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How to Maintain a Chick Brooder

Updated: Feb 5

Hey everyone!

Today we’re going to talk about brooder maintenance. If you have ever raised chicks before you know they are adorable, cuddly, soft and….messy! I will let you in on a little secret, chickens poop a lot. They love to kick around their pine shavings, tip their water over, poop in their food and water, and the list goes on. But their cuteness makes up for all that. As my chicks grew, I’d go out multiple times a day to check on them. I would always have something to do, but I didn’t mind because I loved to interact with them. There are just a couple things you need to keep in mind when maintaining your brooder. Let’s talk about them.

Step #1: Check their food and water to make sure they are full and clean. Baby chicks eat and drink a lot, and it always amazed me how often I needed to fill up their food and water. I added Chick E-lixir™ to their water and sprinkled First Peep™ on their food and around the feeder and that made me the chicks’ favorite person for sure! Ha Ha!

Tips From Annie

  • As the chicks grow, you can set the waterer and feeder on a block of wood to cut down the messiness the chicks create.

  • This also helps prevent them from tipping over the waterer and feeder.

Step #2: Make sure their bedding is clean and dry. Honestly, using Coop Recuperate™ was my favorite friend during this time. It smells amazing, helps lengthen the life of your bedding, and is healthy for your chicks! It has organic essential oils and organic diatomaceous earth (DE) and was a coop saver. If I ever needed to clean out the brooder, I folded the puppy pads up and hauled it out to the compost pile. Keeping your brooder clean and dry is essential for raising healthy chicks!

Tips From Annie

  • Puppy pads are a great option for the bottom of your brooder underneath your pine shavings.

  • They are a non-slippery surface which is important for your chickens to grow without deformities.

  • Also, my favorite part? Easy clean-up! Every mom’s dream. Ha Ha!

Step #3: Check the temperature of your brooder. The first week of the chicks’ life, the brooder temp needs to be 95 degrees Fahrenheit. After each week, you can lower the temperature by 5 degrees. The chicks themselves will be able to determine the correct temperature for you by how they’re sprinkled throughout the brooder. If they are snuggled up tight together, they are too cold. If they are spread out far away from each other and the heat source, they are too hot. If they are sweetly sprinkled throughout the brooder, it’s just right.

Tips From Annie

  • We originally chose to use a heat panel for our heat source.

  • It was getting quite cold where we live, so we needed to add in a heat lamp.

  • Don’t be afraid to add to your brooder exactly what your chicks need.

  • It is a learning process and it is okay to adjust as you go!

Step #4: Install a roosting pole and cover the brooder with hardware cloth. They loved the roosting pole. We would find them up there a lot. Baby chicks are also excellent fliers! After we installed a small dowel for a roosting pole, they were able to fly out of the brooder. So, we installed a piece of hardware cloth by simply laying it over the top of the brooder. That kept our girls inside the brooder where they were safe.

Tips From Annie

  • Chickens are born with the desire to roost.

  • It’s important to provide this for them.

  • There are many great ideas on how to do this, but a simple dowel rod is what we chose.

Step #5: Play with your chicks! This is our favorite part. We loved to go out and interact with the girls. Chickens love to explore and investigate, so I would bring in a stick, pine cone or leaf from the yard. I even bought an inexpensive bird toy and they went wild over that! The girls get more fun each day. They are starting to develop personalities and figuring out their pecking order.

Tips From Annie

  • The more time you spend with your chicks will mean the more friendly they are.

  • It is a great way to get your family involved!

  • Just make sure everyone washes their hands with warm, soapy water after they’re done handling the chicks to ensure everyone stays healthy.

And that’s it! Simple brooder maintenance doesn’t need to take a lot of time, but it is essential in keeping your chicks healthy. Also, it provides one more excuses (as if you even need one!) to spend quality time with your girls.


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