Easy DIY Chicken Brooder Box

Easy, inexpensive DIY chicken brooder box | Little Red Farmstead

We’re getting our first chickens this spring (!!) and over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing our experiences along the way. Be sure to subscribe via RSS or email to keep up with our latest posts! 

Chicken brooder boxes come in all shapes and sizes. They can be small and simple as a cardboard box or kiddie-pool, or a large, complex custom-build. For our booder box, these were my concerns:

  • Sturdy. With curious pets and kids in the house, I wanted something more sturdy than a cardboard box.
  • Safe. Again, the pets (specifically our cat, Stuart) was my main concern. I wanted to make sure the baby chiks would be safe from any “investigating” he might want to do.
  • Easy & inexpensive to build. I’m relatively handy, but I’m no builder. I wanted something I could build quickly and easily with the basic tools I have on hand.

So here’s what I came up with…


  • 50-gallon Sterilite tote ($16, WalMart)
  • Chicken wire, 25′ roll ($9.99, Tractor Supply)
  • Plastic zip ties ($1.59, Dollar General)


  • Cordless drill (I have a Black & Decker like this one, part of their 20V system.)
  • 1/4″ drill bit
  • Jig saw
  • Wire cutters

How to Build Your Brooder Box

1. First we’ll cut away the hole in the lid for the chicken wire: Using your cordless drill and 1/4″ drill bit, drill a hole near the corner of the lid, about 3″ or 4″ in from the edge. This will be the pilot hole for your saw blade.

DIY Brooder Box - Cutting with Jigsaw | Life In Beta


2. Using your jig saw, insert the blade into the hole you just drilled, then cut out the center section of the lid, leaving a 3-4″ border around the rim of the lid to keep rigidity.

3. Next, drill holes around the perimeter of the hole you just cut. You want to make them close enough to the edge that the zip ties will work, but not so close to the edge that they crack and break through.


DIY Brooder - Drilling Holes and Attaching Chicken Wire | Life In Beta

4. Flip your lid upside down and unroll your chicken wire on top of it. Use your wire cutters (I actually borrowed Mike’s guitar string cutter tool) to trim the chicken wire to size. Thread zip ties through the holes drilled in the lid and use them to secure the chicken wire in place.

DIY Chicken Brooder - Chicken Wire Secured with Zip Ties | Life In Beta

5. Once the chicken wire is secured, you can trim the zip ties so they don’t hang down into the brooder.

6. Release your toddler (and/or pets) for testing…

DIY Chicken Brooder - Toddler Proof | Life In Beta

Hooray! It’s Myles-approved!


8 thoughts on “Easy DIY Chicken Brooder Box

    1. Hi Sandra! I actually have a post scheduled next week for the solution that I came up with for the heat lamp! Depending on where you have your brooder set up, you could hang the lamp from an “L” bracket attached to the wall or from the ceiling above it. I have seen photos where others placed the heat lamp directly on the chicken wire lid or clamped to the side of the box itself, but I didn’t feel safe with that solution. The option we decided on was to build a really simple stand to hang the heat lamp from. I’m planning on posting the details for how we did it next Thursday! 🙂

  1. Are you sure that is a 50 ~gallon~ tote? I looked and all the 50g are nearly $60!
    …the 50 ~quart~ is cheap though.

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