Baby chicks in a cardboard brooder

How to build a brooder for baby chicks in 5 minutes !


Once upon a time…

I recently needed a second brooder in the house when all the hatchings occurred at the same time in spring. I like to keep the chicks close to us during their first weeks. That way, it’s easier to watch over them.

Unfortunately, our second breeding cage was too big to fit in the kitchen !

Making an emergency brooder !

We quickly found a solution.

I used a big cardboard box (like the ones I use to send fertilized eggs), I taped the bottom to make sure it holds up, I stuck a piece of plastic (plastic bag or tarpaulin) on the bottom to make it last longer, a few wood shavings and linseed straw and we’re nearly done !

The only problem is the water supply because if you use a bowl the shavings keep getting inside it and the water is always dirty.

Water bottle attached to cardboard box

How to attach the water bottle

We do a small cut on the side of the box and hang a water bottle, like the ones for hamsters or rabbits. That way, the water stays clean!

We place a small heating plate, a plate of crushed grain and our brooder is ready to welcome its first baby chicks in just a few minutes !

Little fluffy monsters have been pecking the brooder for 4 months now and it’s still holding up !!

Let’s talk about the strengths and weaknesses of this brooder

Weaknesses :

  • Water resistance depending on the watering system and the protection placed on the bottom
  • Visibility can be a bad point because you will have trouble interacting with the little fluff balls 🙂

Strengths :

  • Cost is close to zero !
  • Comes in all the sizes you want !
  • 4 high sides provide an excellent protection against draught.
  • Can easily be changed entirely if needed.
  • Recyclable ! 🙂

Conclusion :

This brooder was an excellent idea, very affordable and easy to make in minutes. Doesn’t take up too much space and you can chose from various sizes. No need to store it at the end of the season, you can always burn it and keep the ashes for your chickens to bathe in !

Baby chick cardboard brooder with heating plate

Our second brooder for new borns and ill baby chicks

What about you ?

Any suggestions ?


Please share all your ideas in the comment section below !






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