Chicken Brooder 2021 Review (Detailed Buyer’s Guide)

If you’re looking to hatch and raise chicks, a chicken brooder is a device you’ll need on hand to help your chicks develop and grow.

Brooders provide your chicks with warmth, just like a mother hen would, but they’re a lot more reliable and safer.

I remember when I first started raising chicks many years ago – it was an exciting but nerve racking time as I didn’t have a lot of experience back then. I’d purchased a brooder box but wasn’t sure how to use it or how to prepare for baby chicks.

This lack of preparation caused me a lot of stress and sleepless nights. Hopefully I can help ease your mind by sharing the tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years.

So, if it’s your first time raising chicks, read on! I’ll be going over the best chicken brooders I’ve found on my search so you can keep your new arrivals safe and sound.

Top 3 From The Lineup

Here are the top products overall sorted by category…

Top Pick

Brinsea USHD 500 EcoGlow Brooder

Great choice for first-time and experienced chick keepers due to its simple functionality and good-quality construction.

Brinsea USHD 500 EcoGlow Brooder

Out of all the chicken brooders I’ve looked at, the Brinsea EcoGlow is my top pick as it’s ideal for keepers new to brooding, as well as those with a lot of experience.

It is reliable, easy to use, and can hold up to 20 chicks.

Best Value

K&H Pet Products Thermo-Poultry Brooder

A simple but efficient device for keeping your chicks warm until they are ready to go to your chicken coop.

K&H Pet Products Thermo-Poultry Brooder

Need an affordable but effective chick brooder for your day old chickens? You can’t go wrong with the K&H Pet Products chick brooder.

It provides all the warmth your chicks need at a budget-friendly price.

Editor’s Choice

Brinsea Products TLC-30 Eco Brooder

An excellent unit for brooding tiny or sick chicks.

Brinsea Products TLC-30 Eco Brooder

One of my personal favorite chicken brooders is the Brinsea TLC-30 Eco Brooder.

It’s sturdy and high-quality, and ideal for newly hatched chicks or those that could do with a little extra care.

Best Brooders for Chicks – Top 5 Reviewed

Top Pick

Brinsea USHD 500

Great choice for first-time and experienced chick keepers due to its simple functionality and good-quality construction.

Brinsea USHD 500

The Brinsea 500 EcoGlow chick brooder is a great choice for first-time and experienced chick keepers due to its simple functionality and good-quality construction.

I’ve used this brooder many times myself, and it is one I know I can rely on.

Settings and Indicator

The unit can be adjusted to 3 heights to accommodate various chick sizes – so, whether you’re raising large or small chick breeds, this brooder has you covered until your young poultry are ready for your coop.

I appreciate that the brooder has an indicator light that confirms when the device is actively working.

This is a really handy feature as you’ll be able to clearly see if there’s a fault with the device.

Function

The Brinsea 500 EcoGlow has a radiant-heated underside which not only produces a uniform temperature throughout the device, but also minimizes power consumption (hence the name, EcoGlow!).

It can accommodate up to 20 chicks, so it is ideal if you want to expand your flock size quickly.

Power Cable

The chick brooder has a 10-foot power cable so you can use it in areas that don’t have a power source closeby.

It’s made from antimicrobial polyurethane plastic too, which increases its durability and resistance to bacterial contamination.

My only gripes with this brooder is that it can be hard to clean and assemble.

Snapping the heating element into place can be frustrating and fiddly.

The plastic slots to house the lamp can also be a bit flimsy.

Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 12.6” x 8.15” x 8.27”
  • Product Weight: 1.7 lbs
  • Chick Capacity: Up to 20 Chicks
  • Voltage: 12 V

Pros

  • 3 levels of height to accommodate chicks of all sizes
  • Maintains a consistent heat throughout
  • Low power consumption
  • Ideal for up to 20 chicks

Cons

  • Attaching the heat lamp into place can be fiddly
  • Plastic slots to hold heat source can be flimsy

Best Value

K&H Pet Products Thermo-Poultry Brooder

A simple but efficient device for keeping your chicks warm until they are ready to go to your chicken coop.

K&H Pet Products Thermo-Poultry Brooder

The K&H Pet Products chick brooder is a simple but efficient device for keeping your chicks warm until they are ready to go to your chicken coop.

It safely radiates heat above your chicks as well as being energy efficient (it only uses 25 watts!).

Indicator Light

One of the best features about this chick brooder heat lamp is its indicator light.

When the heat source is actively working, a light appears.

This is helpful for quickly identifying if the heat lamp is switched off or not working as intended.

Design

Due to the simple design of this brooder, it’s a breeze to clean and assemble. In fact, you don’t need any tools to get the device up and running, which is definitely a feature I would appreciate.

