Best Bedding for Brooder?

MjsChickens

In the Brooder
May 23, 2017
33
15
39
United States
My Coop
My Coop
I planned on using pine shavings, but since my chicks will be about a day old, I didn't want to risk them eating the shavings... I have heard of people putting paper towels over the pine shavings for a couple days, but wouldn't they pick through/around the paper towels? I will also be getting keets, but I know they would eat the shavings, so I have an old towel in there, but I also have rubber shelf liner available. My main concern is the chicks, as I don't want them to eat pine shavings and not being able to digest them properly... :( Thanks for advice in advance.
 

MjsChickens

In the Brooder
May 23, 2017
33
15
39
United States
My Coop
My Coop
My chicks don't eat the wood chips.It seems the ducklings eat it more.They should be fine but you can provide chick grit to help them digest it better.
I bought some chick grit just in case. I have just heard so many horror stories about chicks eating wood chips and then dying a few days later... Thank you so much for the reassurance! :)
 

RonC

Songster
7 Years
Feb 28, 2012
1,510
129
196
D/FW
About 3-4 days. They started trying to destroy my towels pulling strings out. I've never had a problem with them learning what food or water is although I have heard of people having to show them. Usually one is smarter and the others learn from them.
 

MjsChickens

In the Brooder
May 23, 2017
33
15
39
United States
My Coop
My Coop
@MasterOfClucker So if they do eat a wood shaving, but they have grit, they should be fine? Sorry to be bothersome, but I just don't want to start off with a mistake :) Also, how often do you change the litter? I am going to probably have 12 chicks in one big brooder.
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Dec 11, 2009
17,849
20,871
912
Colorado Rockies
The danger of new baby chicks consuming their bedding is way overblown. I've watched the little shavers from day one, and they barely eat anything for the first three days or so, let alone enough bedding to choke off life.

For one thing, they are so tiny, they will want to eat very tiny morsels, not big pine flakes. I've had my one-day olds on sand bedding and they will eat a certain amount of that substance. But there is no danger as long as they have access to water and know how to drink it. Any excess will flush through their systems.

The only real reason to place toweling over the shavings for the first few days is so the babies can find their food easier and sprinkling it over the ground does enable them to find the crumbles faster than just leaving them to discover the feeder. The toweling also enables you to observe their poops and discover any issues early such as a chick not pooping or one with diarrhea or bloody stools.

It matters very little what bedding you use. Choose whatever you feel will make your life easier.
 

RonC

Songster
7 Years
Feb 28, 2012
1,510
129
196
D/FW
I've never had a problem with them eating it. They will pick it up and taste it but they are going to pick up anything you put in the brooder. I stirred mine around daily to get fresh litter to the top. They do a pretty good job or stirring it too. My last ones were in the brooder only three weeks and never I changed it. Bigger brooder with less chicks. My first batch of chicks the litter was about 6 inches deep when I started and had to change it after about three weeks with six chicks in a 2x4 brooder. As they got bigger so did the poops and it took about a week on the second change but they went out to the coop/run and the litter in the trash.
 
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