We live on a small farm with farm buildings. They are old but still functioning. At one time pigs were housed in the buildings. I am sure they served their purpose at that time. We have no intentions of keeping pigs at this point in our journey. And if we ever do they will be pasture raised. The pig pen seemed pretty useless to us, until we decided to turn it into a chick brooder!
The pig pens aren’t very practical. They have a small door on the outside, about a meter from the ground. There is a feed trough with metal bars above it. We have been looking for ways to use the pig pens, but due to the location and access to it we decided it would not be suitable for large animals.
Here is a picture of the pig pen while we were cleaning up. I am still getting used to documenting what we are doing, so most of the time we just jump into a project and then I remember I should take pictures, I am sorry about that I will try to remember next time!
Then the husband came up with the awesome idea to turn it into a chick brooder! Up until now we have been raising chicks indoors in small rabbit cages. Which serve their purpose for a while but the amount of chicks we can hatch and keep is very limited (and they stink up the house after a few weeks!). The large chick brooder will allow us to not only raise chicks for ourselves but also raise extra chicks to sell. We have electricity in the pens so keeping them warm will be no problem. And since we have multiple pens we will be able to raise multiple batches of chicks.
We have been working hard on cleaning up the barn. My husband had a few days off last week and we finally got the barn all cleaned out. He removed the front bars that you see on the picture, so we could replace them with chicken wire. We were lucky to get a large role of chicken wire for free from the husband’s work, they were planning on throwing it out because they had no use for it.
My husband started by cutting out the metal bars in front and taking out the feed trough. After that he put up the wooden frame. This pen already had walls on the sides, so that saved us a lot of wood.
After the wooden frame was finished he filled the part where the feed trough used to be with concrete to make an even surface, and build a wooden door to the outside (the previous wooden door was missing).
We then put a fresh coat of paint on the walls and sealed all gaps. We sealed all the gaps to prevent pests from hiding in there and for easier cleaning.
Here you see the finished chick brooder. We decided to put some boards on the front to keep the sawdust inside. We also build a perch, because we want to teach the chicks to perch at an early age so they don’t end up sleeping in the nesting boxes when they grow up. We have electricity in the chick brooder so we can put a heating source in for smaller chicks.
When it was all finished we put in our Brahma chicks that hatched last month. They sure do seem to like their new home! There is a lot of room for just the three of them, but Brahma’s grow fast (they are about 6 weeks old in these pictures.
We are planning on building two more of these, so we can raise multiple batches of chicks at the same time. We still have some improvements to make. We are looking to set up an automatic waterer and a hanging feeder. All to make sure the pens are as efficient as possible. Because cleaning waterers and feeders every day is time consuming, and let’s face it, chicks are messy. We also want to extend the pens to the outside, so that when we keep breeding stock in the pens they have more room and can enjoy the outside air. One step at a time though!
This is not a tutorial, but we want to show that if you have space that seems totally useless at the time you can turn it into something that is useful. Did you ever turn a space that seemed useless into something useful?