The device can accommodate an area of up to 20 chicks, all of varying sizes thanks to its adjustable height.

Adjustable Height

As your chicks grow, you can gradually adjust the height of the heat lamp.

However, the K&H Pet Products chick brooder can take some time to get warm.

It also doesn’t produce as much warmth as some other chicken brooders, so it may not be adequate for brooding during colder months.

Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 8” x 13.5” x 8”
  • Product Weight: 2.2
  • Chick Capacity: Up to 20 Chicks

Pros

  • Energy efficient
  • Features an indicator light to let you know when the heat lamp is on
  • Simple to clean and assemble
  • Can accommodate chicks of different sizes

Cons

  • Heat lamp can take some time to get warm
  • May be unsuitable for winter use

Editor’s Choice

Brinsea Products TLC-30 Eco Brooder

An excellent unit for brooding tiny or sick chicks.

Brinsea Products TLC-30 Eco Brooder

The Brinsea TLC-30 chick brooder is an excellent unit for brooding tiny or sick chicks as it’s sturdy, durable, and made of UV resistant polycarbonate.

Features

It features an adjustable air vent to ensure every chick gets plenty of ventilation.

The brooder has 12-volt operation and warms up quickly – the temperature can be easily controlled by a turn of the dial on the thermostat.

It comes with a thermometer so you can monitor the temperature of the unit too.

I really love how quiet this brooder is during operation – its low-speed fans minimize noise to the point you can barely hear it!

Insulation

The box is double-walled for optimal temperature and sound insulation, making sure your chicks are as comfortable as possible.

The device has a smooth mirrored interior which not only looks attractive, but makes it simple to clean.

It has a removable door and compartment so you can wipe down each nook and cranny with ease.

Stackable

Brinsea’s TLC-30 brooder is stackable so you can use it with other Brinsea chick brooders. It’s also highly portable thanks to its integrated carry handle located on the roof of the unit.

My own gripe with this unit is its small size.

While the capacity isn’t specified, I’d estimate that it could only hold around a couple of day old chicks.

Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 11” x 11” x 12”
  • Product Weight: 7.98 lbs
  • Voltage: 12 V

Pros

  • Adjustable thermostat and thermometer to ensure the right level of warmth
  • Heats up quickly
  • Offers plenty of ventilation
  • Easy to assemble and clean
  • Stackable design and highly portable

Cons

  • Small size – would not be able to hold more than two chicks

Rural365 Chick Heating Plate Brooder Plate

A chick brooder that stimulates the temperature of a mother hen to ensure your day old chickens get all the warmth they need.

Rural365 Chick Heating Plate Brooder Plate

Next up is the Rural365 chick brooder that stimulates the temperature of a mother hen to ensure your day old chickens get all the warmth they need.

Size

This heat plate for brooding measures 12 inches by 12 inches, so you can use for up to 25 chicks.

The legs on the unit have 26 levels of height to keep chicks warm throughout their growth stages.

Features

One of the best features of the Rural365 brooder is its durable construction.

It is made from sturdy ABS plastic to see you through many brooding cycles.

The unit only uses 22 watts to make it energy efficient, and has a built-in resistant fuse and temperature fuse to prevent overheating and short-circuiting.

LED Indicator

There’s also an LED indicator so you know when the brooder is switched on and working correctly.

Unfortunately, Rural365 chick brooders can be a little unreliable as they stop working after a short period of time.

Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 14.8” x 12.6” x 2.28”
  • Product Weight: 3.23 lbs
  • Chick Capacity: Up to 25 Chicks
  • Voltage: 12 V

Pros

  • Suitable for up to 25 chicks – great for keepers with lots of chicks
  • Energy efficient
  • Legs have 26 levels of height to suit chicks of all sizes (from a day old to 40 days old!)
  • LED indicator

Cons

  • Can stop working prematurely

Titan Incubators Chick Heating Plate/Brooder Hen

Produces a safe and consistent area of radiant warmth, ensuring your chicks growth until they are ready for your adult chicken coop.

Titan Incubators Chick Heating Plate/Brooder Hen

The last chick brooder I’d recommend for keeping small chicks warm is the Titan Incubators heating plate.

It produces a safe and consistent area of radiant warmth, ensuring your chicks growth until they are ready for your adult chicken coop.

Adjustable

It has adjustable legs that let you change the height of the unit as your chicks get bigger.

You can use it for up to 25 chicks, so it’s a great pick for chicken keepers who need a quality but big brooder.

The brooder is energy efficient as it only uses 20 watts of power, so it is cheaper to run than most heat lamps.

Design

It’s also simple to use and set up due to its simple design – you also don’t need any tools to get it up and running!

The only downside of the Titan Incubators heating plate for chicks is that it can sometimes struggle to retain heat.

