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Brooding Chicks Without Electricity - My Successes

 
Jerry Ward
Posts: 188
Location: S.E. Michigan - Zone 6a
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While my experiences are limited to two batches of chicks I have found that building a small cavity lined with radiant foil for them to huddle under is all they need to stay alive. I have documented my experiences on my blog
 
Jennifer Kremp
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Hi Jerry,
I'm glad it's working -- I did this for years, but more elaborately. Cardboard is great at containing heat.

There are lots of ways to raise chicks without electricity. My favourite is a wood-sided 'cold brooder' or 'hay box brooder', commonly used in the 1930s.
If you ever find yourself battling lower temperatures, I can vouch for a haybox brooder, properly built (4 wood sides with drilled vent holes near the top along each wall and a doorway in the middle of one side, a circle of mesh inside attached to the door-hole, and hay stuffed between circle and box walls; drape a hessian sack on top to make it cosy; put it somewhere safe from rats or other predators and under cover). I've used a hay box brooder down to just below 40F outside (overnight). You have to make sure there are enough chicks to fill the mesh circle and you have to let them out and pop them back in (closing the door or stuffing something into the entrance) four times a day for the first week, then they learn how to do it themselves. As they grow, you raise the box on blocks, and/or increase the size of the mesh circle. It's hard work for a week, then it's easier than anything and best of all, no worries if the power goes out.

Anyhow, what you're doing proves there are lots of ways... And as long as there's a balance between ventilation, insulation, and chick numbers (you can't cold brood small numbers of chicks so well because they're not producing enough heat), and as long as you know your weather, you can do just fine with no extra heat.

cheerio
Chancy
 
paul sanego
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I'd read about a system similar to that before, I like to use broody hens, perfect for smaller numbers of birds and with your breeding stock penned separate from the main laying flock you know what you are rearing.

Here is a short video of my latest batch, hope you enjoy.

http://youtu.be/fFqci7iZWPI

 
Mountain Krauss
Posts: 130
Location: Northern California
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The oldest form of brooding chicks without electricity is to let broody mamas hatch some eggs. It isn't possible in all situations, but it's certainly my favorite approach, and how we raise most of the chicks on our farm.

We still get chicks from a hatchery occasionally, though, so I'm interested in learning more about electricity-free ways to handle that. Thank you for bringing up the topic.
 
Evelyn Libal
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In kenya people generally make a charcoal fire. Where did you get your foil from? How much was it?
 
Jerry Ward
Posts: 188
Location: S.E. Michigan - Zone 6a
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I got it from Home Depot, the roll was only a few dollars.
 
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