Best flooring & bedding surfaces for baby chicks?

warmheart

Songster
7 Years
Sep 30, 2012
428
31
118
Norton, MA
My brooder plans are to have newspaper down, then paper towels atop that, for better traction, when the babies are brand new and just a few days old. Should I eventually after a week or so put sand in the brooder as a bedding atop the newspaper? Do I add chick grit to the sand, or use chick grit instead of sand? Thanks for the guidance!
 

HeatherEmme

Chirping
6 Years
Apr 4, 2013
148
11
83
At first I lined my brooder with newspaper and topped it with pine shavings. Now I just use pine shavings because I got sick of having to separate the newspaper from the shavings when dumping into the compost. I compost newspaper, but not in the same compost that I use for my garden. Don't like the inks etc going into the food I eat, but that's just me.

Pine works good but they get it every where. I'm constantly having to change their water...even though I have it elevated a bit. They get it into their food, too. Kind of a pain. They do get to scratch around in it though and I think they like it quite a bit. Pine also keeps the chick smell out. I change the shavings about every other day and honestly all I can smell is pine. With the brooder in the house that's important to me. Although now I'm getting sick of smelling pine LOL
 

warmheart

Songster
7 Years
Sep 30, 2012
428
31
118
Norton, MA
Good point-- about the smell! Sand in the brooder is too stinky? Is chick grit then offered in a separate dish rather than scattered on the floor of the brooder, , to help prevent pasty butt?
 

HeatherEmme

Chirping
6 Years
Apr 4, 2013
148
11
83
I'm not really sure about the sand. I know some people on here use it in their coops. I'd imagine you'd just need a good way to sift it to get out the poo. Unless you plan to dump the sand which I imagine could get expensive. You could probably fashion yourself some kind of sifter made from a fine mesh? I think of gold miners when I picture that in my head LOL

I didn't get day old chicks. Mine were two weeks old when I got them and I think that's about the age you would offer grit? I think everyone is a bit different on how they raise chicks. Having sand may make that unnecessary though. They just need something to help them mash up the treats etc and in the wild they'd naturally get that from sand, I suppose. I think most people on here recommend giving treats around and after two weeks of age.

Sorry I can't be of more help
hmm.png
I'm new at this myself.
 

warmheart

Songster
7 Years
Sep 30, 2012
428
31
118
Norton, MA
Thank you HeatherEmme, I'm going to keep researching. I appreciate your input! I've got much to learn yet.
 
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MontanaDolphin

Songster
6 Years
Feb 16, 2013
1,051
81
168
Columbia, Virginia
My first batch of chicks started on newspaper and pine shavings. Not my second batch. HeatherEmme is right that it helps with the smell, however you have to change the shavings frequently to keep it that way. I went through so much shavings with my first batch, I felt like I was wasting a lot of money. At 5 weeks old, I switched to sand.

My second batch of chicks went straight to sand at a day old. I would never use anything else. There are some great things about using sand, but there are a couple of drawbacks.

The great things: Number ONE: SUPER easy to keep clean! You just scoop and sift like you would a litterbox! TWO: No need to add grit...because the sand IS their grit! THREE: Great for dust bathing! My chicks LOVE to dust bathe in the sand. FOUR: Cheap. No more than 4 bucks for a 50 pound bag, and for my brooder, I only needed one bag.

The drawbacks: ONE: Starts to stink after awhile...but I've read that a lot of people who use sand in their brooder use PDZ which eliminates the smell. TWO: DUSTY!!! My chicks before the sand made dust...but AFTER the sand, it's like a dust storm. I haven't found a way to make the dust situation any better. I even switched to a different kind of sand, but it's still dusty...and it's the "premium" sand that's been washed, screened, and dried.
 

TLWR

Crowing
10 Years
Jul 10, 2010
2,892
302
286
southern AL
I used sand from day 1. I used a bug net from the dollar bins at Target to scoop daily or 2x daily. Then found myself a reptile scoop to clean it.
You can also add sweet pdz to help with any smell, but I didn't really smell the brooder when in the house, but I cleaned it at least once a day.
 

MontanaDolphin

Songster
6 Years
Feb 16, 2013
1,051
81
168
Columbia, Virginia
Play sand is the most used, but I know others have used river sand and construction sand.

The first sand I used was the play sand from walmart. Bad choice. It wasn't washed so it was VERY dusty! I mean, you needed to wear a face mask when you poured it into the brooder! I ended up throwing that sand out after a week because of how dusty it was, and got the "Premium Play Sand" from Lowes that was washed screened and dried. Still a little dusty, but not anywhere close to how dusty that other sand was!
 

MANNA-PRO

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