I’m adding 15 new Amber Star female chicks to my flock of 15 Rhode Island Red girls. When I got my first 15 RIR chicks I went with the most affordable brooder I saw online, I made it completely out of cardboard boxes. It was pretty sturdy when they were fun size, as they grew bigger NOT SO MUCH! They began to spill their water and that’s cardboards nemesis. We had a soggy and wet brooder! And to top it all off they began pecking holes all around and attempting to fly out every chance they had.
This version of chick brooder was made entirely with scrap wood I had. I utilized some pallets, 2×4 leftover lumber from the perch I made, wood from an old crib, leftover plywood, and a panel of wood I was going to use for another project but never did. So I stood there looking at all these odd pieces of wood and thought to myself… I AM NOT GOING TO KEEP BUYING WOOD! It might not be the most aesthetically pleasing brooder but it will be sturdy and serve its purpose.
1) I took a pallet and cut some of the leftover plywood to create a base floor for my chick brooder. I used wood screws to attach the plywood to the top of the pallet.
2) I measured the height of the old crib wood so I could cut the pallet at the same height to match. I used the reciprocating saw to cut off the bottom of the pallet (the wood blocks in the middle and the bottom part of the pallet) I then cut the pallet to the height of the crib.
3) I cut the leftover 2×4’s the height of the pallet piece and crib. I cut 6 pieces of 2×4 lumber, used the pocket jig to make some pocket holes at the bottom of the 2×4’s and secured to the plywood floor of the brooder.
4) I took the pallet piece and old wood from the crib that was cut already the width of the pallet and attached to the 2×4’s with wood screws.
5) I now had 2 odd size pieces of plywood left and the panel of wood I made for a kitchen project that wasn’t used. I cut the dark wood panel the width of the pallet and attached it to the 2×4’s in the back opening of the chick brooder. Then, I proceeded to cut the scrap pieces of plywood that were left as good as I could to make a door that I could open and close to be able to clean the chick brooder. I attached the two odd pieces of plywood with some scrap wood pieces from an IKEA kitchen cart that I scrapped and nailed them across both plywood pieces and made a door. I then attached some hinges I had on hand and a latch to lock the door.
Side note: I did add two pallet wood panels on the side that had the crib wood because my daughter pointed out that the openings were big enough for the chicks to fit and she was extremely concerned about them being able to get out.
6) Last but not least, I employed the help of my daughter to paint the the chick brooder with some paint I found at Lowe’s in the section for the paint colors that were rejected by customers. I paid a whopping $9 for some exterior paint, that should help my chick brooder stand the test of time.
That’s how I put together my scrap wood chick brooder in one day. I hope my new Amber Star chicks enjoy it ! Until next time.