Our son Spencer will be three years old in May. We're planning to get 6 chicks the first week of March. Our first impulse was to use a cardboard box for a brooder, but we didn't feel good about the potential for the cardboard to soak up odor and dampness, so we pulled together some scrap wood and set to building a box. Spencer calls this his "Chicken House".
Spencer, excited about getting started!!
I wanted a design that would allow us to keep the brooder in the house for 8 weeks, in a spare room. Problem is, we have two house cats. So the brooder has to be built to keep cats out. We needed something with a top that opens and closes.
I also wanted my boys, 1 and 3 years old, to be able to watch the chicks without being able to touch the chicks. So we planned on a frame in the front to hold a 2x4' piece of plexiglass.
To bottom of the coop is 3/4" plywood, because I had some on hand and for stability. The sides and back are 1/2" plywood. The lid was built with furring strips, which are cheap at lowes, and a Kreg jig. If you've never used a Kreg jig I highly recommend them for work like this. Very quick and easy to work with butt joints.
Some realatively cheap hardware from Lowes, we bought a set of hinges, two lid supports and two latches for around $15.
You can't see it (because it's clear) but the plexiglass is installed here. We bought .080 gauge, which seemed very flimsy to me at first, but once it was in the frame it was fine. It was $25, compared to $57 if you get the thick stuff.
Overall dimensions are 4' wide x 2' deep x 2' high.
Total project cost less than $55 because we had most of the wood laying around as scrap. I think we could have came in under $100 - $120 if we had to buy everything. We're ready for our chicks. Super excited to get them.