DIY Chicken Brooder that Costs Nothing!
Are you thinking of getting chicks this spring?
If so, you are going to need a chicken brooder. This is the box where you keep the little chicks for the first few weeks until they are big enough to go outside into the coop. There are a million ways to make a brooder or repurpose something else for this purpose. Basically, you just need a decent sized space with a floor that can be filled with sawdust, walls to keep the chicks enclosed and a heating source.
With our first 8 chicks, we used a big rubber tub as our chicken brooder. It worked just fine for that small quantity of chicks. This year, we almost tripled our number of chicks so we needed something bigger as a brooder. We wanted to keep our costs down so we got creative with things we had laying around the homestead!
Most farms and homesteads have a “scrap wood” pile somewhere and that is what we used for the entirety of this project. We did not have to buy anything to finish this and that was a great feeling!
1. Brooder Base
The base of our brooder is made from two pallets. We always have pallets laying around to store hay on. Pallets are cheap and easy to source (we usually can get them free) so it makes for a good wood source for this project. It also allows for some air to circulation under the brooder which keeps the chicks warmer. We covered the top of the pallets in scrap plywood to form the floor. We left a bit of the pallet uncovered (about a foot) and it makes for a perfect spot to store the feed for the chicks.
2. Brooder Sides
To form the sides of the brooder, we screwed in 2×4’s into each corner. Then, we attached scrap plywood to form the sides. We went about 25″ high to make sure our little chicks can’t fly or jump out and our scrap plywood happened to be 1/4″ thick.
3. Center Brace and Heat Lamp
We added an extra support in the center of the long sides. This was just another 2×4 placed vertically. this also allowed us to screw a horizontal 2×2 across the top and that is what we suspended our heating lamp from. As the chicks get older, we can raise this as needed.
We have had this brooder in action with our chicks for a few weeks now and it is working great. They have plenty of space, stay really warm and it is certainly sturdy enough that they can’t get out. When they are bigger, we may put some mesh over the top just to keep them extra secure but we aren’t there yet. We have a feeder and waterer down in there with them and I love how there is plenty of floor space for that without taking away from the chicks space.
We built this out of scrap wood so it cost us nothing. I suggest looking into your own scrap wood pile or sourcing some scrap wood from elsewhere for this to be a cheap project. The wood doesn’t need to be brand new for a project like this! However, if you want to buy new, you could easily complete this project with only buying 2 2×4’s and 2 sheets of plywood.
Homestead projects can add up quickly. I love finding ways to reuse and repurpose what we already have to complete the projects we need to do without breaking the bank. A little bit of creativity goes such a long way! I hope our $0 DIY Chicken Brooder inspires you to get creative and building some for $0 yourself!