What are some cheap ideas for a brooder.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Chickenlover614, Feb 21, 2015.

  1. Chickenlover614

    Chickenlover614 Hatching

    Feb 21, 2015
    I am receiving 25 baby chicks in March, and I need some ideas for a cheap and inexpensive brooder. I am building a coop right now and I should have it finished before they need to come out of the brooder. I have raised 8 baby chicks before and they were put in a dog cage. But I cant find a cage large enough for them. I am in need of some serious help here.
  2. song of joy

    song of joy Crowing

    Apr 22, 2012
    Central Pennsylvania
    Try a large cardboard box with a screen or hardware cloth on top. This should work for at least 2 weeks, and can be expanded by adding additional boxes.
  3. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Crowing

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    Card board box. Split them into smaller groups as they grow. Old rusty stock tanks work great too. I've picked up old shipping crates in business parks for free. Those are nice because you can stack them on top of each other. Just pull one side off and cover it with hardware cloth. Look on CL.
  4. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I hear Lowes and places like that carry cardboard packing boxes that come in various large sizes. Keep in mind that baby chicks DOUBLE in size every week! A smallish box the first week will seem entirely adequate, yet three weeks later, those chicks will be packed like sardines!

    The beauty of cardboard boxes is that you can put them together with duct tape. You can create a chick condo of spectacular design and dimensions! And the best thing about this arrangement of boxes is you can keep adding on boxes as the chicks grow and become more active. Boxes taped together can have doorways cut into the common walls and this way multi-room condos can be created. You could even make a two-story affair if you care to get really creative!

    I go nuts with my cardboard brooder condos and cut windows in them for lots of light and the chicks have the added advantage of being able to see humans walking around, therefore they're much less afraid. I cover the windows with see-through plastic.

    The most important detail, though, that nobody else will probably mention is that all of these boxes should have SIDE accesses. Why not just reach in from the top like everyone else does with their brooders? Because baby chicks have an instinctive fear of anything coming at them from above. It's in their DNA to fear danger from the sky, and every week they are grabbed at from the top of a brooder box, they become more skittish and fearful of being handled.

    By contrast, chicks handled carefully from the side, are calm and trusting of humans from the very first day and grow into calm and trusting adult chickens, easy to handle and a joy if you feel like making pets out of any of them. Either way, they'll be much easier to handle as grown chickens than chicks raised in brooders with a top access and grabbed from above.

    If you have card tables, you can put each box on its own stand and really make it easy on your back when you need to handle the chicks or clean the brooder. I pull a chair up and sit in perfect comfort when I play with my chicks, give them treats, or tidy up.

    You can't do all that with plastic tote bins. And it's much, much cheaper! If you hound an appliance store for discarded shipping boxes, you can have them for nothing!

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