Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Building a Better Brooder

Do we need more chickens?  No.  Can we resist baby chicks?  No.  We need a restraining order against ourselves.

Brett placed his order for our monthly hay and feed delivery yesterday and then he called me at work.
"The lady at the feed store says they have baby chicks."

Me:  We don't need more chickens.

Brett:  She said they are a rare/endangered breed.

Yeah, Brett knows how to break down my defenses really fast.  I called the feed store, researched the breed (Marans) and called Brett back.  He said he would go down this morning and pick them up.

Marans are a French breed that lay large dark chocolate colored eggs.
Marans eggs in the middle.
They are friendly, cold tolerant, and pretty.  We agreed to buy five: four of the Cuckoo Marans (look like a barred rock) and one Copper Maran (last one she had).
Picture of a Cuckoo Marans
 Then I laid awake in bed all night trying to figure out what to use as a brooder.  I don't have any cardboard boxes laying around that are the right size or any empty tupperware boxes.  In past years, we have used a dog crate and put chicken wire around the outside so they chicks can't squeeze out.  That is a real pain and the last time I did it, without any help from the kids who have flown the nest, I swore I would never ever do it that way again.  It took hours to tie on the chicken wire and hours to take it back off.  The crate wouldn't fit through the door to the chicken pen unless it was collapsed so I couldn't just leave it as is.  Brett said he would build a brooder but that didn't stop me from worrying about what to put the chicks in while he was busy building.

This morning, Brett went down the mountain to Home Depot and bought his brooder building supplies.  Then he went to the feed store and bought the chicks.  While he was gone, I made up a temporary place for them using the container we use to ice drinks when we BBQ in the summer.

Necessity is the mother of invention, right?  It's a pretty sad brooder, I know.
 Brett arrived home with the chicks and we put them in my brooder while he went down to the barn to start building his.  They seemed happy enough, although one did hop up on the edge and start singing like a canary.  Maybe I'll name that one Edith after the French singer Edith Piaf.

As always, Brett built a beautiful brooder.

Thinking about his next move.  He doesn't draw plans; he just does it.

We carried it up to the house from the barn.  The thing weighs a ton.  I think its indestructible.

The chicks seemed happy with their new digs. 
 It's quiet in the mud room now.  The chicks all did that face-plant spread-eagle thing in the straw.  Sound asleep.


  1. Yeah, I know, it was over kill. It's a Mickelson structure, what can I say? At least the top, (not shown), is very light. Ain't no birds going to escape from there.

  2. that is weird. never came thru on the reader.

    i like your handy hubby! :)

  3. I posted yesterday around 1:00 p.m. and it didn't show up for comments until after 9:00 p.m. Weird.
    That is a really nice brooder! The chicks are loving it I am sure.

  4. The post thing happened to me too. It was not your computer.

    Brett, you did a great job with the brooder. These are lucky little be living at Aspen Meadows.

  5. You know, with a brooder lke that these are not our last baby chicks. Just an observation. ;)

  6. Anette,how cute little Frenchies.
    If I had a man that build cages so good and fast,I would never ender up bringing new animals :)

  7. Wow! Those chicks live in some fancy digs there! :) Brett is a guy, most guys don't use plans - why is that? A missing gene maybe? LOL If it turns out like that who cares! Have a great Easter.

  8. Oh heck, I would LOVE to have one like that...Last for years, :)
    I need to figure out how to do it myself...:/

  9. Sooo adorable....makes me want to restart my mini farm i used to have...(or not, as Don would advise!!) ENJOY!

  10. The chicks are adorable. Your husband built an awesome brooder. Enjoy your eggs...someday.

  11. That first few sentences describes me and my husband to a T!!!

    I'm so jealous you got Marans! Congrats! They are so adorable and that brooder is AWESOME!! Good job Brett!!


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