Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fire in the House - Brooder Mishap

We knew our 4 Silkie’s would be arriving soon, next up would be setting up their home sweet home a/k/a brooder.   I knew I wanted their brooder to have a large window so we could watch Chicken TV and also wanted to make sure our dog would get used to seeing the chicks as well. 

We got ourselves a 17 gallon Rubbermaid tote and cut a window and inserted a piece of Plexiglas.  I then cut a whole in the lid so we could put a metal grate on top which ended up being a side to one of our dog crates.  In the book “City Chicks” the author recommends a Reflectix brooder blanket for the top to control warmth and air control.  I ended up using a thick piece of cardboard wrapped in tinfoil, this worked well to keep the brooder a nice toasty 95 degrees.

Brooder Supplies

  1. Rubbermaid Tote
  2. Piece of Plexiglas
  3. Fluker's Dimmable 75 watt Clamp Lamp
  4. 75 watt red heat light
  5. Aspen Pine
  6. Metal grate for top
  7. Large piece of cardboard wrapped in aluminum foil with hole cut in center for lamp
  8. Chick Feeder
  9. Chick Waterer
  10. Organic Chick Starter
  11. Probiotics
  12. Sav-A-Chick Supplement
  13. Small digital thermometer
  14. Small chick sandbox (small Tupperware container)
  15. Almost forgot.....lots of duct tape.
Brooder was all set, just waiting to house some baby chicks.    Hubby was at work, I was moving some perennials in the yard.  My daughter was in and out of the house playing on the swing set and helping me transplant the perennials.  I walked into the house and smelled smoke.  In a panic I ran to the laundry room, upstairs, downstairs – where the hell was the smoke coming from?  For lack of better words, I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off , I know poor choice of words but that’s all that comes to mind and that’s exactly what it looked like.  The fire alarm didn’t go off, but there was definitely something on fire.

THEN, I see smoke billowing from the dining room where the brooder was housed.  My dear daughter, who is 6 ½, had turned on the light, placed it inside the bottom of the brooder and walked away….  What a scary experience.  It scared the absolute hell out of both of us.    I’m so grateful I caught it in time. 

Check out the 3" burn through the plastic and on our dining room chair –

The kicker is I had just had a talk with my daughter a couple days beforehand about the brooder light and how hot it would be and that she was not to touch it once the chicks arrived as she might burn herself or the chicks.    She apparently forgot.  In all honesty I think in her mind since the chicks weren’t in there yet, it didn’t count.  I have fault for having the darn thing plugged in when it shouldn’t have been.

Chicks were coming in two days, now what?  Good ‘ole duck tape to the rescue.  All duct taped up and good as new.  I still need to figure out what to do about the chair.    She has not touched the lamp since – lesson learned.

All Patched Up!

After that moment had passed, I thought what in the hell am I doing getting chickens?

Fast forward a few days and our chicks are in their new humble abode, Buehrle is watching some Chicken TV!!


  1. Wow, that is scary! We keep our brooder (a converted dog crate half) in the garage because those heat lamps scare me. Hopefully the six weeks is up very quickly and those ladies can move on out!

  2. Fancy digs! I use a cardboard box and never covered the top but they never seemed to be uncomfortable - though maybe I should reconsider.

    1. We love being able to watch them from the side window in the brooder. Instead of 15 minutes of cartoons in the morning, my daughter watches chick tv!