Brooder in a Box

Baby Chick in My Crate Brooder

Something else good came out of my remodeled kitchen, a box I can use for a brooder for this year’s baby chicks.   For those of you unfamiliar with rasing chickens a brooder is a substitute for a mother.  Baby chicks need lots of help to stay warm and without a mother the responsibility falls to you.

Commercial facilities and folks who have lots of baby chicks every year build or buy permanent brooders.  It keeps the chicks at the right temperatures and prevents drafts that can cause chills.    Though the downy chicks look cuddly warm, until they fully feather out at 6 to 8 weeks later they can’t regulate body temperature.  So for that period you are the mother hen and responsible to keep them warm and out drafts.

Those of us with backyard flocks make temporary brooders. Usually I use a large dog crate surrounded by a towel to keep the drafts away from the peeps and hold in the heat.  Other folks used large totes, and cardboard boxes.  Though my crate has served me  well in the past, one of the problems is chicks like to scratch around and I end up with lots of shavings all over the place. Six weeks of that produces lots of dust too.   It is my least favorite part of baby chicks.

This year I am going to try using the cardboard box option .    I am hoping that this option will cut down on the mess my chicks make.    I am also hoping that a box brooder will allow me to move them out of the house earlier than the crate method has in the past.

I will keep you posted in March when I get chicks on how it goes.


2 comments on “Brooder in a Box

  1. Hi Lady, Back in the dark ages when I was raising chicks, I found an old metal washtub with the brooder light hanging over it at a height to keep them warm without roasting them, plus in an outbuilding so no drafts with the shavings or sawdust as in your picture worked well for me. Best of luck – cause I sure appreciate the occasional fallout of fresh eggs that make their way to Helena.

  2. Last year, we brooded four chicks in a plastic storage bin in our guest bathroom. It did the trick. This year, we are adding six chicks to the mix, and I’m building a wooden brooder out of scrap wood. I’m making it extra big with high sides, and we’ll either keep in the basement (which may be too drafty) or in the spare bedroom. Not a great system, but it’ll do.

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