Where To Put The Brooder

Fluffy little baby chicks need to be kept warm in a safe container. This housing is called a brooder. The first week of their life that brooder needs to be at about 95 degrees F. Each week thereafter, as the chicks grow, the temperature is dropped by 5 degrees. Many people, especially those who get only a handful of chicks, like the idea of keeping the chicks in the kitchen where they can keep an eye on them, and get the full dose of their adorableness. For several reasons this is a bad idea.

First of all, although those chicks start out tiny they grow very fast and are soon too big for a tidy plastic box on a table. Like adult chickens, chicks need plenty of space or you’ll have health and behavior issues. Secondly, chicks poop. A lot. It stinks. They also scratch the ground, just like adult chickens. The scratching shreds the manure into a fine dust. Also the chicks lose their down, quills erupt and those feathers unfurl, which sheds dander. The fine particles of manure and dander will become airborne and coat your tables, your chairs, your counters and your food. At the least it will smell and be nigh on impossible to clean up. At the worst it will contain salmonella and pose a health risk.

And that is why I put the brooder in the coop. If you don’t have an outbuilding with electricity, put the chicks in your garage. Lacking that, put them in the basement (as long as it’s not damp.)

I had intended to move the old hens in with the Gems and turn the LIttle Barn into a brooder. That was when I’d thought that Buffy and Sioxsie would no longer be part of the flock. But, they’ve survived the winter. There’s no way that I can integrate them in with the Gems. So I will use plan B.

I’m still going to put the chicks into the Little Barn. There’s enough room in the storage side for the brooder.

open doorI

It needed to be cleared out,

storage side

which Steve did. He also vacuumed. Dust harbors germs, so giving the coop a thorough cleaning before the chicks comes is a prudent thing to do.

cleaned up

When the chicks arrive, the InsideCam (seen here where it is currently installed above the waterer) will be moved into the brooder and will become ChickCam.


I’m often asked how the cams work. You need a bit of wiring in the barn.

fuse box

It’s complicated. Steve explains it in this FAQ.

In my next post, I’ll show you how to build a brooder box. That’s easy.


  1. This is going to be so helpful. Your going to be a month ahead of me getting chicks and I’ll have a pro to watch and see how it’s done. I don’t know if I’m more excited about getting to see your chicks or getting mine. Thank God I’ve found your site. I had so many questions that you have already answered and another question was answered in this post. Thanks so much for your help and I can’t wait to see what you name these little babies. So far my favorite name is “TwinkyDink”! I have a 2 year old granddaughter and I’m ordering your book “Tiily” from Amazon next week. She will love it, I’m sure. I know I will. :)

  2. The class next door ended up with 8 chicks. One seems to have some health issues. The others look strong and are loud! They will be in the classroom for the week and then off to a grandparent’s house up north to join (3) year old hens. My favorite so far is a honey colored Mille Fleur named Pasqueline. I also fancy a little double laced beauty. Thanks for the advice. It was definitely exciting.

  3. I was wondering what you were going to do with Buffy, and her hutch. As for Sioxsie, I know she has attacked Buffy already, and that you will be moving the other three in with the young girls. Have you thought of maybe getting Pearl and keeping with her Siosxsie as as companion for her since cochins tend to be a bit gentler in nature ? Or do you think that would be a bad idea ? That way Pearl can roost better with just Siosxsie and wont’ have to worry about getting pooped on as she does with the Gems, and won’t be near the bottom of the pecking order. They just be too crazy feathered birds of your flock hanging out.

  4. You are so right about the dust problem! Thank goodness I didn’t realize at the time what that dust is made out of because we don’t have a garage or basement. It was wonderfully fun having the chickies in the living room. They are so adorable as babies but they grow so fast and we had to keep expanding their area as they quickly grew out of their cardboard box…the fireplace…an 8-panel dog fence. I was so happy when their coop was ready and we could reclaim the living room!

  5. oh gosh the dust. I had read about it but until you experience it! All I know is that as cute as they were (and are) I coulfnt wait for them to go into coop. Im still finding an occasional feather in my spare room.

  6. Dust is a problem in the house but I don’t see them as often being in the garage. I cant wait for warm weather so I can sit outside and watch them! We got 13 inches yesterday!

  7. When you mentioned people keeping chicks in the kitchen, it reminded me of the “I Love Lucy” episode with the baby chicks in the house.

  8. Steve is rocking that network wiring… Looks so neat and easy to work with…. He must be a very organized guy!

  9. How is Buffy doing? Does she like her new home? Miss seeing her.
    Happy & Blessed Passover!
    Jaumie :)