Sheet metal or drill
Chicken wire, screen, or drill
Stop tripping over that old footlocker and take it outside. No, you’re not going to set it by the curb for pickup; you can turn it in to something useful – if you raise chickens, that is. An old footlocker can be made into a chicken brooder that is slender and easy to fit nearly anywhere. The incubator is not the normal one, for sure, but it will be lighted, vented, and worthy of your efforts.
It won’t take a huge amount of work to make a footlocker into a house for baby chicks. The best footlocker is one that is solid wood, or one that is wood with metallic trim. The footlocker should be a simplistic one, with a bottom, a hinged top, and four sides – that’s it. In addition, it should not be one that is especially long.
You can cut a piece of sheet metal – if you want to go that way with the incubator door – or you can redo a wooden door. With sheet metal, cut a door by using the old door as a pattern. Cut two squares out of the metal, replace those with chicken wire or other screen, and hinge the door back onto the footlocker.
To redo the existing door, draw and cut out two squares from the wood. Replace them with chicken wire or other suitable screen. Just cut the screen sections with wire cutters.
To install a light in the brooder, cut a hole on one long side of the locker, at the end. Or, put the light above, through one short side of the locker – in the middle. From inside, feed the cord of the light through the hole. Attach the hardware on the inside and plug in the light.
Instead of setting the foot locker on its bottom – like is normally done – stand it up on one short end. If the locker has handles, remove them first. Position the door in front of you and make it so that it opens from left to right, or from right to left, depending on your preference.
If you have different needs for your chickens there is yet another incubator design that you can do. Set the foot locker on a table on one long side, position the door to be in front of you, and make it so that it opens down. It’s up to you if you cut out panels and replace them with screen. You have an option of simply drilling holes in the door.
In need of a brooder? Go get that old foot locker. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can change the wooden box into exactly what you need for your chicks!