NOTE

Make sure you check the temperature of the unit with a thermometer to ensure every one of your little chicks gets the correct amount of warmth.

Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 14.57” x 12.6” x 1.97”
  • Product Weight: 3..21 lbs
  • Chick Capacity: Up to 25 chicks

Pros

  • Suitable for brooding up to 25 chicks
  • More energy efficient that most heating lamps
  • Simple to set up and use

Cons

  • Can sometimes struggle to retain warmth

What Is a Chicken Brooder?

A chicken brooder is a heated device that is designed for rearing chicks.

Day old chicks need warmth as their lack of feathers make them unable to regulate their body temperature.

A brooder replicates the warmth from a mother hen and allows you to feed, water, and care for your chicks in a safe area until they are large enough and ready to go into a chicken coop.

Some brooders come with enclosures, while others are just a heat source. 

TIP

If you don’t have an area or pen to house your chicks in, then you’ll need to make sure you get one. Otherwise, your small chicks will escape!

Why Buy Chick Brooders?

Chick Held in Hand
Chick Held in Hand

After hatching, chicks require warmth and care to help them mature.

While a mother hen will usually perform these duties, a brooder allows you to look after a larger number of chicks, ensuring each one gets the same level of care.

Some hens reject their chicks, so a brooder is a great device to have on hand as a safety precaution.

Advantages of Using a Chicken Brooder for a Baby Chick

  • Conditions in a brooder can be controlled and monitored.
  • Brooders keep chicks safe and secure from predators or extreme weather.
  • The heat source is more reliable than a mother hen as it is consistent, allowing you to raise chicks until they are around 42 days old (6 weeks old) and have developed feathers.
  • Chicks raised using a brooder have higher survival rates.
  • Brooders make maintaining cleanliness of your chicks’ habitat much easier.
  • Infections and health issues are less likely to occur in brooders as you can control the conditions.

Who Should Buy a Chick Brooder?

Still not sure whether you need a chicken brooder for your flock?

Let’s take a look at some points to bear in mind to help you decide whether a brooder is necessary for your needs.

  • Chicken keepers who want to raise a large number of chickens or are looking to quickly expand their flock size.
  • Those who want to decrease the risk of infection and illness within their flock.
  • Poultry owners who live in cold areas.
  • Chicken owners who are looking to run their farm as a business.

Are Chicken Brooders Dangerous?

Chicks Resting Near a Brooder
Chicks Resting Near a Brooder

As long as you use a chick brooder correctly and select a high-quality unit, it’s very unlikely you’ll encounter any issues.

However, there are still a few hazards you should be aware of, such as:

  • Brooders that are too hot can cause chicks to huddle together and potentially crush one another.
  • Temperatures that are too hot or cold can be fatal to chicks.
  • Unsturdy brooders could fall onto your chicks.
  • Poor-quality brooders could malfunction or break.
  • Heat lamps that are not fastened correctly could collapse on your chicks, burning them.
  • Chicks could escape through small gaps in a brooder enclosure if it’s not closed properly.
  • Pine shavings that are sodden can grow mold and fungus – make sure you keep the unit’s cleanliness in check!

Things to Consider When Buying the Best Chicken Brooder

When choosing the best chicken brooder for your little chicks, there are a few factors you should bear in mind, which I’ll be going over below.

Purpose/Usage

Think about your flock size, environment, and the amount of time you have spare to raise chicks.

Brooders that come with a thermometer are useful for monitoring the temperature of the unit, ensuring your chicks are always at the correct warmth.

Size

You should also consider the size of the unit – some brooders are quite bulky, so they may not be the right choice for you if you have limited space.

Unless your brooder comes with an enclosure, you’ll need an area to place your chicks in. The brooder is simply a heat source, so it won’t stop your chicks from escaping!

A brooder box or secure area (such as a pen) should be used alongside a chicken brooder.

Flock Size

Baby Chicks Resting Together
Baby Chicks Resting Together

Before purchasing a chicken brooder, make sure you know how many chicks you want to raise.

Some brooders can hold over 50 chicks, while others can only hold 5 or 10. You’ll also have to account for the size of your chicks as they grow – day old chickens will be a lot smaller than chicks that are 42 days old!

The manufacturer should state the capacity of their brooder in the product description, so be sure to look out for this to ensure you select the right unit for your needs. If the capacity isn’t specified, I would advise seeing what the seller says by getting in touch with them.

RECOMMENDATION

If you’re new to raising poultry, I’d recommend starting with a few chicks (around 5 or 10) initially until you get more experience and feel more comfortable.

Price and Quality

Prices vary from brooder to brooder, but more high-quality units will usually be quite pricey. Brooders are definitely something you don’t want malfunctioning – a fault with the unit could be fatal to your chicks!

