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

The 7 DIY Chicken Brooders

1. Easy DIY Chicken Brooder Box

DIY Easy Chicken Brooder Box
Image Credit: littleredfarmstead

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.

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

2. DIY Chicken Brooder Plans

DIY Chicken Brooder Plans
Image Credit: mranimalfarm

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.

  • 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
  • Drill/screwdriver
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Zip ties
  • Wire cutters
  • Rubber mallet

3. Hitching Post Lane DIY Chick Brooder

DIY Chick Brooder
Image Credit: onhitchingpostlane

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.

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

4. Quick DIY Dog Crate Chicken Brooder

DIY Quick Dog Crate Chicken Brooder
Image Credit: propagatehappiness

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.

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

5. Survival Prepper Homemade DIY Chicken Brooder

DIY Chicken Brooder
Image Credit: survivalistprepper

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.

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

6. Hometalk DIY Chicken Brooder

DIY Chicken Brooder
Image Credit: hometalk

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.

7. Ana White Chicken Brooder

DIY Chicken Brooder
Image Credit: Ana White

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.

  • 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
  • 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.

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Featured Image Credit: Pixabay