A Puppy Pen Chick Brooder

If you already have a puppy pen, you can make a serviceable chick brooder. We have a couple of pens that we hook together to create a play yard for our pups when Annie has a litter. You can buy one at Petsmart for under $80. A rubber utility mat to protect the chicks from cold concrete and protect the floor can be purchased from TSC for about $40. We get the shredded paper we use for litter free from the hospital. Locate the chicky compound near an outlet, so the warming lights can be plugged in. Lay the mat on the floor and configure the pen around it. Next, you will need cardboard to line the sides and contain the heat. I found a storm door box that when opened out lined the entire inside except for the door. A flattened cardboard box covers the door and is easy to remove and replace when the door needs to be opened. Put a layer of newspaper down on the mat and then some bedding material. Hang the lights from a pole that is long enough to span the width of the pen. It is a good idea to use duct tape to secure the pole to the pen. I hung three clamp lamps evenly spaced on the pole. A sheet held in place with clothespins covers the top to hold in the heat.
The benefits for me are that I can walk into the pen to care for the birds. The pen is easy to collapse and store. The rubber mat can be pulled outside to scrub and hose off.

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