The Best Chicken Brooder to Buy

by Elaine Gaertner
Last Updated: 18/08/2020
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Why do you need a chicken brooder?

A chicken brooder is nothing but a container that can keep your newly hatched birds warm. Almost any container can function as a brooder: a large cardboard box, a kiddie pool, a borad plastic storage bin, etc.

Your chicks won’t mind what you use for a brooder as long as it keeps them warm. So, it is a good idea to select a brooder that accommodates all of the birds as they like to huddle together for warmth. The brooder should not be too large that it has cold spots in it. As a thumb rule, select a brooder that allows at least 2 sq. ft space per chick.

You can also keep your newly-hatched birds warm by using brooder lamps or heating pads. However, lamps are known to cause fire hazards and they also draw lot of power which can increase your energy bills.

That is why; you need chicken brooders. Chicken brooder heaters consist of a ‘table with legs’ which can be raised or lowered to accommodate the growing birds. The underside of the ‘table’ gets heated, warms the chicks’ backs, and literally simulates the warm body of a mother hen. You can keep your birds warm and comfortable using these brooder heaters which are generally more energy efficient and also safer than infrared heater lamps.

Benefits of using high-quality chicken brooders

High-quality chicken brooders have the following advantages:

They keep newly-hatched/growing baby chicks cosy and comfortable

High-quality brooders evenly radiate heat to keep the birds warm. They simulate the body warmth of the mother bird so your baby chicks can remain warm and comfortable. 

If you have hundreds of baby birds, you can easily join several brooders together to accommodate all of your birds underneath. The height of these brooders can be easily adjusted as the birds grow in size until they are able to take care of themselves.

Unlike heater lamps which also emit light, brooders do not give out light. This way, your birds can sleep undisturbed through the night.

They are more energy efficient than heater lamps

Brooders rarely draw too much power and high-quality brooders can easily work at less than 50 W per hour. Compared to heating lamps, they draw much less power and will not increase your electricity bills.

They reduce the risk of fires

Many heaters, infrared lamps, and heating pads tend to pose fire hazards especially when your coop is filled with hay/straw. High-quality brooders minimize fire risks and keep your birds safe.

What to look for in chicken brooders?

You can use the following features to differentiate between brooders:

Dimensions

Select a brooder that can easily accommodate all of your chicks. As a thumb rule, select a brooder that allows at least 2 sq. ft space per chick. Large brooders can easily keep up to 50 baby chicks warm.

Naturally, your brooder’s size requirement will vary based on the species of birds you raise. If you raise multiple poultry birds, water fowl, turkeys, ducks, quails, etc, then you may want to choose a brooder that can accommodate these different species.

Energy efficiency

Select a brooder that does not draw too much power raising your electricity bills dramatically. A brooder will likely be kept on 24/7, especially in the winters and until your birds are at least 4-6 weeks old. So, select a unit that does not draw more than 60 W per hour.

Ease of cleanliness/maintenance

Chicken brooders are often used by the birds to roost upon and poop. Some brooders come with anti-roost cone covers which deter roosting. However, some require you to buy these covers separately.

In case you do not want to cover your brooder pad, you must ensure that the top surface is at least easy enough to wipe down and clean the bird droppings.

Safety of the birds

This is the most important of all features to consider when selecting a chicken brooder. Your brooder should radiate heat evenly and not leave cold or hot spots. It also should not be so hot that it burns the birds; nor should it be too cold that the birds freeze in winters or absolutely refuse to go under it.

The brooder should come with adjustable leg height settings. This way; your birds can be comfortable as they grow. The legs should be firm and should support the brooder firmly. There should be no parts that obstruct the chicks’ free movements or trap or crush the birds.

Now that you know what features to look for in chicken brooders, here are some of the best ones in the market.

Best Chicken Brooder to Select for your Backyard Birds

1. Brinsea Ecoglow 600 Brooder for Chicks and Ducklings

Brinsea Ecoglow 600

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Brinsea Ecoglow brooder can warm up to 20 newly hatched and young ducklings or chicks. The plate’s underside warms the birds just like a mother bird would. This brooder heats uniformly and safely without fire hazards or burns.

The height of the brooder is also adjustable to accommodate growing birds or birds belonging to different species. Brinsea Ecoglow brooders are also available in three different sizes: 600, 1200, and 1500.

Dimensions

The Ecoglow 600 is 20”Lx8”Wx9”H. You can easily fit about 10-12 newly hatched birds under the brooder. This will vary based on the species of birds you raise. As the birds grow, you can easily fit 5-7 birds under the brooder. The brooder size is such that you can also easily place multiple brooders side by side to warm several birds at a time. The brooders’ heights can also be adjusted to accommodate quails, turkeys, and other fowl.

Energy efficiency

No more hot and cold spots! The Ecoglow heats up evenly and nicely ensuring all the birds are warm and cosy. The unit has a flared-skirt design which ensures lower energy consumption. They are safer options compared to heating lamps which require mains voltage. Brinsea Ecoglow brooders use 12V from a mains transformer.

Ease of use and maintenance

Brinsea Ecoglow brooders are made with hygienic ABS plastic. You also get a transparent cover to make cleanup even easier. You can also buy replacement covers separately to ease the cleanup and maintenance of your brooders.

