Brooding chicks in empty coop rather than separate brooding pen


In the Brooder
Jan 14, 2016
We will be getting our newly hatched chicks (from a hatchery) in mid February and are making plans for brooding them. We don't have any chickens right now, so we are building a brand new coop and run. We're going to brood outdoor from day 1 and use a heating pad rather than a heat lamp and I'm wondering if it would be ok to just brood right in the new coop since it is vacant. I can see how it would be important to have a separate brooder if there were grown hens or roosters in the run but don't see a need to have a separate brooder when the coop seems acceptable and is unoccupied anyway. Am I missing something? The coop/run we will have will basically be this one except with a see through roof over the coop to let in light. We haven't had chickens since I was in high school (almost 25 years ago) and a mama hen always raised them to this will be my first time brooding. Thanks for any help!


In the Brooder
Jan 14, 2016
I forgot to mention that we plan on keeping the chicks in the "coop box" exclusively at first without access to the run.


In the Brooder
Nov 30, 2015
Hopefully some more experienced chicken people will chime in, but I have my 3 week old silkies in the empty coop as their brooder. I would've done it right away but my build was delayed. There are people on here who brood in the coop after 24 hrs of observation after they get them or hatch them. The super helpful Blooie is one :)

I have a 6x4 coop, and I just put a good amount of pine shavings on the floor, secured the stair step roost up out of the way (it swings up and hooks to the rafters) and put the heating pad cave against the back wall. I piled the shavings all around and behind it so it keeps in the heat. I put the food and hung the water bucket with poultry nipples (and bird bath heater inside) closer to the door at the opposite end of the heating pad. They are feathering out beautifully and are very happy in there!


Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
What is your climate?
Adding your location to your profile can help folks give better answers/suggestions.

I use heating pad for brooding
Could work outside, depending on climate.

You might need a white light for visibility inside the coop.
Might be hard to observe chicks behaviors for health reasons in that coop,
doesn't look like you can see inside without opening that large access door on the side.


12 Years
13 Years
Dec 11, 2009
Colorado Rockies
Brooding in a box indoors seems to be a custom that everyone adheres to and not many question why or is there a better way.

Since Blooie first posted the thread on brooding with a heating pad, my thinking on the matter really took off. I tried it with huge success. Now I urge folks to consider brooding right in their coop or run, regardless of adult chickens. It's simply superior to brooding chicks in the close confinement of a box brooder. It's convenient for us humans and healthier in every way for the chicks.

I'm really glad to see it's beginning to catch on.

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
Azygous hit the nail on the head. Folks brood inside because that's what "they recommend". You should do just fine brooding those chicks in the coop. Just be sure the bedding is nice and thick. I also suggest that you put a window in the coop. Your pic doesn't show what you have for ventilation (very important) or if there is a window. More details would be helpful. (including adding your general location to your profile)


In the Brooder
Jan 14, 2016
Thanks for the help, all. To clarify: I'm in Montana and it is cold here with the average for our area in February being 33 degrees. The coop will have a small upper window that is able to be opened, closed or partially closed and is reinforced with hardware cloth to keep it safe and secure when opened. This is strictly for ventilation as human access to the coop will only be through the hinged large wall (door). The run area is tall enough for a person to walk upright in as well.


11 Years
Apr 11, 2011
I'll clarify as well :)

Even though I can't brood in my coop because it doesn't have electricity, I still brood outside. I have a big hutch near the house. This time of the year I cover the half of the brooder where the heat lamp is with an old shower curtain and leave the other side open as the cool side and for ventilation. Theres one 250 watt heat lamp in the hutch. We've been in the mid to low 30s during the day and the teens and 20s at night. The chicks are happy in there, moving all over the brooder. They were hatched January 1st and have been in the hutch since they came out of the incubator :)

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