DIY Cardboard Box Chick Brooder

Hey ya’ll it’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted anything on AHWK, but that’s all about to change. I have a new adventure I’ve embarked upon and wish to share with all of you! I have decided to start raising chickens and my first chicks are set to arrive this week and the preparations have begun. My family is over the moon excited!F63A230D-719A-4E36-A9D2-62682BE9973AWe are starting with 15 Rhode Island Red female chicks. I decided on these particular chickens due to their high egg production, their extra large brown eggs, and research says they’re friendly and docile which I like since my little ones are overly friendly. My family and I are all about quality and freshness when it comes to our food ingredients, so why not have fresh, REAL free range eggs? I purchased my chicks online from Murray McMurray Hatchery. After much research and an excessive YouTube deep dive into raising chickens, I jumped head first into this adventure with my eyes closed.

I am currently setting up the brooder for my chicks, to house them for the first 6 weeks of their feathery life. Many experienced chicken farmers have recommended affordable alternatives to expensive brooders. I made my decision to go with a DIY cardboard box chick brooder. I’ve been hoarding some XL cardboard boxes in my back porch which my husband has been thrilled about (NOT!) and now I have a purpose for them, YAY me! I’m going to share with you the step-by-step process of putting together my DIY cardboard box chick brooder.

First, I used a utility knife to break down the two boxes and open them up.

I attached the 2 XL boxes with zip ties on the top corners. I used the drill to drill two holes into the top flap of the boxes and zip tied them together to get the boxes to basically have some height, to avoid the chicks being able to fly up and perch on the top of the box as they get older. Which many chicken farmers said they would most definitely attempt to do.

Third step, I used a small box I had on hand (YES, another box I hoarded. Don’t judge!). I opened it up with a utility knife and used it to fill the gap in the middle of the chick brooder floor so I don’t have to lay the chicks bedding for my brooder directly on the porch floor. I’m trying my best to keep it as clean as possible.

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Next, I opened my bag of pine shavings that I purchased at my local Tractor Supply (of course I picked it up curbside, being a good citizen and all, practicing social distancing) I emptied half the bag inside my brooder and viola, they have a house!

But we’re not done quite yet! Now I have to set up the feeder, waterer and most importantly the heating lamp. I’m utilizing a 1.5-lb. feeder that holds up to 1.5 lbs. of feed. Waterer has a 1.5-qt. capacity. Also, a 8″ ground feeder that has 12 feeding holes (6 per side) and a covered top to keep out debris. Last, a 250W red heat lamp bulb and 10.5″ reflector lamp which clamps it will make it significantly easier to set up without having to hang overhead. The easier the better! All of these items came inside a Poultry Beginner Kit by Double Tuf I found online for a whopping $24.99! Can’t beat that! Whenever I purchase something, there isn’t a better feeling then getting a good deal!


For the feeder and waterer I decided to hang them to avoid all the messiness that comes with the chicks stepping all over the feed and water. Side note: I read that you should put rocks or marbles inside the waterer to prevent the chicks from drowning. Yes, apparently that happens quite a lot. Let’s be safe and go ahead and do that. So, I attached two hooks on my porch wood beams above the brooder and I’m going to hang the feeder and waterer with some rope I conveniently stumbled upon in the garage. Saving money you guys! But here’s where things didn’t go as planned… I clamped my light on the side of the box and surprise surprise, it was too heavy and the box was sagging down so PLAN B! I realized that my porch miraculously already had another hook directly above my brooder from what I assume used to be for a hanging plant, YES! Another win! So I used rope to hang the light. According to my research in warmer climates the heat lamp should hang 24”-27” above the chicks, so that’s what I did so I don’t bake my chicks.

Finally, after a long morning/afternoon it’s a wrap. I feel satisfied with the outcome of my DIY cardboard box chick brooder. Now, my Rhode Island Red chicks are set to arrive within the next few days and I feel confident that we are now 98.275% prepared. I will update you guys once my little chicks arrive. We will continue on my journey into being a backyard chicken owner and I will give ya’ll the in scoop into all the things I learn along the way. Until next time!
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