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Baby bird brooder

 
Cameron Schuckert
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Hello everyone! Im new to gardening and animal husbandry and I'm building an insulated bird brooder for baby chicks. I'm building it out of pallet wood and I'm almost done with it. I just don't know how to control the temperature. Right now I have 28 guinea keet that are just a few weeks old living in my closet lol but I plan to move them into their new home tomorrow. Anyone know of any devices that I could instal that will regulate my brooder at 90 degrees and turn off the heat lamp? Also a Bluetooth thermometer that I could read from my phone would be awesome too!
 
Ghislaine de Lessines
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Location: Vermont, annual average precipitation is 39.87 Inches
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When I brooded keets this spring I used the Brinsea EcoGlow Brooder.  It's a bit pricey so you may wish to look into reptile lamps too.  If you already have a more traditional heat lamp then I don't know of a device that will move it up and down for you to adjust the temperature.  It only needs to be moved once a week or so.

 
Cameron Schuckert
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Not to move the lamp up and down but to turn on and off the lamp at 90 degrees. I purchased what I needed I think from farmtek, a thermostate which should be arriving today
 
chad duncan
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I used to use a heat lamp and insulated brooders but now I don't. Now I use a heating pad and it works much better than a heat lamp and a little better than the frightfully expensive brinsea units.
This new method is often referred to on the internet as the 'mama heating pad' method. First you need to find a heating pad that can be set to stay on indefinitely, NOT a pad that shuts off after a couple hours. I used a couple small pieces of scrap wood and a bit of hardware cloth that I had lying around to suspend the heating pad an inch or two above the floor of the brooder. You want this height to be low enough that the chicks can easily press their backs against the pad but high enough that they can easily walk under it. You will want the support of the pad to be smaller than the pad so that the ends of the heating pad can hang down to the floor to make a sort of heated tunnel. Set the temp up high and let the birds decide if they want to be warm or cold. They will run under the pad when they get chilly just like it was their mama. I have a lot more success with a lot less bother than the old heating lamp style brooder. The cooler brooder will also help them to feather out sooner.
Here is a link to some pictures showing how I made my 'mama heating pad'.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1088644/mama-heating-pad
 
chad duncan
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Cameron Schuckert wrote:Not to move the lamp up and down but to turn on and off the lamp at 90 degrees. I purchased what I needed I think from farmtek, a thermostate which should be arriving today


I suspect that turning the lamp on and off will cause you many problems. It would take a pretty spectacular thermostat to keep the air to within a degree down where the birds are and it doesn't take much cold to kill a whole brooder of birds. Usually people will leave the heat lamp on 24 hrs a day and control the general heat by raising or lowering the lamp. When done this way you can gauge the temperature by looking at where the birds hang out. They should hang out in a ring under the light. Directly (centered) under the light should be too hot so that they have a range of temperatures they can move between. It would be impossible to perfectly control the temp so you create a temperature gradient across the brooder that allows the chick to regulate it's own temperature.
If the birds hang out in a pile directly under the lamp, then the lamp is too high (too low temp) and birds will certainly die in this dogpile.
If the birds stay away from the light, then it is too low and therefore too hot for them. If it is too hot they may move to a cooler area and make a dogpile there for warmth instead. Which again will result in suffocations at the bottom of the pile.
Ideally the little birds will form a ring, avoiding the too hot space directly under the lamp and the too cold space outside of the light. They will venture out into the cold when they want food or water and then they will return when they feel they need to.
 
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