DIY Chick Brooder


January 31, 2015 by beriel79

In preparation for my first flock of chicks I built this brooder.  I had no idea what to expect or how fast they would grow but this was quite sufficient for the first 3 weeks.  I searched for the largest tote I could find and settled on a Rubbermaid 54 gal tote.  I cut the middle section out of the top and secured hardware cloth to it with screws and bolts.  We have a cat and I wanted to make sure the top could not be knocked off during the night.  All I could think of is how horrified my kids would be if we woke up to a mass murder of baby chicks!

Next came the set up of the food and water.  I knew I wanted my chickens to have some type of nipple-type water system that would stay clean and not need to be changed every day.  I settled on these Side Mounted Poultry Nipple from  Reviews said they hardly leaked and I liked the idea of the little platform that catches the drips if they’re not drank right away.  I bought the nipples separately and a food grade 5 gallon bucket from Home Depot.  Assembly was quite simple.  I made a smaller version out of an orange juice container for use in the brooder so they would be used to drinking from it right away.

I used doggie pee pads to line the bottom of the box and non slip shelf liner to prevent spraddle leg.  I also read so many horrifying articles about fired from heat lamps so I invested in a Brinsea Ecoglow.  I’m so glad I did!  I never worried about the chicks getting too hot or something in the brooder catching on fire.  The chicks huddled under it just like they would under the Mama hen.  It also helped them regulate their schedules and know when it was sleeping time since they didn’t have a red light keeping them awake.

All set for them to arrive!  I ordered my chicks from and I’m so glad I did!  The chicks arrived happy and healthy packed cozily in a breathable box lined with straw and warming packs. They have all grown into beautiful chickens and I can tell they are quality chickens.

6 thoughts on “DIY Chick Brooder

  1. Christa says:

    How many chicks did u have. And where did u get the light from. How many chicks is that sufficient for


    • beriel79 says:

      I had 10 at that time. They outgrew this in about 2-3 weeks. I never use a light in my brooder. I use a heater called the Brinsea ecoglow. The chicks huddle under it like a mama hen and I don’t worry about my house burning down. Win-win!


  2. […] girls.  If you’re in love with the idea of getting chickens, I totally recommend following these instructions to make your […]


  3. Laura says:

    Thanks much for posting this – we’re using this as the design for ours. We went ahead and ordered a Brinsea ecoglow. Question for you – in the smaller water bottle, in the brooder, that’s an upside down OJ bottle – what is the red base you have it sitting in? Also – in the feeder and roosting bar pictures, what’s the wooden thing at the bottom? Thank you.


    • beriel79 says:

      Yes its an OJ container with the red poultry nipples you can buy on amazon. The base is the bottom part of one of the regular waterers. It keeps it elevated so it stays cleaner. The lower piece of wood is another roosting bar.


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Rebecca is a mom, wife, real estate broker, decorator, party planner, chicken keeper, and gardener


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