Items needed to make this brooder:
- 1 Covered cat litter pan
- 1 electrical fixture with porcelain base
- 1 25, 40 or 60 watt red light bulb from a pet or electric supply store (can also use Pearlco Ceramic Infrared Heat Element sold by - Avitec.
- 1 screw in light dimmer control (Walmart and K-Mart carry them)
- 1 6 ft. extension cord
- 1 indoor/outdoor thermometer that also checks humidity from an Auto parts store (around $7) or you can get individual items to check temperature and humidity from a pet store in the section where supplies for amphibians are kept.
- bedding (I use large pine shavings/chips from a farm supply store
- tall glass container to put water in for humidity control (a clean jar with holes punched in the lid works well as long as the babies can't knock it over)
- 2 hinges to put an acrylic door on the front opening
- a small piece of acrylic you can cut or have cut to cover the front opening (piece about 9 inches square should work but measure the opening on the one you purchase and leave enough room to add the hinges to the top of the acrylic piece and above the opening. (I get my acrylic pieces from a local plastics factory for $2 a pound for scrap. I use the 1/4 inch thickness.
- small perch about 1 or 2 inches longer than the brooder is wide. I use this for the babies to perch on just before they are transferred to a weaning cage. (can be purchased at a hobby shop, hardware store or some pet shops)
- 2 PVC caps to plug the holes left when the perch isn't installed in the brooder.
- 1 small knob type drawer pull to use on the door to the brooder.
- glue to attach knob to acrylic
This brooder takes less than 30 minutes to make even for someone who normally can't make a thing
with tools. The finished product looks like this:
Place the acrylic piece on the inside edge of the brooder opening and mark it 1/8 - 1/4 inch larger than the
opening except on the top where you need to mark it about 1 1/2 inches above the top of the opening
so you'll have room to attach the hinges.
Cut the acrylic using this mark as your guide. A scroll saw, band saw or jig saw will work for cutting the
acrylic as long as you have a proper blade in the saw.
Drill holes in the acrylic piece and the brooder top and attach the hinges.
In the back of the top section drill holes as necessary for the electrical fixture and the cord. You want to
drill them so the fixture will be centered between the top of the brooder and where the top and bottom
halves connect. Also, for easier cleaning, you will want to make the cord hole large enough to pull the cord
thru so the fixture can be removed.
Cut the outlet end off the extention cord (NOT THE END THAT PLUGS INTO THE WALL!)
Push the cut end of the wire through from the outside of the brooder to the inside and attach it to the fixture.
Attach the light fixture to the brooder using the nuts and bolts which came with it or some you provide.
Drill a hole in each side of the bottom part of the brooder about 4 inches back from the front.
Plug the holes with the PVC end caps until a perch is needed.
Attach the thermometer and humidty guage on the bottom half of the brooder about halfway between the
bottom of the brooder and where the bottom and top halves are connected and about halfway back in the
brooder. I attach mine with velcro so they can be removed during cleaning.
Place a layer of paper towels in the bottom of the brooder. Over that, place about 1 inch of pine chips/
shavings. On top of that place another layer of paper towels. The reason I use paper towels on the bottom
is for easy removal of the bedding. I use the paper towels on top so the babies can't eat the shavings. The
moisture from the droppings will go thru to the bedding.
Place the jar you filled with water in the brooder in a corner so it can't be knocked over.
Screw the dimmer control into the light socket and the light bulb into the dimmer control.
Get the brooder to the correct temperature for the chick/s you are brooding in it.
Place 3 or 4 tissues in paper lunch bags that you've cut to the height of about 4 inches. Place the baby
or babies in a bag of their own so you can monitor the droppings of each baby the first few days.
This only works for cockatiels that are under about 12 days of age or until they are large enough to knock
the bag over with their weight but makes clean up REAL easy.
Now place the baby in the paper bag and place the bag in the brooder. Change the bag during each feeding.
You will find this type of brooder has about a 1-2 degree difference in the temperature from the front to the back of the brooder. I have found this works well when the babies are old enough to move around and find the temperature which best suits them.
Hope this helps!