If you’re going to raise your own chicks, you definitely will need a chick brooder box! Under NO circumstances use a cardboard box. It would be a HUGE fire hazard. The easiest brooder for a small flock is definitely a plastic tub. The biggest problem with those is a good top. In a pinch you can use things like netting or an oven rack, but if you have a really determined cat, they just won’t do. The best design I’ve seen is from Fresh Eggs Daily. I used their directions to make my own chick brooder box with items that I already had laying around on the homestead and it turned out awesome!
Items You Need To Make a Chick Brooder Box
- Large plastic tote with lid
- Exacto knife or pocket knife
- Chicken wire or hardware cloth
- Furring strips
- 8 bolts with nuts and washers
Here’s How To Make The Chick Brooder Box
- Cut a rectangle in the tub lid. Make sure to leave a lip around the edge big enough to attach your wood strips
- Measure the strips of wood and cut them down to the right size to fit around the remaining edge of the lid.
- Cut a piece of chicken wire to completely cover the hole and sit underneath your wood strips.
- Drill eight holes through your wood strips and plastic lid, one in each end.
- Thread the bolts through the wood, sandwiching the wire between the lid and the wood.
- Secure the bolts with the nuts and washers.
Your brooder box is now complete! Now it’s time to get it ready for your chicks. Fill it with straw or wood shavings to absorb droppings and keep them clean. It can help to keep the box cleaner longer if you prop up your feeders and waterers a bit. (I like to use an old brick).
Cleaning the brooder box is super easy too. Move your chicks to a temporary safe spot, carry it out to the compost bin and dump everything in. Now you can hose out and sanitize your chick brooder box before refilling with clean bedding. In fact, you could buy two plastic totes that fit the same lid and move your chicks from the dirty one right into the clean one.
Thinking About Getting Chickens?
Get ready with the free email course, Intro to Backyard Chickens. The course also includes a free, printable checklist to walk you through step by step!