Don’t have a hen willing to mother your chicks? No worries! Today, we will be presenting you with 22 chicken brooder plans that will solve that problem.
Brooders are vital in most handlers’ chicken-raising journey. It comes in handy to have one ready when none of your hens want to care for the chicks. Chicken brooders will not be able to teach the little ones what a broody hen could, but it will be able to give the warmth and protection the chicks need until they are ready to face the world.
As you will see later, chicken brooders come in all shapes and sizes. With all the varieties, we believe you would be able to find the best chicken brooder for you and your little critters.
Our first option is the best choice if you only need to tend to a few chicks. As the name suggests, the mini brooder is small enough to be brought indoors. With the shape and size of the mini brooder, it will not be hard to find a corner to place it. It will allow you to bring the chicks inside, and it will not be an obstacle in the way.
A little tote or anything similar would be great for this one. Just make sure you have a feeder and waterer that would fit.
2. Tote Brooder
If you have more than a handful of chicks, then the mini brooder will not be enough. Each chick needs about 6 inches of space, and this will grow larger as they grow older. A large tote will work for a larger number of chicks.
It may not be small, but with its shape, you would most probably still be able to find a corner to set it down so it will not be in the way.
Another great option to consider is the trough brooder. It can be your go-to brooder as there is not much to alter with the trough. You only need to set the necessities up, and it is ready to use. It is the best one if you are not good at handling hardware tools.
On the other hand, if you do not want to stick with the trough brooder, it is a good idea to keep it as a backup brooder just in case there is something wrong with your main brooder and you need to move the chicks temporarily to fix it.
4. Kiddie Pool Brooder
The kiddie pool brooder is one of the common ones in the poultry world. Maybe, that is because the materials for this one are easy to acquire. Furthermore, it is easy to do but does the job well.
This brooder would give you a good view of your little ones while you sip your morning coffee. A great way to start a morning, don’t you agree?
As the name suggests, this one is similar to the previous brooder. However, this one’s structure makes it somewhat portable as it allows you to bring the cooper indoors or outdoors.
If you are letting them bathe in a little bit of sunlight outside, the second kiddie pool can act as a roof that would protect your little chicks if ever it starts raining.
6. Wooden Brooder
If you want a good old fashion brooder, then the wooden brooder might be for you.
There is no doubt that this will keep your little chicks warm and cozy until they are ready to tackle the world. Furthermore, it would also be a great project if you are into woodwork DIYs. It is also a great choice if you usually have baby chicks on your hands. Since the wooden brooder is made up of sturdy material, it would take a long time to wear it down.
This one is another type of wooden brooder.
If you cannot have the little chicks inside your home, then this would be great. With its structure, you can be sure that the little ones would be warm, cozy, and safe inside of this brooder even if you place it outside. It is also a great option if you plan to have a permanent brooding area.
8. The Brooder with a Perch
This brooder allows the little chicks to experience the real deal. Since chickens roost when they sleep, adding a perch would permit them to do that at the brooder. Just make sure the rest is not that high, or they might ignore it. Additionally, this is also a little extra the little ones would enjoy compared to just plain flat flooring.
If you want to provide your chicks with ample space for exploration within the brooder, then the two-story brooder might be an ideal choice. The two-story brooder will give the chicks plenty of room to roam and explore. Never a boring time in the brooder!
Furthermore, it might just be the thing for your flighty chicks as this allows them to “fly” without hurting themselves when they fall.
10. Multi-level Brooder
Who says you cannot raise more than one flock of chicks? The multi-brooder is a good choice if you want to go into the poultry business or if you want to raise an army of chickens.
While it’s possible to make this brooder quite tall, we suggest not making it taller than your own height for ease of maintenance and observation. This would make it difficult to monitor the levels that are above you, and that might cause more accidents than usual.
The expandable brooder is the best choice if you constantly have chicks who need extra loving care but never know how many chicks you are anticipating for each batch. On the other hand, it is also a great choice if you can’t commit to a large brooder or you dislike transferring the chicks to a bigger brooder when they start to grow.
Its structure will allow you to take care of as few or as many chicks that your chickens would throw at you!
12. Collapsible Brooder
If you can’t commit to a pre-built brooder because you constantly need space then the collapsible brooder might be the answer to your problems. As the name suggests, it is collapsible, and you can build it or take it apart when necessary.
