Raising Chicks In the House


My new chicks have arrived! It’s a batch of up and coming layers–Brown Leghorns, Silver-Spangled Hamburgs, New Hampshire Reds, White Rocks, and Speckled Sussex. Just a few of each. It’s fall, so that means it’s too chilly to keep chicks in the barn unless I use a heat lamp. My barn is 100+ years old. Old wood and lots of hay around in there. I don’t feel comfortable using a heat lamp in the barn, so I’m keeping them in the house.

Chicks need five things to thrive:

1. Food.
2. Water.
3. Warmth.
4. Clean environment.
5. Enough space so they’re not over-crowded.

(6. A little love doesn’t hurt either!)

I’m using large plastic tubs. I drilled holes in the top for ventilation. (Sometimes I take the top off completely, depends on where the cat and pup are at the time, and if I’m available to supervise.)
I have two of them right now, and I’m cleaning them out twice a day–I just switch them to the other tub, back and forth. I took these pictures right after I put them in the tub. Afterward it occurred to me to put towels on the floor under the tubs, so I have the towels down now. I was concerned the floor would be cold.

I like using clear tubs because it’s sort of like a chick aquarium.
Buttercup likes it, too.
And so does Precious.

As they grow, I’ll end up splitting them into two groups in separate tubs, and probably even to a third tub before they’re feathered out enough to move to the chicken house.
The Brown Leghorns and Silver-Spangled Hamburgs will lay white eggs, while the rest of them will lay brown ones. The young Araucanas that are now in the chicken house will lay blue and green eggs. I’m looking forward to a colorful assortment of eggs in the spring!


  1. Joell says:

    This is so interesting, later when you are able to gather their eggs, it will look like an Easter basket with all of the various colors.

  2. WvSky says:

    Do you not need a thermometer?

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      They are near the gas wall heater, and if the house still seems chilly I run the central heat, which comes up from floor vents. I’m keeping the house warmer than I’d like, but it’s for the chicks. They seem to be plenty warm. If they’re cold, you can tell because they clump all over each other.

  3. GA_in_GA says:

    I love the chick pics! Now I want some!

    I used a Brines Ecoglow for keeping chicks warm. Much, much safer than a heat lamp and the chicks could pop under it as needed for warmth.

  4. mtnmedx says:

    Hi GA_in_GA~ I’ve heard good things about the Ecoglow. Where did you get yours?

  5. dklenke says:

    I have done this the last three winters with 3 cats, two dogs and no problem. Last year, I had a new kitten and he spent time trying to eat the chicks. I think he will still try to do it, this year. :hungry: I guess we will see. :chicken:

  6. GA_in_GA says:

    Hi mtnmedx. I purchased directly from Brinsea. They have a website and an 800 number. I also use their incubator for hatching.

  7. ClaudiaL says:

    I use the tubs for my chicks as well, but I used leftover chicken wire for the top and then put a heat lamp on top with just a 60 watt bulb in it. I keep them in my mudroom which is not closed off from the rest of the house, so I just need to keep the two little dogs from hopping in. (Not to be cuddly, so they can destroy them! Jack Russels…ack!)

  8. EMarie says:

    Loving your set-up! We’ll probably borrow your idea when we’re able to set up :fairy: our chicken house again.

  9. stacylee says:

    I am so jealous of the chicks, and the future eggs!

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