BackYard Chickens › Chicken Coop Plans › Missjenny's Chicken Brooder

Missjenny's Chicken Brooder

   The Incredible Chick-quarium


My view of the Incredible Chick-quarium from my desk.


View of the Incredible Chick-quarium from my desk.

Initially my plan was to "house chicks". I figured a nice big rubbermaid tub would do nicely --  so I took myself to a big box store to buy one. But the biggest tub I found was 50 gallons... fine for 5 wee babies, God forbid they should grow. And God forbid I should actually want to see them growing. So I went back to the drawing board... and started nosing around in my workshop. (I tend to keep scraps.)  

The new plan came with some criteria... I wanted to see my chicks and I wanted my brooder to suit them from Hatchery Arrival to Coop Departure. 

The big box store sells plexi-glass (please don't ask me what "mil" ... "thick enough to suit me" was the size I got. The dimensions are 2'x4'. In my work shop I had several cuts of 1/4" oak plywood sized 2'x4'. I also had lengths of 1"x3"s and 1"x2"s.

I used 2 sheets of 2'x4' oak plywood one for the back and the other, cut in half to 2'x2', to serve as end pieces. These were framed with the 1"x3"s to make panels. Essentially the 1"x3"s were milled (cheek and shoulder cuts) to form a rabbit deep enough to support the oak plywood and the plexiglass.

The rabbits and plexi attachment can be seen here:

Plexi attachment and rabbited fitting

In adddition to 1/2" screws and rubber washers, the Plexi was further supported with silicone glue. Wood panels were adhered using 1/2" screws and wood glue. 

At the lower edge of each panel I screwed a 1"x2" to support a floor made of 1/2" poplar plywood, also scavenged from my workshop -- covered in vynil peel-n-stick floor tiles.

The plexi panel is not as strong as the all wood panels and therefore I attached flat corner brackets (painted black) at each corner for added strength, seen here:

 uppercorner flat bracketLower flat corner bracket

Upper corners are held in place using dimensional corner brackets -- these not only attach the corners, but also aid in maintaining the box square:

Dimensional corner bracket


To suspend the heat lamp over the brooder I simply put a support right into the crate -- it's sturdy and secure and easy to build. Mine is a 2"x2" with 1"x3" "legs. The heap lamp can move up or down as needed and within a few weeks it can be removed entirely.

Heat lamp support

There is currently no top as the chicks are too small to fly out and the cat is too old to leap in -- a top is planned in the coming weeks. This brooder will fill the needs of these chicks till they are upwards of 6 to 8 weeks old -- when their coop, I swear, will be built.

One of my goals for this brooder is that it can be secured with as few as 8 to 10 screws and easily disassembled for easy storage when no longer needed.

The greater goal of the Incredible Chick-quarium is that everybody can see each other... but can't reach each other:

Talia watches the birdies!





Comments (13)

I love your brooder! Very attractive inside and out. <3
cool I might have to try this
very nice! great idea :)
I think that I am going to build that...great idea.!!!!!!!!
i like the idea behind it but dont want to buy supplies haha... i think im just gonna put cardboard covering three of the four walls of an aquarium i already have
this is just what i would like to have we have small children
that will want to see these chicks once they hatch and this
is a great idea thanks!
I think I will make one for my chicks next year...
Great idea. Love being able to watch the chicks.
wow so many great ideas on here
I'm going to do this to 8)
What a thing of beauty this is! And to think, I was going to try to hack a window into a rubbermaid.... This is SOOO much more elegant. My chicks arrive in 2 weeks- I guess I know what I will be doing this weekend... ;) Thank you so much for posting!
I use a metal aquarium lid for a top but a sliding wooden window screen also would work because you can set the light on it...I think tractor supply or Home depot sells small rolls of light weight metal mesh that you can cut and bend for a top.
awesome, going to try and make one too. :)
BackYard Chickens › Chicken Coop Plans › Missjenny's Chicken Brooder