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Keep your chicks warm with this non-electric brooder.

COUNTRYSIDE: I am considering raising chickens for the first time and strictly for the eggs. Everything seems geared toward the modern way with electricity. The problem is, I can't run electricity to a coop. I'd like to build a shed--or buy one--and raise the chickens the old fashioned way. How can I ensure their survival? Even the hatcheries only have advice for those with electricity. I live in Louisiana so we don't get snow but the summers are very hot. Where can I find information on raising chickens without electricity? I am sure it can be done or we'd have no chickens left today. Thanks for any advice you have to

The main reason you would need electricity is to keep young chicks warm and increase "daylight" hours for the older birds. (Egg production relies partially on a certain amount of light hitting the retina each day.)

Robert Owens, of Bowling Green, KY, sent this brooder description:

I thought readers would like to see how chicks were raised over 100 years ago, in the age of low-tech.

It uses an oil lamp as the source of heating, but prevents gas fumes from the lamp leaking into the chick "apartment." It filters around under the floor, making it dry and warm. The lamp chimney is about three inches from the sheet iron or other metal subflooring (E). The sheet iron (E) is heated by the lamp which fills the dead air space between E and I, the normal flooring. The heat then flows up the perforated chimney (H). Half the heat is allowed to seep into the main brooder (G). The other half mixes into the chick apartment.

The chimney (H) extends through the flooring (I), however should not touch the sheet iron (E). The dead air space between the two floorings (E and I) is about one inch.

The brooder (G) is made of a wooden frame with a hole in the top to allow the chimney (H) to pass through. Scrap cloth is tacked around the edges like the doors on a canvas tent to allow the chicks in and out of the brooder as they please. Access doors (F and D), vent holes (B) in the lower apartment allow fumes from the oil lamp to escape. Vent holes (A) in the upper apartment allow fresh air to the chicks. A thermostat should be placed in the brooder (G) and can be regulated by the height of the lamp flame.
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Title Annotation:The poultry house
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Nov 1, 2003
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