The collapsible brooder might also be the best choice if you don’t constantly have chicks that need some tending.
If you have chicks from known foragers, then you might want to hone that skill early on, and the outdoors brooder might be the answer to that. Unlike the usual brooder, the bottom of this brooder is open so that your baby foragers in the making can practice the skill already. On the other hand, it is also great if you want the little ones to get a taste of the world early in the process.
14. Side-Screen Brooder
Most of the brooders we have discussed so far have the screens placed over the top. If you just want to sit down and watch your little chicks, then this one might be for you.
If you want to do this, we suggest that you place the brooder where you are sure the cold wind will not get nearby. Since the screen is on the side there is a higher chance that cold air would get in.
Do you have an old dresser you are thinking of throwing away? Hold that thought and hear us out first.
Why don’t you make it into a brooder? That may sound absurd at first, but if you think about it, a dresser is already similar to a brooder. You just need to make a few adjustments here and there, and you already have a mighty fine brooder. Furthermore, it is a great way to integrate the brooder inside your home if you plan to keep it indoors. It would blend right in!
16. Wall Brooder
Another great way of integrating the brooder to its surrounding is by attaching it to the wall. This brooder would allow you to conserve some room as you will be able to use the bottom of the brooder to store things.
However, this might not be a good idea if you move around often or you’re not sure how long you’re settling down in an area. If you plan on doing this, make sure you’re ready to commit!
Do you have an old cabinet?
I think you already have an idea where this is going, so no use prolonging it. Why don’t you make it into a brooder? Just think about it! It’s going to be one of the most aesthetic brooders you will probably see. It’s another way to integrate the brooder into your home if you plan on keeping it indoors. On the other hand, it would look just as charming if you place it outdoors.
18. Barnyard Brooder
If I had to pick my favorite, it would probably be the barnyard brooder. It was a toss-up between the cabinet brooder or this one. While the latter is still up there, I think nothing on this list beats the charm of the barnyard brooder.
However, this brooder is not all about looks. It also can protect at least 30 little chicks from any weather. Furthermore, it can also house anything your chicks would need.
Earlier, we showed you brooders made up of kiddie pools. This time, let us interest you in turning your old fish tank into a brooder!
It is the perfect brooder if you plan to place your little chicks indoors. It gives you a clear view of the inside while giving them the protection and safety they need. Don’t forget to install some hardware cloth if you have pets, as it helps protect the chicks from potential harm.
You can say that the foam brooder is another type of collapsible brooder. It is easy to put up and take apart as well. However, it might not be a fine choice for the outdoors or if you have lots of kids or pets. Play-fighting or a simple game of tag might break the foam brooder and might cause an accident we all do not want to see.
21. Cardboard Brooder
This next brooder we have here is a fun project to try, and hey, maybe it will be the perfect one for you.
The cardboard brooder is one of the cheapest and easiest on the list. If you’re not yet ready to commit to a brooder or taking care of some little chicks, then the cardboard brooder will allow you to care for a few chicks without having to commit to anything yet. If it does not work out, then you can just throw or recycle the cardboard.
Let us end with something big – figuratively and literally.
The Ohio brooder is one of the first brooders that has been invented. It has been around for years, but it is still in use today. If you want something that is proven and tested, then the Ohio brooder is for you.
Depending on what you need, this one can house hundreds of baby chicks. It is one of the best choices if you want to start commercializing and marketing your little chicks.
There you have it, 22 chicken brooder plans!
Brooders are your inanimate superheroes that come in and save the day if you do not have any hens ready to mother some baby chicks. Even if we want to, we cannot be with them 24/7 as well. Therefore, the next best option would be to make the best brooders we could for our chicks!
Brooders are one of the necessities on the farm, and it is also one of the most enjoyable projects you could make. It is just like making a miniature house for little beings! With a little bit of creativity, almost anything can be a brooder. Furthermore, chicken brooders come in all different shapes and sizes, and creating your own is one of the best ways to put your own style on your land.
With the 22 plans we have presented, we hope we’ve helped you find the best chicken brooder for your needs.
Joseph Hudson has been raising chickens for over 15 years. In 2018, he completed the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. He currently raises over 1400 chickens on his 7.5-hectare farm. He keeps sharing his experience on raising healthy and happy chickens on Chicken Scratch The Foundry.