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).
If you are planning to use a broody hen to raise your chicks, check out How To Set Up A Brooder Box For A Hen And Chicks for even more details.
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.
For more information on chicks, read the post New To Raising Chicks? Give Them The Best Care
And here’s a video of our very first chicks in their brooder!
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Thursday 11th of February 2021
great idea! where do you put the chicks when they outgrow the plastic brooder?
Friday 12th of February 2021
As mine get bigger I like to put them in the yard supervised during the day or in a small run, and then back into the bin at night until the weather warms up.
Monday 20th of April 2020
Thanks for posting this. I'm a beginner on raising baby chicks.
Monday 20th of April 2020
You're welcome! Raising chicks is one of my favorite parts of keeping chickens.
Saturday 7th of March 2020
Thanks I am a little kid and me and my dad are getting ready for chicks and will keep this in mind thanks.-megan-
Saturday 14th of March 2020
Wednesday 22nd of May 2019
How many chicks will fit in the tub brooder?
Wednesday 29th of May 2019
Plan on about 1/2 a square foot per chick. I tend to brood small batches of three or four and they do just fine.
Laura @ The Tiny House Farm
Thursday 2nd of March 2017
That is such a great idea! We had our first batch of chicks in the plastic tub but didn't have a top on it and as they grew were able to escape. Next go round we will have to give this a try. Thanks for the post!
Tuesday 7th of March 2017
Yes, the top is nice when they start hopping on top of their feeders and everything in sight!