Introduction: Make-Shift Chick Brooder
I built this chick brooder to house my 1 week-old chicks. It is built with miscellaneous items I found in our garage and home. The top cover can be lifted and there is a door. Once it's built, I lined it with a plastic drop cloth to make it easy to clean before adding some bedding. It was large enough for 4 chicks, a heating plate, some make-shift feeders (2 cups attached to a wooden base), a home-made jungle gym, and still plenty of space. You can customize this to meet your needs.
1. 1/4" thick plywood for the base and back wall (the back wall could be also be hardware cloth).
2. 8' long, 3/4"x3/4" wooden pole to support the hardware cloth walls
3. 12 ft of 3/4" thick x 3 1/2" inch wide wooden boards to build the bottoms of the walls and door
4. Hardware cloth with 1/4" square holes for the walls, door, and top cover
5. For the door lock: 1" diameter wooden dowel, 1 stick (I used a food take-out chopstick), a rubber band, and a large binder clip large enough to clip onto the dowel
6. Push pins to attach the hardware cloth to the 4 corner posts
7. Grocery bag ties to tie the hardware cloth walls to the top cover
8. Four 3" nails for the carry handles and some small nails to put attach the wooden pieces.
9. A pair of hinges for the door
10. A pair of hardware cloth cutters
11. A hammer
12. Some glue
Step 1: Preparing Materials
Cut a piece of 1/4" thick plywood 24"x33" for the floor
Cut three 3/4" thick by 3 1/2" wide by 33" long boards for the base of the floor
Cut two 3/4" thick by 3 1/2" wide by 33" long boards for the bottom of the door
Cut 33" long x 14" tall 1/4" plywood for the back wall
Cut four 3/4" x 3/4" poles by 17" long
Cut 1" in diameter wooden dowel to 29 1/2" long
Cut two 22"x16" hardware cloth with 1/4" square holes for the side walls
Cut 33"x32" hardware cloth with 1/4" square holes for the top cover
Cut 12"x33" hardware cloth with 1/4" square holes for the door panel
Step 2: Attach the Vertical Corner Posts to the Base
Using small nails and a hammer, attach the 3/4"x3/4" wooden poles to the corners of the 24"x33" plywood
Step 3: Add the Base Boards to the Plywood Base
Glue each of the 4 base boards to the plywood base.
After the glue dries, nail the 4 corners of the base boards together.
Step 4: Add the Back Wall
Using small nails to attach the 33" long x 14" tall plywood to two 3/4"x3/4" wooden poles to form the back wall. You could use hardware cloth for this wall but I was short on hardware cloth and had extra plywood.
Step 5: Assemble the Door
Attach the last 3/4" inch x 3 1/2" thick x 33" long wooden board to the base wall opposite the back wall using hinges (as illustrated in the 1st picture).
Attach a hardware cloth to the wooden board using push pins (use a hammer to insert the push pins).
Attach the 1" wooden dowel that's 29 1/2" long to the top of the hardware cloth using push pins to complete the assembly of the door.
The last picture shows the door in the opened position.
Step 6: Add Side Walls and Top Cover
Using push pins and a hammer, attach the 22" long x 16" tall hardware cloth to the wooden poles.
Attach the side walls to the top cover using grocery bag ties.
Step 7: Build a Lock to the Door
Use a large binder clip to clip on the door's dowel as shown in the picture. Insert each end of a chopstick or similar stick through two holes of the top cover. Loop a large rubber band through the handle of the binder clip and loop the other end of the rubber band around the far end of the chopstick. This is the lock position.
To open the door, just remove the rubber band from the chopstick and fold the door down.
Step 8: Add Carrying Handles
Hammer 4 large nails to the four bottom corners of the brooder as illustrated. These handles came in very handy as they permit 2 people (one on each end of the brooder) to carry the brooder.
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