Your Chickens in April [Newsletter]

We’re into the best time of year … spring! The weather’s getting nicer and our outdoor farmers’ market opens in less than two weeks, so we’re busy as can be, and loving it.

News from the Farm

At this time of year, our brooder houses are are full to capacity, with three batches of chicks in the brooder houses at the same time (one batch of pullets, two of broilers). And we’ll soon have to make room for goslings and turkey poults. Our first batches of broilers and pullets are headed out to pasture, and we’re refurbishing houses for them, and even building a new nesting house in anticipation of record egg production. read more...

5 Brooder Lamp Safety Tips

Sad to say, brooding baby chicks with heat lamps presents a fire hazard. How much of a fire hazard? That’s up to you. Here are tips for dialing down the risk.

1. Avoid self-disassembling clamp lights.

Unsafe clamp light

Cheap clamp lights are exactly wrong for brooder lights. The clamps are weak, the screw holding the swivel together tends to come undone, the sockets aren’t rated for 250-watt heat lamps, they don’t have heavy-duty cords … they’re an accident waiting to happen. Stay away.

2. Use a real brooder lamp.

A Good Brooder LampA high-quality brooder lamp has special features to make it safe for brooding: read more...

Three Forgotten Chicken Coop Design Concepts

You can read about chicken coop design in a lot of places, but what does everyone fail to mention? Here are three chicken coop design concepts that have been pretty much forgotten:

1. Accessibility: If the chicken coop not tall enough to walk around in, it needs to be small enough that you can reach everything from outside

hoophouse chicken coop for broilers
One of our daily-move broiler pens, made from lightweight cattle panels bent into an arch and covered with tarps. Tall enough to stand inside, this is a convenient portable broiler house.

Many chicken coops violate this rule. In some of them, such as the pasture pen designs of Joel Salatin, you end up crawling across chicken poop on your hands and knees if you need to get at things in the back corners. In others, there’s simply no access at all!

The same rules apply for chicken runs: if you can’t walk around inside them, they need to be get-at-able in some other convenient way. read more...

Your Chickens in March [Newsletter]

Robert Plamondon’s Poultry Newsletter, March 2016

The sun is shining, the brooder houses are full of busy baby chicks, and if the tractor were working, life would be perfect.

News from the Farm

Why, oh why do we have so many geese? When I go onto the main pasture, there are about half a dozen ganders who want to show me who’s boss. It turns out that I’m the boss, but I have to remind them every single time by glaring at them and hissing, then advancing on them until they back off. “Slowly I turned. Step by step. Inch by inch…”

But the most exciting news is that I published three books last month! read more...

Build a 200-Chick Brooder in 2 hrs for $20

Baby chicks
The Joys of a Reliable, All-Weather Baby Chick Brooder.

One of the biggest challenges to keeping to flock of chickens is raising baby chicks successfully every time, especially when the weather doesn’t cooperate—and does it ever?

What’s Wrong With Ordinary Chicken Brooders?

The biggest single thing you can do to ensure successful with baby chicks is to build a chicken brooder that really does the job.

What’s wrong with ordinary brooders?

  • Overhead heat lamps are fragile, use a lot of electricity, and don’t keep the chicks as snug as you’d like.
  • Sheet-metal brooders don’t work at all in unheated rooms unless you have a guaranteed run of warm weather.
  • Propane brooders are available only for large-scale brooding.

Time for an Easy-to-Build Insulated Heat-Lamp Brooder

Since the poultry brooders on the market don’t get the job done, you need to build one yourself. One that keeps the chicks warm, is easy to build, and is insulated to save electricity. read more...