I have an idea for a brooder . . .

Whispering Winds

11 Years
Jan 14, 2009
Bond County, Illinois
I am going to be ordering chicks here pretty quickly, just can't decide WHO to order from, or just drive to Missouri and pick them up from the Lebanon, Mo. hatchery that i have heard very good things about . . . but I have a part time house cat and I KNOW I am going to have to have a lid on my brooder. . .I thought I could buy a BIG plastic tub, cut the lid out on top (there is usually a indented section in the center, just follow those lines,) and put chicken wire on it, my husband is really good at figuring out how to attach and secure things . . .and then put the heat lamp either in a cut out area of the screening, or some other corner of the lid . . .has anyone ever done this? I know Pierre, the old cat will be tempted and I don't want to have to be mean to him, as he is over 13 years old. This set up will let me see them without having to list the lid everytime, and keep Pierre out of trouble. You guys always have such neat time efficient ideas on here, I thought someone might have done a brooder something like this idea.


Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
South Georgia
People use them for brooders all the time, if you are only getting a few chicks. You can set the heat lamp on the wire -- but you will need a way to raise it pretty quick, as it will get hot in there. Figure 0.5 sq ft per chick if you will get them out of there within 4 weeks; otherwise, figure 1 sq ft per chick.


10 Years
Apr 23, 2009
Central Virginia
i had a brooder similar to that... although i just didn't use the lid, and took a big piece of screen/hardware cloth and put it over the top. i set the heat lamp on top of that. it worked just just fine.

now i'm using a giant rabbit/ferret/guinea pig cage

it has a big pan to hold in pine shavings and paper towels, and it is around 20.5" tall x 40.5" long x 18.5" wide... i keep up to 6 chicks in it (they'll have room to get bigger until they go out in the coop)


10 Years
Apr 26, 2009
North Berwick Maine
I'll have to post a picture of mine. We only have 3 chicks but there is room for a few more. We bought a sun dome. The kind of thing you would use for a baby or dog at the beach or park. It has a door that zips open and two sides that have a sturdy mesh. Our heat lamp is cliped to a table near one of the mesh sides so we can move it if it gets too hot or cold. We kept one of the mesh sides closed when they needed it really warm and rolled up the "blind" when they could use more ventilation. It was $25. Works great and folds up tiny when we are done with it.


10 Years
Jun 11, 2009
We use one of my DH large livestock watering troughs, the big oval rubber ones. We have different sizes and just size up as the chicks need more room. We hang the heat lamp by the ceiling over one end of it and he made a top to go over it by using small chicken wire and encasing the ends with wood, kinda like a screen. This is enough to keep the peachicks and pheasants from flying out and to keep my little dog away from it, too!

~*Sweet Cheeks*~

10 Years
Mar 12, 2009
Medford, Oregon
Depending on how many chicks you get, they will be fine in the rabbit cage or large rubbermade tub for maybe a week before they really start to scratch and practice flying.

After that, you'll really want to provide much more space so they can fly around, have things to roost on or climb on. Put in chunks of sod for them to eat and scratch. They really don't have much room in there once you put in the feeder and waterer and soon enough, they'll be kicking bedding up in those.

You need to give them something to do so they don't pick on each other.

I have three active cats and dogs in my house, so I used hardware cloth over the top of the stock tank brooder. Cats can get their paws in chicken wire. I liked having the hardware cloth on top to rest the heat lamp on it in the beginning then to serve as a preventitive of the lamp falling in the brooder as I raised it higher to lower the temp. Strongly recommend RED heat lamp. I think they sleep better and are calmer overall.

If you don't want to spend the money for tubs they'll out-grow, just get sturdy cardboard boxes.

Good luck and enjoy your little ones as they don't stay that way for long.


10 Years
Apr 13, 2009
Cortland New York
I used totes but they were in our addition (which is an outside deal like a breezeway) dear hubby has some of his tools in there. I had my hubby make one cover from wood and chicken and wire big enough for the tote th other one which is an infirmary right now because I had a buff orpington get injured by other chickens just has a piece of wire that was big enough to go over being held down by two pieces of wood. Again, my dog and cat can not get to the tote level.

I've seen people on the forum do what you are talking about the. The totes work great until they get to big for them.

Did you check out the very first thread to raising baby chicks. It says "BROODER thread! Post pics of your brooders! " Check it out. There is a ton of pics.
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10 Years
Apr 11, 2009
Halifax, Pennsylvania
I did the exact thing you are talking about and used zip tied and driled holes to secure the fencing on the top... let me see if I can dig up a picture....


it's not the best, but you can see what I mean. good luck!

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