Keeping Brooder Water Clean- The Riser for Baby Chicks

When raising baby chicks, keeping the water clean in their brooder can be a major challenge. Busy chicks kick shavings into the waterer and always find a way to poop in it.

When raising baby chicks, keeping the water clean in their brooder can be a major challenge. Busy chicks kick shavings into the waterer and always find a way to poop in it. By far, my preference is to use poultry nipple waterers, however, it is not always possible to hang a bottle of water from the side of the brooder, particularly when utilizing a cardboard box.

Cardboard boxes make great brooders for baby chicks, but boxes can make hanging poultry nipple waterers difficult.

Chicks also step in and splash water, which leads to wet litter and when chicks eat feed off the wet, soiled brooder floor, that can lead to a disease called coccidiosis. Cocci  is the #1 killer of baby chicks and a clean, dry brooder is critical to keeping them alive and healthy.

Hardware cloth riser keeps bedding out of chick waterers and makes soiling them more difficult.

My attempt to keep traditional chick waterers cleaner longer was to fashion a simple riser to get the water up out of the way of the litter and out of the way of chick butts. Four bends in a piece of hardware cloth is all it takes to create the riser. The riser measures 4 inches from the floor, low enough for the chicks to be able to hop up onto and not walk underneath. The surface is only large enough for the feeder and waterer and a few chicks to fit on it at the same time- no extra room for playing. I wasn’t sure if the hardware cloth alone would be strong enough to support a full waterer, feeder and two chicks, but it is!

Chick water riser in brooder keeps water cleaner longer.

I placed a sheet pan on the brooder floor, lined the sheet pan with shavings and placed the hardware cloth riser on top of the sheet pan. The sheet pan and shavings catch any spills and the chicks are unable to play on or eat out of the wet shavings. Most notably, they have been unable to find a way to poop in the water 99% of the time! Right on!

Brooder water riser for baby chicks.

The chicks are 4 weeks old today and are tall enough to reach the water without climbing onto the riser and their water stays clean!

Wheaten Marans chicks
Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick®

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Gina Cara Van Dusen
Gina Cara Van Dusen
7 years ago

Your little ones are so adorable!

Sandie McGann
Sandie McGann
7 years ago

I am having the same issue keeping the chicks water clean. This is a fantastic idea. I have learned a lot from your website. Thank you!

scrambledmess
scrambledmess
7 years ago

Perfect timing for this post. I have been using a plate to lift the waterer. But it hasn't been high enough. I am still changing the water twice a day. Off to town to buy some hardware cloth. Thanks for the tip.

Denise Haymore
Denise Haymore
7 years ago

This is off topic, but I wanted to ask. I have 22 chickens and 3 are roosters. One of them mean and is getting worse everyday. I cannot find anyone to take him and I don't know that I should given that he's mean. Thoughts?

Karen Sanders Warner
Karen Sanders Warner
7 years ago

Love easy to do solutions…the sign of a superior mind!