Saturday, January 25, 2014

New brooder ready to go

The chicks for our next winter laying flock have been hatching this week!  So far 80 percent of the first batch are out and healthy,  that's about 90 birds.  The first few days thru stay inside in a large bucket with heaters,  but then they move to the new brooder.
We have struggled through many designs for a brooder.  More enclosed means more cleaning,  more warmth,  but more trouble with humidity and water spills.  More open means risk from wind,  rain,  escapes.  Heat lamps caused crowding,  and a fire hazard.  On and on...  So finally we have arrived at a compromise that busy might work.
One thing that makes this harder is the scale.  When we hatch birds,  turkey or chicken,  we do 200 to 400 at a time. That's a lot of little chicks!
So this year we have a new setup just finished. It is inside one of the original permanent coops it front.  Mostly solid on 3 sides to block wind,  yet open enough to keep humidity down and plenty of fresh air.  We set up the solid panel brinsea heaters in sections of 5 heaters each.
These heaters are awseome and this year even more so.  The heater elements run of 12volts for safety.  They make no light and produce 60 watts of heat under a 2 foot square  black area. The birds natural instincts are to hide under the blackness like mom's wigs for protection or heat.
This year I wired all the panels together to a rv type 12 volt converter / Charger and 12 volt deep cycle battery.  This way the brooder had no 110 volt lines in it (for safety from shocks and fire hazard) and the Battery keeps the heat going for 2 to 4 hours in the event of a power failure!  No more rushing feverishly to crank the generator before the chicks freeze in the night if the power is knocked out for short times.  The converter automatically charges the battery and runs up to 10 heat panels just like in an rv system.
So this morning before deliveries we moved in the first 98 chicks!

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