Brooder Maintenance

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Russo's Roost, May 18, 2009.

  1. Russo's Roost

    Russo's Roost Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 7, 2009
    Morrisville VT
    I have 6 twelve day old chicks, 3 golden comets and 3 barred plymout rocks, other then one arriving with pasty butt and geting off to a slow start all are doing well.
    I have them in a 24 X 32 inch box with 4 inches of shavings on the bottom. I have the feeder and waterer on a plank level with the top of the shavings.
    When I clean the brooder twice a day I lay down a layer of paper towels and sprinkle some shavings on top of that.
    Lately they are scratching at the paper trowel and making a huge mess of it and that lets all the poops from my peeps get into the 4 inches of shavings on the bottom.
    Should I bother with the paper towels?
    If I eliminate the paper towels, what do I do?
    Do I spot clean the shavings in the box? If I go that way, how often should I completely replace the shavings in the bottom of the box.
    Thank you to anyone in advance who offers advice. I really appreciate the community.
     
  2. cybercat

    cybercat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 22, 2007
    Greeneville, Tn
    Remove the paper towel it is not nessasry at that age. If you have 4 inches of shavings in there they will have to be changed at least every other day to every day.
     
  3. hennypennysmom

    hennypennysmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 31, 2009
    Plymouth, Ma
    Hi -

    I'm new here just like you - we have four 4 day old "feather leg" chicks, and getting 3 Plymouth Rocks tomorrow. Not sure that I'll be much help, but am interested to see what others say about your brooder. Do you have a picture of your brooder that you can share?

    We're using "chucks" pads on the bottom of a extra large, clear rubbermaid container, with a few paper towels in the corners. I clean it once a day, discard the pad, clean out the water and food container if it needs it and lay down a nice clean pad. Not sure how long I can keep using that system. I saw those being used in the photos of brooders that I saw on this site and that's why I use them. They don't seem to tear like the paper towels do. And they are great at absorbing wetness too. My girls don't try and tear at it (yet!).

    Congrats on your little flock. It's exciting, but totally time consuming for me (in a good way - I'm reading and learning so much on this site!)! [​IMG]

    Good luck with your babies!

    Kara
     
  4. cposz

    cposz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 5, 2009
    Twin Cities, MN
    We are pretty new at this, too and so I'm not sure if I'm in any position to offer advice - but I'll tell you what we do.

    Our chicks are a little over 4 weeks old and we have them in a box, too. Our layer of shavings is no where near 4 inches, though - just under 2 inches probably. This allows us to go in with a little kitty litter sifter and scoop the visible poop out. We always get some shavings with the poop, but we just replace those with some fresh shavings. Once a week we take everything out and start with clean paper towels (single layer which doesn't creep up the walls) and fresh pine shavings. They don't seem to bother with the paper towels under the shavings.
     
  5. cposz

    cposz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 5, 2009
    Twin Cities, MN
    Forgot to mention - we only have two chicks in the brooder.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2009
  6. Russo's Roost

    Russo's Roost Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 7, 2009
    Morrisville VT
    If I am going to be changing the shavings frequently, like every day or every other day then can I go down to one inch in the bottom of the box, it is on a cement floor in the lower level of the main house where our wood stove is and I keep it burning all the time. I could raise the box up a little bit to get it off the floor.
    Also, the biggest of the 6 Cybil,, a Golden Comet now has a loose stool, it is more jelly like then wet diarhea and she is eating and drinking and otherwise seems ok. Does anyone have any suggestions there? I change the water twice a day and add new food to their feeder twice a day and completely change their food every few days. I am giving them a little bit of grit every other day. They are eating Agway "Chick Starter" medicated feed, 18% protein. I have given them hard boiled egg a couple of times and yogurt also a couple of times but they didn't seem interested in either. I also put a hand full of grass clippings in the brooder Saturday afternoon. I don't use pesticides or fertilizer on my lawn.
     
  7. Nostalchic

    Nostalchic Chillin' With My Peeps

    I now have 30 3-4 week olds living in the basement in a partitioned area 11 feet by 3 feet. I too tried "spot cleaning" the shavings but found that to be impossible, so now adding clean pine shavings to the top every 2 days and stirring things in a bit from time to time. It's quite dry here, so the poops dry up pretty quickly, especially with the heat lamps, so I expect with your wood stove that would also be the case. They don't need the paper towels anymore, that's for sure.
    Be sure you're giving them "chick grit", not adult grit. Give them as much room as you possibly can, with stuff to climb on and scratch in - like chunks of sod, which will help prevent picking, and develop healthier all around chickens. I have tree branches in there to climb on and fly off of - they love that. And rocks. And sod, and worms, and crickets are quite popular. Mine will be going to the coop soon, and then the great outdoors. I (and they) can't wait! Man, they grow fast, don't they?
     
  8. cposz

    cposz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 5, 2009
    Twin Cities, MN
    Our chicks have an occasional loose poop - but then it goes right back to normal.

    If you are really worried about it, somewhere on BYC is a link to a poop page with photos. I know it sounds gross, but it was helpful for me when we noticed the first one. Maybe someone can remember where the link is.
     
  9. muddstopper

    muddstopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 23, 2008
    Murphy NC
    In my brooder box, I have hardware cloth for a bottom, then fill with shavings. The water and feeders are set on 2in blocks to help keep them clean. The chicks poop in the shavings and their constant scratching around keeps the poop working to the bottom of the shaving pile where it passes thru the hardware cloth and drops into a catch drawer underneath. I just remove the drawer and dump in the garden and replace shavings as needed. Maybe once a week I will empty the entire box and wash out the screen if I notice a smell.
     
  10. cochinbantam-lover

    cochinbantam-lover Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 1, 2009
    Wisconsin

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