DIY Baby Brooder: Built in under 2 hours for under $150


Man At Work

Man At Work

So we built a brooder (I should say the hubby built the brooder; I held baby ducks). It was a last minute operation and most of the materials we had to purchase. This is the model we designed ours after; we figured that we are only going to be using it for a couple of months and we wanted it to be budget-friendly and easy to clean. This seemed to fit those needs.

A few differences:

*we used a bigger Rubbermaid container because we were getting so many chicks

*we added an extra measure of security by locking the lid tight the bottom part using an arrow (hole through both lid and bottom, push arrow through both)-plus it made it seem more bad-ass Katniss-y

*we used zip ties to secure the screen; I got that idea here.

Wondering why we needed more security?

Curious or hungry...

Curious or hungry…

So far we are pretty happy with the design and ease of cleaning. We added three “roosts” last night; there were some broken arrows (flashback to the days when MTV actually played music videos) in the basement that we repurposed into roosts. I added a disposable cake pan under the water dish to catch all the water that the ducks spill everywhere. It works better than not having anything, but does not catch it all, the ducks are a wet mess. Right now there is poultry bedding in the roost, but I am debating switching to sand. Not sure if that will make it easier or more difficult to keep clean.

*Additional information since this post was written: we are going to split ducks from chicks this week. The ducks are a crazy mess. They are cute fuzzy balls of poop and bad decisions. I am not sure if the chicks have gotten a clean drink of water in a week. We fill the waterer up at least 10 times a day, and as SOON as it hits the brooder they are trying to smash their chubby, squishy duck baby bodies into the small space between the waterer and the dish to drink/swim. Swink. Or maybe drim…anyway, they chicks have had it, and we are making the move tonight. I got a huge, see through-tub at Target for $14 and the hubby is going to use leftover supplies to make them their own home. 

All in all we spent about $110 (before Operation Move Smelly Ducks) on the supplies for the brooder,the started chick food, electrolytes for water, feeder, waterers, heat bulbs, etc.


Overall between the cost of the chicks and the brooder materials it has been about a $250 experience. Actually make that $260. The hubby also made this purchase to add to my homesteading book collection.


We are starting to think about coop ideas, so that will add more to the cost. But the joy of baby ducks and chicks peeping in your kitchen? Priceless! Are you raising babies in your kitchen or anywhere else? Let me know how it is going or if you have any advice below. I would love to know that there are other crazy adventurous people out there.