How to Make a Homemade Bird Brooder
Baby birds need to be kept in a brooder in order for them to stay warm. However, brooders can be quite expensive. Fortunately, you can save yourself a lot of money by making one yourself. Here are the instructions for how to do this.
Since baby chicks require constant heat and protection, it is a good idea to learn how to build your own brooder. This needs to be something that can be easily cleaned too so that your baby birds don't get diseases. While you will get all of this from a commercial brooder, it will cost you hundreds of dollars. The following directions will help you to make a brooder for a whole lot less money.
Materials You Need
There are a lot of different types of brooders that you can use depending upon the type of birds you have. However, the type of brooder you make from home will be the same regardless of the type of birds you have. With this in mind, here are the materials that you will need a 90-quart clear plastic storage bin; a box knife with sharp blade; ½-inch hardware cloth; wire cutters; strips of lath; a staple gun; ½-inch-wide heavy-duty plumber's tape; tin snips; a metal heat lamp reflector that has a wire safety frame on it; ten 4 ½ inch machine screws; four size 10 nuts; 100-watt red flood lamp bulb; paper towels; thermometer; a waterer and a feeder.
Building The Brooder
In order to build a homemade you will want to first start by cutting out the center part and one half of the lid on your 90-quart clear plastic storage bin. You will also want to cut the hardware cloth so that it will fit the hole plus have an additional inch on each side. Once cut, staple it to the underside of the lid and then place strips of lath on the top of the lid to keep the staples from poking out.
Take the safety frame from the reflector. Cut four pieces of plumber's tape, each measuring four inches long. Use one screw and one nut to attach one piece of the plumber's take to each of the four holes that are located around the reflector's rim. Make sure that this tape is perpendicular to the rim. Now bend each of these pieces of tape to create a stable two-inch food. You can now screw the bulb into your reflector.
The bottom of your container needs to be covered with four or five layers of paper towel. Do not use anything other than paper towel here because it can hurt your young birds.
Place your thermometer in the back half of the container. Then put the feeder and the waterer in the front half of it.
Now you can put the lid on the brooder. Make sure that the screened half is in the back. This is where you will want to sit your heat lamp. Just make sure that the feet that you made out of the plumber's tape keep the reflector off of the wire. You may need to adjust the feet a bit.
Plug the heat lamp in and turn it on. After several hours you should check the temperature in the brooder's back half. It should be 95 degrees Fahrenheit but if it's not you will simply need to raise the bulb if it's too hot or lower it if it's not hot enough. If it still remains too hot, you will need to use a bulb that has lower wattage or if it still doesn't get hot enough, you will need a bulb with higher wattage. Once the temperature is suitable, it is ready to be used.
Heating The Brooder
There are a variety of ways in which to heat the brooder. This includes such things as a thermostat in a commercial brooder, a heating pad underneath half of a plastic container or the aforementioned heat lamp, which is used in the brooder that we built here. Regardless of the method used, make sure to have a thermometer in the brooder so that you can properly monitor the temperature.
Now that you know how to build your own brooder, it is important to learn how to heat it too. Your baby birds will need to be kept between 26oC and 37oC depending upon how old they are but basically the younger the bird, the warmer it needs to be. With this in mind, here is a basic guide to help you get started. For d ay 1 through 5: 36oC. For day 5 through 10: 35oC. For d ay 10 until they are coated with down: 33oC. While they have down: 29 - 32oC. Then when they have feathers on their wings: 26 - 28oC.