Build a Low-Cost Mobile Brooder Box

Use these simple plans to construct your own incredibly versatile brooder box. You can set it up to house a broody hen or to raise mail-order chicks, you can use it inside or outdoors, and — best of all — you can build it on the “cheep.”

| December 2012/January 2013

  • Brooder Box
    This mobile DIY brooder box design works for broody hens or mail-order chicks and for both indoor and outdoor use.
    Illustration By Elayne Sears

  • Brooder Box

We’ve designed a secure, lightweight brooder box that is relatively easy and inexpensive to make for indoor and outdoor use. You can house a broody hen on her eggs, or use the box to raise mail-order chicks from a hatchery.

The frameless wire cage is made from 1-by-2-inch welded wire (not poultry netting) and is about 3 feet wide by 4 to 5 feet long by 2 feet high. The wire sections are attached using J-clips. The lid has folded-down, 4-inch sides for added security. A large plastic tub set inside the cage serves as a weatherproof, easy-to-clean shelter, with a low-cut door for the mother hen and her chicks to go in and out. To raise chicks without a broody hen, secure an electric light bulb inside the tub (be sure you use a bulb size and placement that won’t melt the plastic tub).

Read more: Raise Your Best Flock Using Broody Hens 

Amber Baker
1/4/2013 2:56:25 AM

Thanks jean. I was wondering why they didn't suggest a floor but your idea of cardboard is great. I had thought of wood but cardboard is sturdy, lightweight, compostable, and it can be a great way to recycle.


Jean Nick
11/14/2012 3:30:21 PM

Be sure to cover the floor with something like cardboard or newspaper to keep tiny chick feet from going through the holes -- especially if you ever plan to pick the cage up and move it with the chicks loose inside it, or even slide it a few inches sideways. Tiny legs and toes break very easily if caught under the floor wire. You'll save yourself heartache and weeks of splinting tiny feet with tape and matchsticks..and feeling like a heel.







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