I've tried all kinds of bedding, in the brooder and in the coop. I've found the saw dust type to be the best and most absorbant. It is the same bedding they use in horse stalls and is available at most supply stores. My chicks would always eat the pine shavings and this also solved that problem.
Wow what a great idea to use puppy pads! I never thought of that!
I absolutely love puppy pads for when they're itty bitty. It takes exactly 2 minutes to change it out every other day, and I like to see that they are pooping normally in that critical period. They also have no interest in pecking/eating them. I got a huge pack of them for free from a dog breeder, so it was even better! I also put one on my lap so they don't poop on me