What to use as a brooder for 14?


12 Years
Aug 17, 2009
Carroll County, GA
Okay, chicks will be here next week from Ideal (hopefully Thu. from a Wed. ship - TX to GA).
Got my lamp, thermometer, waterer and will pick up feed and bedding this weekend, BUT what to use for a brooder. We should have 14 chicks if all goes well - I got insurance and requested no males for warmth. Most of what I've seen on the brooder thread that is not a construction project are tubs which I think will be too small for 14 (though we do have one of the large ones we store lawn chair cushions in). Since we are in the process of what my DH calls the "chicken castle" I really don't want to build an additional something that will only be temporary housing. What are folks using for a brood of around a dozen or so that will do until they are several weeks old? I'm not panicking - yet!!
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Some people use kiddie wading pools or an appliance carton (refrigerator, washing machine etc.). I had an old-fashioned laundry washtub that I used for my brooder. I would have to say that when I first got an order of 30, they seemed to have a ton of room in it. Only four were actually mine (combined order). It took a couple of weeks for everyone to pick up their chicks and my four were alone in the brooder for the last week and a half or so. I would have to say that by 4 weeks they were running out of space and ready to move outside. I.e., they grow AMAZINGLY quickly!

Another option might be to divide them into two brooders with 6 in each? You might be able to get away with two large rubbermaid tubs that way.
Thanks HeChicken! Maybe I want too much out of a makeshift item, but I'd like to keep them all together (so they get their pecking order worked out?) and provided they all survive, would a big appliance box work for that many over the course of 4-5 weeks? I don't think I can get a kiddie pool this time of year and I know I'd need a lid for that.
I use a 140 gallon stock tank in the garage with hardware cloth over the top to attach the light to and keep the cats out. When I'm done I wash it out really good and it becomes the "extra" tank for the cows during the hot summer months when the upper part of the creek dries up.
I currently have 25 chicks in one of our bathtubs. Thankfully we have more than one bathroom, so everyone just uses the master bath shower. This is the third time I've brooded chicks in there; it works really well. I line the bottom with newspaper, then papertowels over that for the first few days. I buy a shower curtain from the Dollar Store so I can just throw it out when I'm done with it. It also makes a great conversation piece when friends come to visit
Head on down to your local super Wal-Mart, or grocery store, and ask if they have any cardboard gaylord containers, or produce containers like what they have potatoes, or melons, or the like. They are about 4' x 3'6" and 2' high, with 7/16" thick walls. Should be plenty big enough, and best of all, usually FREE! Place a piece of plywood in it for a floor, and you're in business!
LOL, a question close to my heart!

My last hatch was 21 chicks- argh, they outgrew the plastic tub immediately. I split them into 2 tubs, which only lasted a week.

I finally moved them to the big garage. I put down heavy padded moving quilts on the concrete because it was Nov., covered the quilts with thick plastic, wood chips on top of that.

Made a BIG circle of chicken wire, using filled water jugs, cinder blocks and anything handy to hold the sides up and in place. Hung the heat lamp from a rafter above. Food and water. That lasted for
1-1/2 months, but by that time some were figuring out how to fly up and over!
They were rambling all over. The dogs were banned from the garage during that time.

It worked, but it was messy. I had one of the corrugated cardboard pieces from the grocery store, like they use on the bottom in displays. I wrapped that around the bottom to keep drafts out and wood chips in. It made it better, but all in all? Messy as could be, and soooooo much fun!
Thanks to all! I think I may try this - I checked and you have to call the night manager who handles re-stocking after 10 pm and see what they have that they will hold for you. I hope they are getting those large ones this time of year and maybe I could somehow join two together. I would get a large trough, but we'd really have no use for it later.

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