Bedding dilemma.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ack13, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. ack13

    ack13 Hatching

    Jan 2, 2008
    Alright, 15 new chicks and I thought I had already read all of the books and new exactly how to proceed-

    So far everyone is healthy and peeping, eating, drinking, sleeping, pooping. The brooder is currently a cardboard box be-decked with a layer of absorbent fabric (no exposed threads) beneath 1/8 inch wire mesh with grass hay laid down and paper towels over that. They are finding their food from the feeder now, but had learned initially from food lain out on the paper towels. But I've begun reading posts and now I'm concerned about my bedding-

    1. Do the chicks really NEED to have pine shavings? Or is the grass hay alright so long as they know their food and aren't eating the bedding? I've noticed few people suggesting hay, but that is what they suggested at the feed store. Other posts suggest that either hay or shavings could create crop problems? I'm concerned about being a bad mother...

    Also, are their feet going to be alright? No slippery surfaces, right? Is the 1/8inch wire mesh too small? should it be 1/4inch? It would be easier to feel confident if my boyfriend wasn't also reading books and helping me to second guess myself [​IMG]

    Any tried and true suggestions?
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Lots of ways to do it. I personally use shavings if I have them, but if I don't, go ahead and use straw or hay. Just be sure the straw or hay is not moldy or excessively dusty. I find shavings to be much easier to use and much more absorbent. As for wire bottom floors, I avoid those because it can cause feet problems or hurt the feet of heavier breeds. For a short while would be fine though. For the non slippery surface, that just means don't put them in a glass bottom tank with not litter or put them on newspaper. If you have shavings or other litter down on top of a slippery surface, no problems. Good luck!
  3. blb

    blb Songster

    Jan 13, 2008
    I just wanted to say you sound like me! These will be my first chicks and I have read everything around. I am also starting to second guess myself. This is why I have come to love this place. You can ask people here and they will tell ya what they do.

    Good luck!
  4. Barnyard

    Barnyard Addicted to Quack

    Aug 5, 2007
    Southwest Georgia
    I have 19 almost 2weeks old. I have been using pineshaving covered with papertowels, covered by a flannel shirt, ( the shirt was just for comfort [​IMG] I just took away the shirt and the papertowels a couple of day's ago and they seem to be doing fine. I have noticed that they like to "scratch" the bedding to the bottom where all the smaller pieces are so that they can " bath" [​IMG] that is the cuttiest thing ever. GOOD LUCK!!
  5. kstaven

    kstaven Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    Straw, hay, shavings. All quite safe once the chicks have learned where the food and water is, and that only takes a couple of days.
  6. warriorchick

    warriorchick In the Brooder

    Feb 16, 2008
    Austin, TX
    I just got my first chicks too (![​IMG]) and I have been using dried leaves mixed with straw- it seems to be working well. I also put a sheet under the bedding because they like to scratch it away until they reach the floor of the tub
  7. sweetshoplady

    sweetshoplady Songster

    Feb 4, 2008
    Venice, Florida
    My chicks are in a cardboard brooder. Today I switched from shredded phone book to shavings. They got the shavings everywhere. Filled their water and food with shavings. So I went outside and got a cement block and put it in one corner and put their water up there. They can fly to the top of the box so the height should not be an issue and there is a ledge. I put each one up to show where there water was.

    The pine shavings are a cleaner bedding, more absorbant, less odor, no poopy feet.
  8. SillyChick

    SillyChick Songster

    Dec 15, 2007
    I also got the same problem before! I found that pine shavings can be quite expensive. But then I ("sillyingly")discovered that dried grass works great! We have lots of tall grass in the yard, so I started collecting and threw them into the coop. As for the brooder, since they're only going to live there for 2 months, I used pine shavings. Cover the shavings with paper or cloth for the first 3 days so the chicks won't try to eat them. Be quite careful with hay - it may get stuck in their crop.

    Pine shavings are indeed the best bedding, but you can also use other absorbent items like hay, straw, grass, shredded paper, and others.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2008
  9. halo

    halo Got The Blues

    Nov 22, 2007
    My Coop
    Ive also just started with chicks, and my first 2 brooders had pine shavings in them. When I clean it out, I dump it in my garden. Ive now decided to go to old hay that I have in my barn, since I think that chicken poopy hay will be better in my garden and break down faster than chicken poopy shavings.

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