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To say Mother’s Day was interesting is an understatement. The last thing I expected when I woke up that morning would be a DIY chicken brooder tote box in my bathroom housing baby chickens.
I have included affiliate links to supplies in case you are interested in getting your own chicks!
Mother’s Day traditionally is all about brunch and then a trip to the local Nursery to pick out flowers. My mom, son and I have done this every year since he was born. The weather yesterday was cold and rainy but we still went to two nurseries to get ideas and poke around which ended with hot chocolate at Starbucks.
For those of you who follow my personal Facebook page and my Instagram Stories, you know that we have been considering chickens and last week I shared 4 baby ducklings that we had planned on adopting from a friend who rescued them.
Long story short, the ducklings needed to be placed in a home as a family so my friend Stephanie (you may remember her, she is my neighbor and walking buddy) adopted the four and we planned on adopting another set.
Well, the set we planned on adopting fell through so we were duck-less.
DIY Chicken Brooder Tote Box in my bathroom
So how did the DIY chicken brooder in my bathroom saga start?
My friend Nancy who also raises chickens texted me late yesterday afternoon and said there were a lot of baby chickens that had just arrived in Putnam CT at a local store so we went on a road trip. I was not expecting to come home with chickens but of course, my son was so excited and I felt like the timing was right so we took the leap.
We ended up splitting an order (they are sold as a flock of 6 minimum) with Nancy, keeping 2 Americana’s and 1 Speckled Sussex.
For those of you who know me, I am sure you are shaking your head at the fact that I allowed them to stay the night in my bathroom.
It was short lived as I moved their condo to the garage first thing this morning. They chirped all night and are not exactly the best smelling animals.
Chicken Brooder Ideas
So what did we use as a temporary chicken brooder last night? My dad had little to say about the chickens in the bathroom other than, when are you getting them out of here. My response was, “when you build me a coop.” -ha.
Nancy suggested making a DIY chicken brooder tote box so I cleaned out a plastic tote box that I use for storing Christmas ornaments and Nancy gave me a screen from one of her windows that had blown off during the winter. Yep, super easy and didn’t cost a penny.
You could temporarily use a box (the size of my tote), a metal tub, a dog crate as long as they can’t get through the cracks, a dog x-pen, a horse metal trough or anything that is large enough for them to have space to walk and house food and water.
You need a cover that allows them to breath (not a solid lid), will not melt or potentially catch fire (chicken wire or a window screen) for the lid. They don’t fly at this age but will soon and if you have a dog (The Murph Man would totally eat them in a heartbeat) or cat (or even an outside animal), they need to have a lid for protection.
Baby Chicken Supply List
My friend Nancy (who is also my neighbor) had shavings so we borrowed some and just covered the bottom of the tote and added a dish towel for cuddling.
The waterer and food dish was also borrowed from Nancy but you could use a mason jar cover or peanut butter cover for food and a shallow dish (not too deep as they would drown) for water.
- Feed (we got non-medicated chicken starter by Nutrena)
- Water + Food Container (or this is a great water and food setup too)
- Bedding from local Feed store (we used pine shavings – the same we use for our horses)
- Brooder (we used a plastic tote)
- Thermometer (optional)
Shop Chicken Supplies (use arrows to scroll) from Amazon
RELATED: See Chicken Mansion progress
Chicken Brooder Heater
Baby chickens must have a heat lamp. I like the idea of the metal cage that goes over the heat lamp in case it drops by accident. The baby chickens need a temp around 99 degrees so the clamp heat lamp worked perfectly. Be sure to get a heater with a metal cage that goes over the bulb.
The heat lamp should be directly at one end of the brooder so if they are too hot, they can move to the other end. If you notice they are huddled under the heat lamp, they may be cold which means you may need 2 heat lamps or lower the heat lamp a bit towards the lid (screen or whatever cover you are using).
I used an old camera tripod to clamp the heat lamp too which worked perfectly because I can raise or lower the lamp depending on where the chicks are sleeping.
The baby chickens are now in my garage and I may need to get a second heat lamp (it’s only 50 degrees today) but they seem to be comfortable at the moment laying in the middle of the temporary chicken brooder.
Chicken brooder wooden box
My goal is to borrow a larger wooden chicken brooder so that when we add the Silkie Chickens (we are adding Silkies to the mix this week) they have a larger space which will be easier to keep clean. Plus, I feel kind of bad having them in a small plastic tote.
So what do you think of my diy chicken brooder tote box in my bathroom or garage? Update: See our walkin chicken coop
I am a complete newbie with this chicken thing so please comment below or email me your ideas, tips and suggestions. I need them! I will keep you posted on our temporary chicken brooder and how they are managing. Check out the Facebook live last night of us in my bathroom along with my Instagram stories at the local store of us picking out our baby chickens. We are planning to build a coop onto the pool house that we built last year. PS. Thank you for all your sweet comments on my new lady loft, you guys are the best readers ever.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate shopping links.
What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.