Saturday, February 7, 2009
In the Mood to Brood...
Realizing yesterday morning that I had made no arrangements for brooding my baby chicks when they (eventually) arrive, I set out to rectify the situation. With my mantra of Re-think, Re-use, Re-purpose reverberating in my skull, I quickly settled on a long cardboard box with a lid.
I had originally considered using a Rubbermaid tote that had been purchased it at WalMart about a year ago( shortly before I decided to boycott the retail chain).
The plastic tote measured only about 4x2 feet. I wanted to install a window in the side of the tote, but decided against it. While I am sure that the chicks would have appreciated a room with a view, I didn't want to do anything to a tote that would interfere with it being reused again for something else.
So, I moved on to converting a fabulous, lidded corrugated box. The box would provide more floor space for the birds than the tote would have anyway. Since I can only have a few chickens in the city, it is unlikely that I will need a brooder of this size again, so I have no plans to recycle it when we are through with it. Since it is made of cardboard it will be contaminated from chicken poo and incapable of being cleaned.All bedding materials will of course be turned out into the compost pile.
Anyway...I wanted the brooder to be large enough to accommodate 6 chicks, so I devised something that they could grow into. The floor of the box is waterproofed with leftover linoleum from some of the rental apartments that we own. Martha Stewart probably wouldn't approve of my taste in decorating, but the flooring will be covered in pine shavings, so the chicks won't really be embarrassed by it anyway.I found a roll of screen in my basement and will probably use that to cover the top. However, I am toying with the idea of using an old sheer curtain instead...Hmmm... The birds will only occupy one portion of the box initially. When they need more room, I will bring out the other half of the box(the lid)and put the two parts together, instantly doubling their space.(What you see in the photo is the expanded version which measures 4x5 feet.) Even more convenient is the fact that the two parts of the box actually "nest" together for storage until we actually need to expand it. This project was accomplished entirely with things that we had lying around the house and took about an hour to complete.