Brooder cleaning/bedding


Mar 16, 2016
Midwest US
We have new chicks that we bought today and put them in the brooder lined with paper towels. I had read to do that while they get used to feed for the first few days. The paper towels were so nasty within a few minutes!! They are eating a lot of poo, is that going to be alright? I put them back by the feeder when I see them doing that.

When I switch to pine shavings, is it just a thin layer?
How do you clean the bedding, a new layer every day, or just clean out clumps/spots of soiled shavings? Seems like if I replace it daily, I'll go through a ton of pine?

I picked up my flock today also! Heres what I did and this is by no means the ONLY way to so it. I set up the brooder last night and let it warm up. I layered pine shavings on the bottom and plan on replacing the soiled bedding as needed for now. I have about 2-3 inches of bedding down for them.
I can only tell you what I like to do. I only do paper towels for a day until I see everyone eat then I switch. I give them 3-4 inches of pine shavings. I keep their bedding really dry by elevating the water. When kept dro and dry they just don't get very smelly at all. I'll stir it now and then if it seems compacted. Depending how many chicks and brooder size you might get weeks out of the bedding.
For the first few days with our chicks we used puppy pee pads. Pretty cheap at discount stores for a large pack. I tape them together in the back side if I need the larger size. They are absorbent, but thin and are plastic backed. After a few days, they get pine shavings. I replace them when they begin to smell - usually every 2-3 days, but this does depend on how much space they have as a smaller space may need daily cleaning.

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