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10 DIY Chicken Brooders You Can Make Today (with Pictures)

Ashley Bates

May 26, 2021

Raising baby chicks is an enriching experience practiced by chicken enthusiasts everywhere. There’s something about the magical experience of watching your chicks grow from hatchlings that attach you to your flock even more—but brooders can be expensive.

You probably already know that, which is why you’re trying to find potentially cheaper alternatives you can make at home. Or maybe you simply want to take on a creative project you can enjoy. Regardless of your reason, here are 16 DIY chicken brooders you can make yourself.

new chicken divider

1. Easy DIY Chicken Brooder Box

This completely inexpensive chicken brooder is ideal for a quick and easy setup. We all have an old plastic tote in the house we aren’t using. Chances are you will have all the needed supplies on hand, or at least most of them.

Each one of these very few supplies is super cheap and easy to find. You can whip up a brooder in no time, and you might not even need to make a store run.

Materials
  • 50-gallon plastic tote
  • 25-foot reel of chicken wire
  • Zip ties
Tools
  • Electric drill
  • ¼-inch drill bit
  • Wire cutters

2. DIY Chicken Brooder Plans

These DIY chicken brooder plans are perfect if you want to expand your flock. There comes a time in every chicken owner’s life when your regular brooder starts to get a little cramped. This brooder creates a great range of space, and it’s straightforward to make.

The DIY tutorial is thorough, making things easy to navigate. Plus, you can use it from brooding season to brooding season.

Materials
  • 8 – 3′ 1×4’s
  • 4 – 2′ 1×4’s
  • 2 – 3′ 1×2’s
  • 2 – 2′ 2″ 1×2’s
  • 2 – 2′ 2″x3′ sheets of galvanized steel hardware cloth
  • 2 cabinet hinges
  • Drawer handle
  • Torx screw
  • 1½ inch fencing staples
Tools
  • Drill/screwdriver
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Zip ties
  • Wire cutters
  • Rubber mallet

3. Hitching Post Lane DIY Chick Brooder

This Hitching Post Lane DIY Chick Brooder is a straightforward choice that only requires a few supplies. The lid stays completely latched, so nothing can get in or out. That helps to protect your chicks from other household pets or children.

The maker doesn’t specify how she cut the tote lid. But with our research, we found you can use a box cutter, jigsaw, or fine-toothed saw. Just a few alterations and screws—and voila! You have a brooder.

Materials
  • 54-gallon tote
  • Hardwire cloth
  • Puppy pads
  • Heating element
Tools
  • Screws and bolts
  • Jigsaw, box cutter, or fine-toothed saw
  • Drill or screwdriver

4. Quick DIY Dog Crate Chicken Brooder

If you have an old dog crate that you no longer use, it is perfect for a brooder. The only thing you will need to ensure is that none of the chicks can weasel themselves through the bars. To prevent that, this DIY uses cut cardboard to wrap around the inside of the enclosure.

Put a food and water feeder in the cage with some chick-friendly bedding, and you have yourself a brooder—for practically free.

Materials
  • Medium dog crate
  • Cardboard
  • Bedding
  • Feeder & waterer
Tools
  • Box cutter
  • Zip ties

5. Cheap, Easy Chicken Brooder

This Cheap, Easy Chicken Brooder isn’t a step-by-step tutorial, but you can put together the pieces independently. They used a plastic dog crate that sections in half. Then, they split it in half to create an open, long space—fitting over 25 chicks!

You just have to make the top. In this image, they used chicken wire attached to measured and cut boards to close off the opening. If you have a plastic dog crate, you can easily rig up a topper and brood some babies.

There is no supply list available, but you can fill in the blanks if you’re a visual learner.

6. Survival Prepper Homemade DIY Chicken Brooder

This Survival Prepper Homemade DIY Chicken Brooder is a little bit more intricate, but if you’re crafty—it might just be the best. Plus, according to the writer, it costs roughly $40 in supplies, not including tools. So, even though it’s a little more expensive, it’s still affordable for most.

