New Brooder Pen

Our special project this weekend was building a new pen for our Black Australorp chicks, who had outgrown the brooder cage. We’ve had it inside of the large coop, but on “our” side, where we store all of their food and supplies. We moved it outside while we did our construction work. They were able to get some fresh air, and we didn’t have to worry about freaking them out while we operated power tools.

Even though they are all crowded into the corner, there really isn’t a lot of space for them when they aren’t running from the camera.

This is the area we cleared out to place the new pen into:

Don’t mind the electrical cords. We are still working on putting more outlets and lights in the coop, so extension cords are still in use.

We had several pieces of lumber left over from other projects, along with the remaining roll of chicken wire fencing that we used in the coop earlier. After building the frame, we stapled the fencing to it, and voilà! A larger pen for the chicks, where they will have room to grow!

We insured the baseboard height was tall enough to prevent them from getting any wise ideas about squeezing through the fencing while they are this size. They’ll be large enough in a few days that it won’t even be an issue.

The new chicks seem much happier, with room to run around. We do still need to build them a roosting area, but that will probably happen one evening this week. We are also going to need to make an outside play area for them that is contained, so that they do not mix in with our population of larger birds, who would pick on them, and frankly, with pecking order being what it is with chickens, that could turn out to be fatal for the little babies. So we will use more of the chicken wire fencing to build a little play-yard for them, right off of their inside pen, with a small door connecting the two.

In the meantime, they seem really content.

We will be getting them a larger feeder to replace their baby feeder, too. It will be similar to the waterer that you see hanging on the right. We hang the feeders and waterers on chains in order to reduce the amount of debris (bedding, poop) that gets into either and contaminates them. It also makes them much easier to access when you need to refill them!

This pen will be handy even when we do not have youngsters to put into it, because we can use it as a “hospital” for any injured birds that we need to isolate while they heal, or if one of our hens goes broody, we will be able to separate her and her chicks into this area as well.

I’d be remiss if I failed to mention that we had a great helper for this project. He insisted that he can “lift heavy things” – so he became our materials handler during this project, and was very proud (as he should be) of the fine job he did.

This was the largest of the boards he carried; he was sure to make lots of exaggerated grunting man-noises. 

Our plates are full, as always, but it’s really satisfying to work on these sort of projects that improve the quality of both our animals lives, as well as our own, because it makes our day-to-day caring for them a little easier.

Do you have a project you’ve been working on for your farm or garden? Please feel free to share a link to it in the comments! It’s a great way for us to share ideas with one another. We get visitors from all over the world, so you never know who you might be inspiring.

P.S. Be sure to check out some of the new pictures in our Photo Album before you leave!

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