic scraps and small lumber pieces are put to use.
5)  The chicks do well and have lots of space from the get-go.

What we don’t like:
1)  The dust – chickens like to scratch and dust bathe, which means your pretty greenhouse gets dusty and dingy looking.
2)  Ventilating for plants is easier than for animals.  Vents and doors for opening up and cleaning these buildings makes them less than solid.  Winter winds hit them hard.

Even with a few dislikes, I still am happy with these brooder greenhouses.  So far the chicks seem to be too.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. Chris permalink
    May 7, 2014 11:52 am

    Could be that Mr. or Ms. Braverton has imprinted on you as chief chick and bottle washer?? Too cute and I would say you’ve made it pretty tough for any smaller sized predators to get into Ft. Chicken Knox! 🙂

  2. Barb in CA permalink
    May 7, 2014 12:11 pm

    Thank you for the details and pictures of your security measures. Really helps me understand what’s worked for you. These are both your meat birds and the new laying flock, right? So using Rule 52, that’s about 70 birds?

    • May 7, 2014 1:27 pm

      Barb, you’re welcome. Yep you’re right, 50 meat birds, and went ahead and got 25 pullets since we are using more eggs with another dog in the family…

  3. Ben Hewitt permalink
    May 7, 2014 12:40 pm

    We brood in a gh, too… my only complaint is that you’ve gotta be real careful not to fry the chicks on sunny days. We have roll up sides… but you have to remember to roll them up!

    • May 7, 2014 1:23 pm

      Ben, yeah I just went and turned off the lights…and opened the doors. We never did put roll up sides on the brooder(s) just doors, if I open up both front doors it’s enough air circulation. I think we just don’t have the extremes you guys do, wet, and wetter and then dry is about all we get.

  4. May 7, 2014 12:56 pm

    mmmmmm…chick dust. Love the smell of it burning when you turn on a lamp that been off for a while.

    • May 7, 2014 1:19 pm

      I know exactly what you mean…we can tell when the first chicks are at the feedstore too the minute we open the door.

  5. Elizabeth permalink
    May 7, 2014 2:48 pm

    What breed of layers works best for your family?

    • May 7, 2014 4:57 pm

      Elizabeth, gosh, we’ve done them all, but I’m kinda partial of late to the Black Stars – remind me of my pretty Australorps and they lay better. I got the Gold Comets last year and realized I am kind of a brunette kind of person myself 😉

      Higgeldy Piggledy my black hen,
      She lays eggs for the gentlemen,
      Sometimes nine, sometimes ten.
      Higgeldy, Piggledy my black hen.

      • Elizabeth permalink
        May 7, 2014 8:01 pm

        Yup, I like the black hens too. This’ll be my first year with Australorps but they will have to lay pretty amazingly to out-lay (is that a word?) my sweet Black sex linked. Also we’ll be receiving our batch of Cornish crosses later than usual this year (second week of June instead of last week of April). I’m hoping that if we brood them in June when it’s not so cold here they might be able to go to the coop after three weeks under lights instead of the 4-6 weeks in the garage under lights. We’ll see.
        Spring is so fun!

      • May 8, 2014 6:52 am

        Love your writing and your knowledge! I know your Mom would be proud…

  6. Chris permalink
    May 7, 2014 4:05 pm

    Well, I guess there are worse things than being a mother hen! 🙂 I hope she continues to follow you around…will be fun to see!

  7. May 8, 2014 1:44 am

    We’ve always seen the bobcats in broad daylight. They sit and watch us, about 30′ from the house.

    Here in Western Mass we’ve had en enormous upswing in weasels. They can go right thro chicken wire (as can rats), and tend to massacre flocks. Raccoons tend to reach thro chicken wire and tear off limbs, etc. So we strongly urge the use of 1/2″ hardware cloth around here. More expensive, but better than a blood bath.

    We built an entire enclosure of 1/2″ chicken wire that the brooder sits inside. We weren’t chancing the weasels, or the neighbor’s rat population. (So far, no rats here due to resident cat in barn.)

    • May 8, 2014 5:00 am

      I hear you Pam on that, I think the bobcats eat the most of our cats. New litter found in the barn, and two older ones missing, spring has sprung.

      That’s odd about the weasels, that stuff here cycles, chipmunks, coons, and weasels are low right now. I am sure my turn is coming.

  8. May 8, 2014 4:11 am

    The husband and I plan to build one at moms, green house in spring, then brooder house for any pullets or meat birds we do next year…Should be an experience!

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