It is kind of intense how quickly the baby chicks grow! Only 2.5 weeks old and they have outgrown their first brooder (big plastic tub).
I was wandering around the local Fred Meyer for something that would work and would be inexpensive. Initially I had the idea of cutting the ends off 2 large plastic bins and attaching them end to end and thus doubling the space. That idea seemed like a pain in the ass, wouldn’t make the area as large as I would like for my 7 chicken-ladies, and would result in a giant (ruined) plastic thing in a landfill somewhere. A no go.
My little ladies are little no more. They are losing fuzz, getting feathers, creating dust, trying to fly around and generally causing a ruckus. The furious flapping of their wings seemed to scream “we need more space! we need more space!”
Then it hit me… who else is outgrowing things right & left? Yes, the Babylady! She has pretty much grown out of her pack & play – which would conveniently make a perfect sized brooder! With any luck at all it wouldn’t be destroyed in the process!
We rather stupidly purchased (a relatively less expensive version on sale) on a whim early this year around Superbowl time hoping it would by us a tiny bit of peace at a Superbowl party and perhaps even allow us to enjoy being at someone else’s house with a 2-year-old. It did not. She climbed up and flipped out of it in approximately 3.5 seconds, spilling the Ladyfriend’s seriously delicious and boozy Hurricane. So, it has gotten no use. None.
Until now! Enter chickens! If I could very carefully cover the entire thing to protect it… it *might* even be still usable (?).
How to make a Brooder:
1) Set up the pack & play.
2) Place bottom mat harder side up in a heavy-duty plastic yard waste bag.
3) Line inside of pack & play with clear shower curtain liner. I initially thought I would put it over the black-bagged-mat, but then changed the order. The mat is actually on top of liner.
4) I then covered the black-bagged-mat with an “absorbent paper-plastic” which is basically a bit of paper with plastic backing. I taped in on the underside.
5) I had some old boards around that happened to fit nearly perfectly as a solid floor so I put that down, covered with the pine shavings, put in the waterer and feeder and moved the gals in to their new home!
Cost: ~ $8-10 for the curtain and paper-plastic. Not bad!