Pros

  • Durable and sturdy
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Leg height adjustment screws are tedious to turn and adjust to specific heights. 
  • In very cold weather, the heat may be inadequate

2. Premier 1 Supplies Chick Brooder Heating Plate

Premier 1

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Premier 1 Supplies chicken brooder heating plate evenly warms up to 50 chicks without excess power consumption.

The underside of this brooder reaches about 125 degrees which is perfect for baby chicks. Its height is also adjustable so you can accommodate growing birds or birds of different species.

Dimensions

This rectangular heating plate is about 16” x 24”. Its leg-height can be adjusted from 1.5 inches to about 6 inches to accommodate the birds as they grow. You can easily keep up to 50 baby birds warm and cosy underneath this brooder plate.

Energy efficiency

Premier 1 Supplies chick brooder heating plate draws about 66W per hour. The temperature reaches a cosy 125 degrees which simulates a mother hen’s body heat. 

Ease of use and maintenance

The brooder plate is easy to use. Simply plug it in to a 110V outlet and let it warm up. Adjust the height so that the plate touches the chicks’ backs. Birds learn to adjust the heat by moving out when warm and moving back in when cold.

Another advantage is that this brooder is very easy to clean. You can deter the chickens from roosting on top and pooping by buying the cone cover which Premier 1 Supplies sell separately.

Alternatively, let the birds roost; you can easily wipe off the top with a damp rag.

Pros

  • Easy to use, clean, and maintain
  • Energy efficient
  • Accommodates different species of birds including quail, turkeys, ducks, and chickens
  • Uniform even heating
  • Safe; no hazards

Cons

  • Heating element is prone to malfunctioning
  • Temperature adjustment is not provided; you need to buy heat regulator separately.

3. RentACoop – Just Like Mother Hen – Chicken Brooder

RentACoop

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RentACoop is a big name when it comes to poultry products and if you raise backyard chickens, you are sure to have used many of them. This chicken brooder heating plate simulates a mother hen and your newly hatched birds will love staying warm and cosy underneath.

Dimensions

RentACoop chicken brooder measures 16”x24”. The height can be adjusted and it can be comfortably used for about 50 chicks aged 1 day to fully grown.

Energy efficiency

This product is energy efficient and won’t increase energy bills. There is a long power cord of about 6 feet which you can connect to a regular power source. The unit does not use more than 66 W of power.

Ease of use and maintenance

The brooder can be fitted with a anti-roost cone on top to deter the chickens from pooping on it. Unfortunately, the cone is not included with the brooder. So, cleaning the unit can be a hassle. Other than that, RentACoop brooders are very easy to use and come assembled.

Pros

  • Ease to use
  • 25 easy-to-adjust settings from 1 to 7 inches
  • Energy efficient
  • Excellent customer service, easy returns/refunds/exchanges

Cons

  • Chicks make a mess on top
  • On very cold nights, the heat may be inadequate. There is no facility to change heat settings. Supplemental heat may be necessary in freezing weather.

4. Titan Incubators Chick Heating Plate/Brooder

Titan Incubators

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Heat lamps for chicken coops often emit inadequate heat, pose fire hazards, and also consume too much power. Chicken brooders are energy efficient, emit radiant heat safely, and perfect for keeping newly-hatched and growing chickens warm and cosy.

Titan Incubators chick brooder can easily accommodate nearly 25 baby birds and have very low power consumption.

Dimensions

Titan Incubator chick brooder measurements are: 11.81”W x 9.45” Leg height x 11.81” Depth. It can easily accommodate 25 waterfowl or poultry birds of various species.

Energy efficiency

The brooder is very energy efficient. It consumes 92% lesser power than heating lamps and draws only about 20 W of power. So, you will save a great deal of money on your energy bills during the rearing period.

Ease of use and maintenance

Titan Incubators brooder is easy to use. Simply plug it in, wait for a few minutes for the brooder to get warm, and then let the chicks go under it.

Cleaning the brooder’s top may be slightly tedious as the surface is rough and chicks invariably use it for pooping. If possible, buy a anti-roosting cone separately or stick some newspapers on the top to ease the cleanup process.

Pros

  • Energy efficient
  • Easy to use
  • Value for money
  • Safe 
  • Distributes heat evenly

Cons

  • Tedious to clean and maintain

5. RentACoop Chicken Brooder with Anti-Roost Cover

RentACoop

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This is a complete chicken brooder kit that also includes an anti-roost cover to deter birds from pooping on top. The unit keeps the young birds’ toasty-warm and literally simulates a mother hen keeping her babies warm under her feathers!

Dimensions

The RentACoop brooder kit measures 16”x24”. It can easily warm up to 50 birds. 

Energy efficiency

This chicken brooder only draws up to 66 Watts per hour – so you can save money on your energy bills.

Ease of use and maintenance

Since the brooder has an anti-roost cover, it deters the birds from pooping. This makes maintenance and cleaning a breeze unlike other models that do not come with a cover.

Pros

  • Easy to use, clean, and maintain
  • Adjustable height for the growing birds
  • Energy efficient

Cons

  • There is no facility provided for temperature regulation. You need to buy a thermostat separately.

Conclusion

A chicken brooder can simulate the mother hen to keep newly-hatched chicks warm and cosy. They are also much safer than heater fans that are prone to fire hazards and also increase one’s energy bills.

We hope the above reviews help you select the right chicken brooder for your coop.

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