Baby chicks first home is called a brooder. This is a small heated structure where they can stay safe and warm until they grow their feathers (about 5-8 weeks.... shhh don't tell Brian it takes that long).
And this is where the "forbidden" probably takes on its most literal term. The baby chicks will have to stay in our home for the first weeks of their lives. The farm market is only open 4 days a week and it is loud and fluctuates a lot in temperature and with lots of little curious kids and not so responsible parents (the reason all of my onion plants were pulled out of the ground last week by kids who's parents stood right there not paying attention). So the dining room will suit just fine! (Brian wanted me to add a joke about Moe "dining" on the chicks but....)
My parents have always just used cardboard boxes and a heat lamp. We have friends who have used small cat carriers too. We decided to go "fancy" and use a tupperware container. We aren't going to write a DIY. We simply used one of the million online DIY instructions we found off google.
Our only two requirements were that it be super warm (95 degrees the first week, decreasing by 5 degrees each week after) and Moe (the cat) proof.
|Moe, the cat.|
All it took was $45 (would have been less had we not just moved and packed away our desk lamp into storage) and about 45 minutes! I wasn't home but Brian being his cute little self took pictures so you could follow along at home.
|Brian used a box cutter to cut the middle out of the lid|
|All you need wire snips to cute the wire mesh, box cutter, and 12 small screws (he even used a penny so you could tell the size!)|
|Just clip the desk lamp on!|
We put a thermometer in tonight and it isn't going above 85 degrees. This is with us using a 60 watt bulb so we are going to try a 75 watt bulb tomorrow. We will line the bottom with paper towels and Voilà you have your chickens first home!
Now let's really hope that thing is Moe proof.