Making the Ultimate Brooder Box

| 7/21/2016 10:13:00 AM

Tags: chickens, raising livestock, poultry, Maine, Kirsten Lie Nielsen,

Having an area properly prepared for your new chicks or ducklings is important in making sure they grow up healthy and safe. For some, it is easiest to use an old dog crate or a plastic tote and outfit it for the occasion, but if you are going to be getting new poultry regularly or annually, it is often best to build a brooder specifically for raising your young birds.


I still use a brooder box which my father built when we brought home a dozen chick’s on Mothers Day almost 20 years ago. A good brooder box should last you, and it should be transferable to different types of fowl.

How to Size a Brooder Box

When considering the size of your box, think of how many chicks you usually get. Most baby birds need little space at first — in fact, a smaller area will be easier to keep warm for them. While adult chickens require about 4 square feet per bird (how much space chickens need to roam), new chicks will only use a few square inches. As they grow and become more active, they’ll start to use more space.

A brooder is generally intended for the first few weeks of your chick’s lives, after which they can move out into a grow-out pen, and then in with your adult chickens. A 3-foot-by-2-foot space is appropriate for up to about 20 new chicks, and could also raise a half dozen ducklings or three to five goslings.

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