My wife decided to start breeding chickens and asked for a chicken brooder for Christmas. I have never built anything before but after looking at a few pictures online and thinking it through this is what I came up with.You will notice there is no floor to this brooder, we set it up in our garage and simple clean up the concrete when we are done. We have also used this for breeding and raising rabbits.
Note: Seriously, this is the first thing I have ever built, since I have built this I have done a few other projects and found that it pays to buy a pneumatic staple gun, they are about 50 bucks but worth it if you are building a lot of pens. This is also my first post to instructables, feel free to ask questions since I know I probably glossed over a few things.
Step 1: Step 1: Building the Top Access Doors
I started by building three access doors for the top of the brooder. All three are the same size and I just used cheap 2X2s. Note: I angle cut the doors and used a single screw to hold them together since the chicken wire will add more stability. If I did it again I would probably use a brad nailer and use a couple of nails on each corner instead of the single screw, it seems to be a lot stronger.
Step 2: Step 2: Building the Sides
I used a 2X6 for the base, this allows for a large base of wood chips for bedding. On the sides I used 2X2s and across the top I used a 2X4, the 2X4 is needed to mount the top access doors, you will see how later. I did the same for the ends.
Step 3: Step 3: Putting It Together
I bolted the side and ends together to make this brooder collapsible and easy to store. As you can see from the pictures I used some of the leftover pieces of 2x2s to create a lip for the top access door to rest on. These were simply attached to the top 2x4s. In the second photo you can see a slight gap I left between two pieces, this is for a sheet of plywood to be slid between to create smaller sections of the brooder as needed.
Step 4: Step 4: Adding the Front Doors
Once the top access doors were in place I added front access doors as well. Remember to cut these atleast a 1/4 inch smaller so they can swing easily. The front doors are the most common way we interact with the chickens but the reason I created the top access doors is so that I can easily hang the heat lights and install dividers. In the third photo you will see all the wire (I used half inch hardware cloth) and added all the hardware.
Step 5: Step 5: Building the Dividers
Next I cut the dividers. I made 3 dividers even though only two can be used at a time. 2 are solid pieces of plywood and the other is a piece of plywood with a large portion cut out and covered in hardware cloth. This has become one of the most use full dividers and I will probably convert the second solid divider at some point.
Step 6: Step 6: Add the Chickens
After adding locks to the front doors we added the chickens. The photo doesn't show it but we now have the light hanging from the top of the cage, you can simply notch the to access door to fit the cord through.