Building The Best Chick Brooder and How we came up with the Design
When it is time for us to start raising chicks. I will go outside and bring in a 100-gallon water trough. I load it up with wood shavings a waterer feeder and I try to find a good way to clamp the brooder light on to it. When the chicks start getting big enough to jump out or fly out I will put a piece of screen on top of the water trough “brooder”.
I have always wanted something better but I didn’t want some big monstrosity. That I need to store for 99% of the year that would take up too much room. So I have always just put it off. This winter we welcomed a new addition to our family. Our crazy tuxedo cat Figaro. He is a fun wild cat. If you have seen any of our videos lately you will see what I am talking about. The worse part is that he is one fierce Hunter!
He can hunt his paper balls like crazy. You throw him a piece of paper that is all scrunched up and he shows it no mercy and plays better fetch then Pluto. The look in his eye is pure instinct. Which will be a good thing if a mouse ever finds its way into our house. It won’t last a minute. That being said I knew I had to build a Figaro proof Chick Brooder this year before we get our first order of chicks.
I didn’t want to build any old chick brooder. I had to build one that we could take apart that could store easily. I also knew that I couldn’t go to the Lumnah Acres Lumbah yard and build one out of our rough sawn pile. That just wouldn’t be fair to all the Modern Steaders that would want to make one for themselves. And I was right we got over 1000 thumbs up in less than 24 hours on the video. Thank you.
We designed one that you can make out of 1 sheet of plywood, 3 ~ 1×4 8 foot long pine boards, chicken wire or hardware cloth and some staples.
Here is the Material List
~ 1~ 4×8 sheet of 1/2 inch Plywood
~ 3~ 1″x4″x8′ pine boards
~ 1~ 24″ wide 10′ long roll of Chicken Wire or Hardware Cloth. If you built the $30 Chicken Coop you should have enough chicken wire left over
~ 3/4 inch long staples
~ 24~ 3/4″ long pan head screw
You cut the plywood into 4 equal pieces of 23 7/8″ by 4 foot. Then you need to stack the plywood on top of each other and square up the edges. If you have a clamp, clamp them so they wont move on you. Then you make a mark for a notch that will be cut out on both sides. They are marked at 2 inches and 2.5 inches. And measure 1 foot long. You make these same cuts on all 4 pieces of plywood. The plywood locks together. Two are installed with the notch facing up and 2 are installed with the notch facing down.
I used my DeWalt Circular saw to cut out the notch and took a 1/2″ chisel and knocked out the ends. If it’s not making sense here is the video of me making our chick brooder.
Our Figaro proof hinged door uses 3 eight foot 1″x4″ pine boards. You cut 4 pieces 4 feet long out of 2 boards. All ends are mitered at 45 degrees like a picture frame. Then the last board is cut into 4 pieces that are 2 feet long.
You will assemble the 4-foot and 2-foot pieces together to make a rectangle. The video shows all of this. You will want to glue the joints. I stapled the 4 boards together on the mitered joints. You can also put a small trim screw in the sides to help hold them together.
Once the boards are assembled to make your door frames. You will need to cut 2 pieces of hardware cloth or chicken wire to 46 inches long. You will attach one of them to each door frame using your staples. I used crown staples that were 3/4 of an inch long in my air stapler.
The hinges are plastic like the ones we used in the $30 Dollar Chicken Coop. you could use a shampoo bottle, laundry detergent bottle or a Windshield washer fluid bottle. It is thick plastic. Make the hinges 3 inches by 3 inches. Fold them back and forth in middle to make a good hinge bend before installing. Also, pre-drill the 6 holes for the 6 screws per hinge.
Attach the hinges to the door frames using a pan head screw that is no longer than 3/4 of an inch long. I placed my hinges 4 inches from each edge and spaced the other two evenly apart.
You need to drill 6 ~ 3/16″ holes in one of the door frames. 2 of the holes will be drilled in the back center and drill 2 in each side. You will put a duplex nail in these holes to lock the top from sliding around. You can install a latch on the front door if you have a crazy cat like us that you are afraid of getting to your chicks
It is meant to be placed on the floor with cardboard or newspaper under it as the base. After it is assembled you fill it with 2 inches of pine shavings. There is a nice feeder, automatic chick waterer, and brooder lamp I set up in our brooder. Here is a video of how I set up our brooder
If you purchase the Feeder, Automatic chick waterer or brood lamp. Or for that matter, any item from www.coopsnmore.com use the promo code Lumnah at check out to receive 10% off. They offer free shipping also on their website!
Watching the video should help if you have any questions~
Coopsnmore.com is an affiliate link.
*Some of the links in this post may contain affiliate links, which I will earn a commission on if purchases are made at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Lumnah Acres.
An excellent build article about an equally excellent brooder – I’ll definitely be revisiting this if I end up getting any hatchlings in the future and I’m looking forward to seeing you put it to use later this month! 🙂
I am excited to hear you a thinking about getting some chicks!
This could not have come at a more perfect time. We’re due to get our first set of chicks next month. Thank you so much for the detailed instructions. I’m getting about 15 chicks (assuming all are alive!). What would you say the max capacity of this awesome brooder is?
I am think 40 I will know better after we get our first batch in a few weeks
Thank you, we needed this information.
Al, thanks for this brooder build, it is a great idea, and good timing for me as well as chicks are coming next month (2 dozen icelandics)….also thanks for the review of the waterer and lamp !…May I suggest putting a small bolt and nut or a small lynch pin in the chick warmer chain, hate to see figero be up there playing and slide the hex key out of chain so warmer drops into dry bedding…poof …chicken nuggetts !!!
I love your YouTube videos and always tag like. For some reason I can’t leave a comment on any YouTube video, so having just watch you removing the wasp nest I wanted to give you this link. It has a photo of a nest exactly like yours.
Super site, reading this all the way from Ireland. We run a leaflet distribution company here in Dublin would love to get my site looking like this, ken http://www.leafletdelivery.ie
Wow! This can be one particular of the most beneficial blogs We have ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Excellent. I’m also a specialist in this topic therefore I can understand your hard work.
nice easy build ,thank’s foe posting
We just made this brooder for our 7 chicks. They quickly outgrew their first plastic tub brooder. Thank you for making this tutorial. It did cost us a bit more to make because we live in CA and everything is wayyyy more expensive out here. It also took us about 5 hours, but we are novices. I loved this build!
Great idea, thank you. I presume you put them on wood shavings? What heat lamp do you use please? Helen in Australia