What all will I need?


10 Years
May 11, 2009
Cincinnati, Ohio
My chicks are coming, my chicks are coming... What all will I need? I am planning to use a plastic tote as a brooder. I want pine shavings, not cedar shavings, is that right? With paper towels for the first few days. My plan is to build a screen top, so nobody gets funny and tries to escape -- and so my 18-year-old cat doesn't leap into her second kittenhood. I have a clip on light -- what watt of bulb will I need? The waterer I have uses a screw on Mason jar into a galvanized base. Is there any reason not to use that? I plan to put marbles in the bottom and to raise it up on a block of wood. What is the preferred chick feed?

What emergency supplies should I have on hand? I have poly-vy-sol without iron... what else should I have, just in case?

I'm all excited,
Sounds good. You will need Chick Starter/grower feed to start. I use a 40 wat bulb for my chicks and I keep them in a plastic tote too. The only thing I didn't see on your list was a feeder for the food, and you are correct do not use cedar. Good luck with your new babies.
I have a question about using a plastic tote as a brooder....do you have to worry about the heat lamp getting it too warm and melting plastic? I was thinking of doing the same thing and someone asked me that question, and now I'm second guessing.
From what I understand chicks need to be kept at 95 to 100 degrees for the first week and then decrease by 5 degrees each week thereafter. (someone jump in to correct me if I am wrong.) Plastic totes would not melt at such a low temperature. It get hotter than that outside in the summer. I'm guessing the tote would not melt till the tenperature was nearer 200 degrees.

Perchance melting would occur if the light bulb were lain right onto the tote.

That's my thinkin'.

I know that excitement all too well!! It sounds like you have an excellent grasp on the necessities and in the same fashion as I am using. Great minds think alike!

You may want to get a bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar, the cloudy type is better. I use medicated chick starter crumbles and they gobble it down quickly! I use a 250 watt bulb and a stand to attach it. The brooder is a TV box w/ wire tops covering it, and mason jar feeders/waterers up on 2x4" blocks. I use paper towels since I got them on 2/19 and will try the pine bedding as the flooring litter.

Good Luck
Quick chick food tub is to get a small food storage tub (the small flat square ones) and cut a few holes in the lid and fill it with chick crumb. They can get to the chick crumb but cant throw it around!
CatDaddy, I do have ACV -- is this used from day one or only if there is a problem?

DaiquiriDuck -- thank you for that feed idea. I like to make things.

On the lights -- will those clip lights from Home Depot handle a 250 watt bulb? I am not sure what they are rated for.

What else do I need?

I used a plastic bin too.

Here is my set up
[/img] I only had 3 chicks but the stick was helpful. I have since used a larger plasitic bin and hung the heat lamp from the shower curtain rod and either raised or lowered the plastic bin with different height boxes to control heat. I also found those hot lamps in my bathroom made the brooder hot about 90 degrees so it is all relative. I got my heat lamp bulb at petsmart from the reptile aisle.

I used crushed walnutshells because I use them for my parakeets too I got it at petsmart because I had a hard time finding labled pine shavings - I found wood shavings but not pine and I was afraid of cedar. I did not use paper towels because all my chicks did well with the shells I had about an inch and a half deep in the brooder.

Put large fish rocks in the waterer or use a smaller waterer to avoid drowning. I switched early to a avian water miser waterer because they get it soooooo dirty otherwise. after about a week I guess I switched. I ordered it off a link on this site for clean waterer or poop free - it works well!

Enjoy your babies - There are a lot of people here who can answer your questions as they come up.

Oh, I love that -- chicks in the bathroom. I have a similar clip light and poles to attach it too. Thanks for all for tips. I didn't know about crushed walnuts. I swear, this is the most helpful site anywhere.

Thank you,
Sounds like you have all the right things getting started.
Some ideas:
The reason for the worry about the plastic bin is that 250watt is strong and if it does fall by accident, it will burn things. I do like the above set up though where the light is not clipped right to the tub. Also, make sure you have enough room for the chicks to get away from the heat lamp should it be too hot for them...sometimes the tubs are not big enough for them to escape, so if you see them scattered around the edges, they are trying to get away from the heat (and could smother one another). Keep the light on one side of the brooder, so they can move to the other side to regulate their temp. Pasty butt can occur if they are too hot or cold, as well.

I didn't use a light, I used a ceramic heat emitter (no light) so they can acclimate to regular day/night cycles without stress. You can find them at a reptile store or reptile section of pet stores (got mine from www.reptilesupply.com)

For safety, you can buy a better lamp guard than the one it comes with, looks like this:

Good Luck and have fun!! It's SO exciting to get chicks!

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