Brooder Bonanza: Prepping Your Brooder for Chicks

Creating the perfect environment for your chicks is a vital step towards their healthy growth and development. Its important to set up a brooder that mimics the warmth and security of a mother hen’s embrace.

From selecting the ideal brooder location in your home to regulating the temperature for these delicate creatures, we provide expert guidance and comprehensive resources to ensure your chicks thrive. Discover the art of setting up a brooder as we guide you through essential aspects such as bedding choices, proper heat sources, and adequate spacing.

a chicken in long green grass looking at the camera out of her left eye


Chicks are fragile in their early days and need a little extra support from us humans to stay alive.

  • Brooder – we used this soft sided zip up kennel with a kiddie pool inside. It works great and was extremely easy to clean, not to mention it lays flat. We have also had great success with Rubbermaid tote containers, though they tend to outgrow it faster, and once their feathers come in, they will be able to hop out!
  • Heat Plate (or lamp, with red light bulb) – Chicks need additional heat the first few week of their lives. In nature this would look like snuggling under mom into her feathers when they are chilly. Unfortunately unless you have a broody hen in your coop already, you will need to add additional heat.

    The heat plate, though more expensive to start, is our favorite chick warmer. It is easily moved, rearranged and touched while still plugged in. The heat plate is the safest option for adding heat to a brooder.

    Heat lamps, while cheaper, effective and widely used, are more dangerous to the chicks and to your home. Because they create infrared radiation, they can light flammable material (read: bedding, hay, etc) in a heart beat. Not only that but because they burn so hot, they need to be moved and managed much more frequently or you can burn your chicks! Not to mention, you can’t move them while hot (think pan straight out of the oven) without burning yourself.
  • Chick Size Feeder Make sure they have unlimited access to a quality starter/grower feed through a gravity feeder.
  • Chick Size Waterer Make sure they have unlimited access to a clean water. Chicks can drown in a remarkably small amount of water. If you notice your chicks stuck in their waterer, add rocks or mancala beads to the basin so they cant be submerged.
  • Chick Starter/Grower Feed – Chick feed has an overall higher percentage of protein (20%), less calcium, and is ground finer so smaller beaks can handle it. They will eat this feed until they are 16 weeks old.
  • Chick Electrolytes (I always use Jill Wingers at The prairie Homestead when I bring chicks home but like to have the powder on hand for emergencies)
  • Bedding
  • Feed storage

Have I convinced you yet?

In the end, it all boils down to creating a comfy, warm space for your chicks where they can be their chirpy, curious selves. You’ve done it – you’ve set up the perfect brooder! Now, as you hear their excited chirps and watch them grow, know that you’ve given them the best start possible. Your chicks are in for a great beginning, and you’ve made it happen. Here’s to your cozy brooder and the happy, clucky days that lie ahead! Happy chick-raising!

No matter what you decide we love to see and hear about your adventures on your property, big or small! Please leave a comment or tag me on Instagram with @TheFryFarmette and #TheFryFarmette so we can cheer you on!

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