The DIY is very thorough, providing detailed step-by-step instructions on how to assemble. There are also images as you go along to guide you visually. If you can follow along easily, it is a sturdy brooder that you can use for chick batches to come.

Materials
  • Hardware cloth
  • 2 — 8’ 1×2’s
  • 1 — 8’ 2×2’s
  • 40 x 20⅜ x 7 plastic storage bin
Tools
  • Hammer or drill
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Nails and screws

7. Chicken Coop Brooders

If you’re looking for a fast, hassle-free option that is affordable and requires no assembly—look no further. Just go to your local Walmart or a dollar store near you. Buy a medium-sized kiddie pool and fill it full of full activities for your chicks.

Not only is this such an easy setup—it’s also a breeze to clean out when the time comes. Another plus is that it gives you easy access to your chicks, so you can socialize them without having to get them out of their space.

8. Medical Coding Tabs Chicken Brooder with Hanging Light

This Medical Coding Tabs Chicken Brooder with Hanging Light fixture is an awesome choice for someone who’s a pro at woodworking. It doesn’t have any step-by-step instructions—just a visual image of two different-sized boxes. You can quickly whip up a similar concept with scrap wood materials.

You will need to make two square cuts and three rectangular cuts to make the box. Then, use smaller pieces of wood to form the hanger for the heat lamp. If you can take an image and make it your own—there’s tons of creative freedom here.

9. Hometalk DIY Chicken Brooder

The Hometalk DIY Chicken Brooder is a handy little contraption that works well for brooding. Much like other DIYs, this idea uses a plastic tote with a lockable lid. On top, they cut two squares—one bigger than the other slightly. They covered each hole with chicken wire.

The creator of this DIY speculates that the two holes account for airflow, so your chicks aren’t stuffy inside of the box. You can secure the light fixture above the tote, but it does have to connect to another object of your choice.

10. Ana White Chicken Brooder

If you are all about aesthetics and want an eye-catching design that adds to the charm of your home—this is an exciting idea for you. You can basically make this design out of any old cabinet and repurpose it as you see fit. You can do it easily if you have experience with refinishing furniture.

Or you can follow these DIY instructions to make one from scratch—it’s up to you! In this particular DIY, she builds the project from the ground up, going through each detailed step to guide you.

Materials
  • 1 — ¾-inch plywood
  • 2 — 8’ 1×2’s
  • 2 — 8’ 1×3’s
  • 8 — 8’ 2×2’s
  • 1 — 3’ 1×8’s
  • 36 inches hardware cloth or chicken wire (4 feet)
  • 3 set of hinges
  • ½- inch staples
  • Knobs, handles, latches
  • 1¼ inch finish nails
  • ¼-inch pocket hole screws
  • ½-inch pocket hole screws
  • Elmer’s wood glue
  • Elmer’s wood filler
Tools
  • Tape measure
  • Drill
  • Speed square
  • Circular saw
  • Pencil
  • Jigsaw
  • Safety glasses
  • Sander
  • Ear protection
  • Staple gun
  • Kreg jig
  • Level

new little chicken divider

Final Thoughts

Brooding chicks doesn’t have to break the bank. Many brooder ideas are totally inexpensive and easy to rig up. Even if you’re a hobbyist and simply want something cool to build, you can find many exciting concepts that will hold up over several uses.

No matter what you were looking for in homemade brooders, we hope you have a good idea for your future plans. Your chicks will be warm and cozy in something that you made—consider it a bonding experience.

SEE ALSO: 10 DIY Chicken Nesting Box Plans You Can Make Today (with Pictures)


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Ashley Bates

Ashley Bates is a freelance dog writer and pet enthusiast who is currently studying the art of animal therapy. A mother to four human children— and 23 furry and feathery kids, too – Ashley volunteers at local shelters, advocates for animal well-being, and rescues every creature she finds. Her mission is to create awareness, education, and entertainment about pets to prevent homelessness. Her specialties are cats and dogs.