Make a Chicken Brooder Out of Cardboard Boxes
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Growing space for growing chicks
If you decide to start your flock early in the year and you’re in a cold winter climate like mine, you may have them indoors for long enough that they will outgrow the maximum height of the heat lamp. There’s an easy fix to this – one I call the chicken condo. This is where the third box comes into play.
Remove the two 18-inch flaps from the top of the box, and one from the bottom. Slide this third box on top of the end of the brooder where the heat lamp was so that it looks like a big “L.” To hold the third box in place when you put it on top, tuck the 18-inch flap inside and the two 24-inchers on the outside. Cut off or tape down the 24-inch flaps from the original brooder (the third box will not require fasteners). The bracket to hold the light can now sit atop the third box, providing plenty of head room below to the growing birds. You can even put a couple of holes on the outsides of the box and slide a dowel through to give them a low roosting bar. You’d be surprised how early they figure out how to roost.
After your chicks have feathered out and are ready to go outdoors to their new coop, you’ll now have to figure out what to do with your brooder. It’s not something that you’ll want to keep; in fact, that’s half the beauty of it, you don’t have to. Since it’s cardboard, you can either compost it or, better yet, rip it into lengths and lay it under a new garden bed. It will help keep weeds down, break down into the soil on its own and all that chicken manure that’s been in it will help a future garden grow.
GRIT Blogger Paul Gardener maintains a large garden and his feathered friends on a quarter-acre lot in suburban Utah.
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