I need some advice on bedding.
We have one brooder with two month-old Buff Opringtons and one brooder with 3 two-week old RIRs.
We started out with paper towels over pine shavings and that seemed to work great at first, but the chicks just love to peck, peck, peck, as they should, and they are actually eating the shavings that escape from beneath the paper towels.
When I take the paper towels up, they kick the shavings around everywhere, and some get into the food dish (even though I've elevated it on a big wooded platform along with the waterer) and they eat those.
I've played around back and forth with paper towels vs. no paper towels. I'm learning that the chicks like contrast and anything that contrasts to the floor they will eat!!
I can't seem to win either way! :( I'm concerned they aren't getting enough food since they're filling up on shavings. We will be using deep litter in the coop with pine shavings in a few weeks so I'm concerned they won't eat their food there either.
My only thought was to create a gutter-system to feed the chicks - to elevate the food so that the pine shavings wouldn't get in there. I know their instinct is to scratch and peck and I don't want to hinder that, either.
Any other thoughts??
Thanks so much! :)