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The 5 Best Cheap Chicken Brooders

The 5 Best Cheap Chicken Brooders: The Complete Guide

There are some essential pieces of equipment you will need to raise chicks. A chicken brooder is one of these items.

The chicken brooder is an enclosed container that will house your chicks until they reach age and are ready to leave the cage. The brooder will have a heating source to keep the chicks warm.

Brooders are often used to refer to both the container as well as the heater. We have done the same and will give you all the information about brooders.

Keep reading if you’re in the market to buy a brooder.

Cheap Chicken Brooders
Cheap Chicken Brooders

What is a Chicken Brooder?

You may have come across the term brooder when researching chicks. But what is it, and why would you need one of these?

Brooders are containers where chicks can be kept until they reach the age to go outside into a coop.

Two things are required of chicken brooders:

  1. The chicks need to be protected.
  2. Brooders must also be kept warm and dry

Brooder boxes are usually made up of four walls, a base, and a lid. They can be made of wood, cardboard, or plastic.

The heat lamp is one of the most essential parts of a brooder. Heat lamps can be used to keep chicks warm in a brooder.

In the past, this was a red light bulb. However, most people now use a heating pad because it is safer. Heating plates use less electricity than heat lamps.

What to The Not So Goodider when buying a cheap chicken brooder


There are many different types of brooders for chickens. You only need to be aware of a few things to ensure you get the best one for your chicks.

The Not So Good considers these factors when choosing a chicken brooder.

  1. Size You will need a brooder that is large enough to accommodate your chicks, their feed, and water stations. For the first six weeks, each chick needs 0.5-1 square feet. A lack of space can lead to antisocial behaviors , such as picking and pecking.
  2. Difficulty of Setup: To put together some brooders, you will need a degree in engineering! It is best to keep it simple and easy to use.
  3. Safety: Check how secure the product is. Is it strong enough to withstand a cat or dog chewing through it? It is important to place cardboard or plastic in a location that can’t be reached by predators or rodents.
  4. Ease Of Cleaning: Is it possible to clean out the cage daily? It is important to keep chicks clean to avoid sickness and disease.
  5. Heat source: Although most brooders still use old-style heat lamps, many people now prefer heating plates. Check that your brooder can be used with the heat source of your choice.
  6. Heating plates: Make sure that the heating plate you choose is adjustable in height. It will be necessary to adjust it as the chicks get bigger. Check the size. You may have a plate that can hold 15 chicks as young as one day, but how will it work when they start to grow? You will find that most plates won’t be large enough to accommodate the growing chicks.

Farm Innovations 3700 Baby Chick Brooder

This brooder will work well for people who already own their heat source and equipment. This is a basic brooder with no frills.

View Price on Amazon

The 5 Best Chicken Brooders

Editor’s picks Brand The Rating
Best Brooder Only Farm Innovators Model 3700 Baby Chick Brooder 4.0
Best Heating Plate Brinsea ecoglow 600 brooder 4.5
Most Affordable Chick Rural365 Heating Plate 4.4
Best Value RentACoop Chick brooder Heating Plate 4.0


Best Brooder: Farm Innovators Baby Chick Brooder 3700

A Girl Standing near the Chicken Brooders
A Girl Standing near the Chicken Brooders

Farm Innovations 3700 Baby Chick Brooder

This brooder will work well for people who already own their heat source and equipment. This is a basic brooder with no frills.

See price on Amazon

The 3700 Farm Innovators Baby Chick Brooder offers great value for money. You also receive a brooder lamp holder that can be adjusted to any height. This is a good option for those who have a heat source already and are looking for a brooder that is simple and without frills. This brooder has thin plastic sheets for the walls. The brooder should be able to contain the smaller chicks, but it will not hold up against any weight like a cat or dog trying to get a look at them.

The Good:

  • Ideal for those with a heating source.
  • The brooder is lightweight and portable.
  • Use for 10 chicks.
  • Store and reuse easily.

The Not So Good:

  • Pet-friendly households are not recommended.
  • It does not include a base.

Best Heating Plate

Brinsea Ecoglow Brooder

Brinsea eco Glow 600 brooder

This is the best choice for those who are searching for the highest-quality heating plate.

See the price on Amazon

The Brinsea Ecoglow600 Brooder comes from a manufacturer of high quality. Brinsea has a good reputation, so this brooder will be a great choice if you don’t have a budget issue. This heater is available in three different sizes. It can be used to heat either 20, 35, or 50 chicks. It comes with instructions. The manufacturer specifies that the room temperature should be at least 50F.

The Good:

  • The original creator of the heating plates.
  • Includes a 3-year free warranty.
  • The brooder has an indicator light that confirms the brooder is working.
  • There are 3 sizes of plate.
  • Customer service that is responsive and helpful.

The Not So Good:

  • The most expensive heating plates
  • The number of chicks is too small for the stated amount.

The Most Affordable

Rural365 Chick Heater

This affordable heating plate is perfect for a small flock of chicks. The heating plate is easy to assemble, and it’s also very easy to clean.

