Incubation, hatching, and brooding season is upon us. Every Spring poultry enthusiasts, hobbyists, and farmers start to set eggs to grow their flocks. Provincial regulations, say what you will about the quota system, currently allow farmers without quota to have 199 laying hen and 199 meat birds on farm without a quota. I’ll blog about the quota system a couple of months down the road but for now I’d like to focus on the infrastructural changes currently happening at the farm. As we seek to grow our farm flock, we must continually build buildings (small-scale) that are multi-purpose to enable us to properly house birds at the different stages of development. for different purposes such as breeding, and to house them if they become ill, injured, or require confinement. Brooders, such as the one below, allow us to do all of the above.
MacCurdy Farm Brooder:
You will need 6 sheets of 1/2″ x 4′ x 8′ plywood.
I ripped rough sawn 2 x 6 lumber into 2 x 3 lumber for all studs, bottom plates, top plates, rafters, angle braces, etc.
2 1/2″ screws, 3″ spiral nails.
Staples, and either chicken wire or hardware cloth for the end walls.
Front and Back Wall
Bottom plate: 8′ x 2″ x 3″ (2)
Top plate: 8′ x 2″ x 3″ (2)
Studs: 15″ x 2″ x 3″ (8). I placed them at 32″ on centre.
Plywood sheet: 19″ x 8′ (2)
Bottom plate: 7’5″ x 2 x 3″ (2)
Top plate: 7’5″ x 2 x 3″ (2)
Studs: 15″ x 2″ x 3″ (8).
Plywood sheet: 19″ x 8′ (2)
Rafters: 8′ x 2″ x 3″ (3)
Plywood sheet: 8′ x 23″
End Wall pieces:
27″ x 2″ x 3″ (4)
25″ x 2″ x 3″ (2)
21″ x 2″ x 3″ (2)
17″ x 2″ x 3″ (2)
47″ x 2″ x 3″ pieces (2). I used a framing square to cut the proper angle on both ends.
4′ x 8′ x 1/2″ (2)
3″ hinges (4)
8′ x 2″ x 3″ (1)
The brooder will need to be equipped with different feeders, waterers, and bedding depending on what you plan on housing in them. At the moment, I am housing my breeding Roosters so I have straw and cedar sawdust as bedding. I’ll continue to fork it around and add sawdust, wood ashes, straw, and water as necessary as I build up the compost inside of it. I’m building an identical brooder to house my meatking chicks and turkey poults. We’ll be purchasing them at the age of 3 weeks when their feather development is nearing completion. The turkeys will be mixed in with them at the age of 5 weeks. Chicks will require a different bedding (pine shavings) and chick sized feeders and waterers.
We’re making good time in our preparations for our second year of pastured poultry production. The chicks and poults have a planned arrival for May 10 and May 31, 2014 on the farm. It’ll be our first year trying turkeys, but we believe the demand from our farm supporters necessitates growing turkeys and we hope to have our turkeys on your dinner table for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We have some renovations to do on our pastured poultry pens and one more to complete to accommodate our chicks and poults this Spring. After our meat birds make it to pasture, we’ll begin to break land for our foray into small fruit (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and my favorite, raspberries) production in the community of Point La Nim through a partnership with Natures Estate Farm. We have an exciting summer ahead. Look for future installments on our small fruit production and pumpkin patch plans to meet one of our farm goals of making it more family friendly.
MacCurdy Farm – Responsibly Stewarded, Naturally Balanced