Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How To Set Up A Brooder

As with everything, there are many ways to set up a brooder.  Some people use fish tanks, others use coolers, some build their own out of wood.  There is no real right wrong way to make a brooder as long as the chicks have space to move around, the brooder is kept clean and dry,  and the chicks are always kept at a comfortable temperature.  To keep this as simple as possible (because it really is) we are not going to go into great detail about the components of the brooder.  One of my biggest fears of keeping chickens was setting up the brooder properly.  After we used it time and time again, I realized it was really not complicated at all. There are a few things you need to make a brooder a success. We are going to show you what we have used and what has worked the best for us.  You can use your imagination and make whatever suits your fancy!  If you have any specific questions PLEASE do not hesitate to comment or contact us via e-mail!  


Choose a "container."  We use a 16 gallon galvanized tub.  You can choose whatever you would like as long as there is enough space,  the brooder can be cleaned out and kept dry, and the chicks can't escape. The only thing you  should never use is a cardboard box.  It can get wet, deteriorate and can catch fire.  

Choose a bedding.  We use pine shavings.  

Buy a heat lamp and bulb.  We use a red bulb because it is easier for the chicks to sleep and they tend not to peck each other under the red lighting.  When buying a fixture make sure that the bulb wattage doesn't exceed the maximum wattage of the socket.  We recommend using a fixture with a ceramic socket.  

Choose a feeder and waterer.  You can pick these up at any feed store.  I personally like the plastic dispensers.  They clean up better than the galvanized.  Make sure you place water away from the heat lamp so that it stays as cool as possible and doesn't breed bacteria. 

Monitor your chicks to make sure that their temperature in their brooder is comfortable.  You will know if it is too cold (they will all be in a pile under the heat lamp) or too hot (they will all be as far away from the light as possible).  Here you see the chicks are all evenly dispersed.


  1. Curious - when the little ladies/fellas start to get bigger, where do you move yours? That's always my biggest issue - when and where to move them. I probably make it harder than I should... I've had 2 sets of babys that I've used a brooder for, and used 2 different methods and I just hate coming home to shavings everywhere when they're bigger.

  2. If the temperatures are high enough during the day, you should be able to move them outside in the coop. If your coop is already occupied with older birds, I would suggest wait until the chicks are fully feather then properly introduce them at that point. hope this helps

  3. The Galvanized Tub!!! Why did I never think of that? Brilliant, just brilliant. Maybe I will do some meat birds by the end of the summer after all.

    1. These wash tubs are great for many many things!


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