I just realized that we would need a dedicated box for the broiler chicks. We need to add this to the infrastructure you need to build out for the broiler. A pastured box, and a brooder box. We have ordered 33 brooders from Murray McMurray. We ordered the hybrid Cornish Cross, which is some form of man-made hybrid. This breaks my preferred approach on our hobby ranch as I am most drawn to trying to preserve and expand the “heritage” breeds. However, I explained why I chose this hybrid bird for the meat chickens or “broilers” in the post Pastured Poultry beginners guide or how to lose money on chickens.
Anyway here are a few pictures from constructing my brooder box. The cuts and measurements are getting better. I only have a few photos. I do not know what happen, I thought I took more pictures, but you will see the completed box in later photos. I was pleased with myself in that when I realized “I need a brooder box” for these chickens I thought, “I can make this.” For those who know how to do things with your hands, you are like “Bard, it is just a wooden box.” However, for me, it is growth! Again, I will show more photos of the brooder box going forward, especially when I get the chickens. It is approximately 4 feet long by 2 feet wide and 1 feet high.
The box is made from pressure treated plywood with 2”x4” added for extra strength. I dislike people who say “to raise your chickens organically you cannot use pressure treated wood.” That is completely untrue. The USDA or other agencies who recommend methods of chicken production to not band pressure treated wood, to the best of my knowledge. Too many people say you need to do “this or that” to raise chickens organically, or whatever. In truth, they are saying “this is the way I think you should raise chickens.” Which is fine, but they should just say that. I have warned new farmers and ranchers about this. Often old timers will say “this is how you do this.” In truth, what is being said is “this is how I know how to do this.” Innovation in technology is not a dirty word, and thus we innovate all the time. Younger people coming to farming should not be afraid to try to innovate. This is part of learning from the old-timers but trying new things.
At one time, pressure-treated lumber was quite dangerous to both livestock and humans. Recently, however, a new method of treating lumber has reduced the risks associated with pressure-treated lumber. This new process makes the lumber relatively harmless to livestock — including chickens — and making it available as a resource to use in building chicken coops.
At one time, all pressure-treated lumber was processed using a chemical called copper chromium arsenate. This is a form of arsenic and chickens could poison themselves on the wood. Modern “pressure treated lumber” is treated with copper azole which is a lot less toxic, Specific warnings when using copper azole-treated lumber include using mulched lumber as animal bedding and using such pressure-treated lumber to build structures or containers that hold animal feed.