See the price on Amazon

The rural365 chick heating plate is a product that has been overwhelmingly well received. I have one of these units, and I love it. The heating plate is made in Holland and it is designed for small batches. There is only one size. This heating plate can accommodate up to 8 chicks. This heating plate is easy to assemble, heats quickly, and is easy to clean.

The Good:

  • The price is very reasonable.
  • Height-adjustable legs are included.
  • Running costs are low.
  • This product is suitable for up to 8 chicks.
  • Clean easily.

The Not So Good:

  • Customer service is not helpful
  • Recommended number of chicks for manufacturers. 

Best Value

RentACoop Chick brooder Heating Plate

This heating plate is ideal for 10 chicks.

View Price on Amazon

It is simple to clean, operate and set up the RentACoop chick brooder heating plate. This plate will keep up to 10 chicks warm and toasty. The height can be adjusted so that it can be used from week one to week eight. The product is UL-approved and other positives are the 6ft power cord attached, automatic temperature control, and adjustable height settings.

Chicken in Fenced Area
Chicken in Fenced Area

The Good:

  • Heat control system.
  • Easy to set up and use.
  • There are 25 height adjustments.
  • Running costs are low.
  • This product is suitable for 10 chicks.

The Not So Good:

  • Prices are higher than for other plates.
  • The number of chicks recommended by the manufacturer is too small.
  • Includes anti-roosting covers.

Brooder Setup

The majority of chicken brooders can be set up easily.

The panels should be high enough to prevent chicks from flying or hopping out.

Set up your brooder in a quiet, secluded area. It should be in a warm, dry, and clean place. It isn’t ideal to have a cold garage from several perspectives. The ambient room temperature should be at least 50degF. The room must also be free from predators.

After you’ve chosen the ideal spot, you will need to place the shavings and food inside the brooder.

Next, we will discuss how to install your heat source.

It is incredibly easy to install a brooder plate.

You only need to adjust the legs so that they are at the correct height. The plate must be low enough so that the chicks can sit comfortably under it.

You can plug in the device and be done.

Heat lamps require a little more work.

To maintain 95degF, you will need to adjust the heights of the reflector and bulb. You can do this by placing a temperature gauge on the floor under the heat lamp. It may take a few tries to get the temperature right.

Make sure that any heat lamps you use are secured so they cannot fall in the brooder. Heat lamps that are not properly attached or are faulty cause fires every year.

You should set up your brooder and heat source before the chicks hatch. This will allow you to quickly acclimate them.

What brooder temperature do chicks need?

For the first week , set the brooder temperature at 95degF.

The temperature can be lowered by 5 degrees at the beginning of the second week to 90degF. The temperature will rise to 85degF in the third week.

When the brooder temperature of the chicks is less than 5degF from the ambient temperature, the heat can be switched off.

Remember that during the night or cold spells, chicks might need some extra heat for a few weeks. If you’re raising chicks in the winter, the heat may need to be on for a bit longer to ensure their well-being.

If your chicks are happily peeping and scattered around the brooder, you will know they are warm enough!

All your chicks huddled under the light are too cold. If your chicks are scattered around the edge of the brooder, they’re too hot.

Remember that the above guidelines do not apply if you use a heating pad. These units have preset temperatures that cannot be changed, so chicks will gather under the heating plate to stay warm.

Common problems with chicken brooders

Most brooders do not have a base.

You will need to keep the area clean. You can build your base for your brooder. You can attach some cardboard to the sides of your brooder if you’re creative. The bottom is not reusable, I know this from experience.

Brooders are often made of lightweight cardboard or plastic. The plastic and light weight make it easy to clean, but they can also be easily knocked down.

Beware of advertising that is too optimistic. Verify the floor space that is claimed to be available. Each chick needs a minimum 0.5 square feet. You will quickly need more brooding room if you plan to use the product with the maximum number stated.

The most common problem with heat sources is that they cause fires. Most people use heat plates instead. Make sure that the heat lamp is completely secure if you decide to use it. When I need to use a heat lamp, I secure the clamp at a safe and stable point. I then add two zip ties. 


How long are chicks kept in a brooder for?

You will keep your chicks in the brooder for about six weeks (or till they are fully feathered). They should be able to handle 60 deg F ambient temperature at 6 weeks.

They may need to spend a few more weeks in the brooder during the winter.

What size should a brooder for chickens be?

For each chick, you will need a space of between 0.5-1 sq. ft. For 6 chicks, your brooder will need to be between 3-6 square feet.

How often should I clean my brooder?

You should clean your brooder every day.

Remove any dirty or wet bedding, and replace the water and feed. The container will need to be washed and rinsed with warm, soapy water.

You can read more about it here:

Farm Innovations 3700 Baby Chick Brooder

This brooder will work well for people who already own their heat source and equipment. This is a basic brooder with no frills.

See the price on Amazon

After reading this article, you will have hopefully found the best brooder for your chicks.

Remember that homemade brooders will be cheaper and often better. Any large, deep cardboard box will do as a brooder.

Heat Sources are not only essential but also affordable.

Heat plates are the most effective choice.

The money you spend on them is well spent and will last for many years.

How did you make the brooder? Comment below to let us know.

Our readers support us. When you purchase via certain links, we may earn a referral commission. ( Learn more here ).

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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