Scour reviews of the chicken brooder you want to purchase to see what each user says about the product, and if they have run into any issues with it.

This will help you decide on whether the device is trustworthy and reliable.

TIP

Try to get the best brooder you can afford to ensure the safety of your young chickens. It’s better to get a smaller brooder that’s well-made than one that’s larger but constructed out of inferior materials.

Design and Material

While the design of a chicken brooder should be something that appeals to you, it should also be functionable and simple to assemble.

If you don’t know how to use the unit, then that could create problems in the future.

The brooder should also have adjustable legs as this will help accommodate your chicks at their various growth stages until they are bigger enough to go outside in your chicken coop (around 42 days old).

TIP

The material of the brooder is also important – make sure the device is constructed out of non-toxic, durable, and sturdy materials.

Warmth

If the temperature of a brooder gets too high, it can burn or even kill your young chickens. On the flipside, if the brooder is too cold, then it can also lead to premature death.

To ensure you always know the warmth of your brooder, use a unit that comes with a thermostat so you can control the heat level.

If you notice your chicks huddle together or become overly noisy, then the temperature of the heat source may not be enough.

Alternatively, if your chicks are spread out along the edges of the brooder, they may be too hot.

Cleaning

Last but not least, the chicken brooder you use should be relatively straightforward to clean. Small units are normally easier to maintain than large ones, as are brooders that aren’t difficult to assemble.

FAQs

How to Set Up a Chick Brooder

Depending on the type of brooder you use, the setup will be slightly different.

For most brooders, however, you’ll first need to fasten the legs on the heat source to fit the chicks’ size.

Then place it inside the brooder enclosure and plug the power cable into a power socket. Switch the brooder on and wait for the heat lamp to warm up.

Once the brooder has had enough time to warm up, move your chicks to the housing area and watch them closely to see how they react.

Check out the video below for an example of a chicken brooder.

How to set up a chicken brooder for baby chicks

What Do Chicken Brooders Need?

Unless you’re purchasing a starter brooder kit that comes with everything you need to start raising chicks, your chicken brooder will require:

  • Housing enclosure (an area to house your chicks in)
  • Energy source
  • Pine shavings
  • Top cover
  • Power surge protector
  • Thermometer
  • Thermostat

How to Clean Chicken Brooders and Warm Lamps

Once you’ve got your chick brooder or lamp all up and running, give it a thorough clean with soapy water before moving your chicks inside.

You should also clean your brooder after your chicks have moved to your coop.

This will help prevent any illnesses or bacteria that could be present in the unit being passed onto your next batch of chicks.

  1. To clean your brooder, first unplug it from the power source.
  2. Next unfasten the legs of the brooder, dip a clean cloth in soapy water and squeeze it.
  3. Wipe down the entire unit with the wet cloth (make sure you don’t get any water on the heat lamp element).
  4. Once you’ve cleaned your brooder, leave it to dry completely for around a day before plugging it back into a power source.

Here’s an quick video on cleaning a baby chick brooder:

Raising baby chicks – how to clean out a baby chick brooder.

How Often to Clean a Brooder

You should clean your brooder and brooding area before any new chicks are introduced and when it becomes dirty during an ongoing brooding cycle.

Ideal Temperature for a Brooding Box

The ideal temperature for a brooder area and heat lamp when warmed is around 95 degrees Fahrenheit for day old poultry, but you may need to lower it depending on how your chicks react.

Each week lower the temperature by 5 degrees Fahrenheit until the temperature is the same as ambient temperature.

Final Thoughts

Top Pick

After looking at a range of chicken brooders, I think the best one overall is the Brinsea 500 EcoGlow as it is simple to use, reliable, and ideal for new and experienced chick keepers.

You can adjust the height of the brooder so it can accommodate chicks of all sizes, from little to big.

It also has an LED indicator so you know when the device is actively working.

Other Great Options

Two other chick brooders I recommend are the K&H Pet Products Thermo-Poultry Brooder and Brinsea Products TLC-30 Eco Brooder.

Best Value

Both are great options for chicks, but the K&H Pet Products brooder is a more affordable option.

Editor’s Choice

I personally like the Brinsea Products TLC-30 brooder as it is excellent quality and perfect for keepers who only have a few chicks.

I hope this guide on chicken brooders helped you find the right one for your chicks, but let me know if there’s anything I’ve missed that you’re unsure of.

Which brooder for chicks did you settle on?

Be sure to let me know on our social media platforms! If you’re after more informative guides on chicks and chickens, check out our other posts.

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Jess Woods
Jess Woods
Founder of Chickens & You. I love raising chickens and creating a self sustainable homestead for my family. I like to spend my time writing and teaching skills for homesteading and self sufficient living. 🐓 👩‍🌾