Cardboard box brooder, what to put in the bottom?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by catinthecoop, Mar 31, 2017.

  1. catinthecoop

    catinthecoop Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 17, 2017
    We got all 5 chicks together in a big cardboard box (taped together several smaller boxes.) We have carpet on the cement, then doubled cardboard, then a heavy duty tarp, newspaper and a fairly sparse layer of fine shavings. The chicks of course rip up all the newspaper and kick around the shavings and make a mess. We have been just taking all the newspaper and shavings out every other day or so. Am I missing any obvious things I could put down or do to keep things more tidy?

    I use pellet bedding in my horse's stall and love it, would be happy to pick up extra for the chicks as well but I can't figure out if that will improve things or just make extra work? I normally use a half a bucket of water to 'fluff' the pellets, but would I need to do that for the chicks too?
  2. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    When I brooded in cardboard appliance boxes, I used 6 mil plastic sheeting over the cardboard bottom, making it fit as precisely as possible. Then I put in a two to three inch layer of pine shavings.

    I also would hang the water bottle so spills couldn't occur. Search BYC for "How to hang a chick water bottle." I had a thread with precise instructions on how to do it.

    Some people used puppy pads over the shavings for the first two days until the chicks learn the difference between their crumbles and pine shavings.
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    What Azygous said. Increase your layer of shavings. Then, instead of cleaning them out, simply top off with more. And get that water bottle hanging. I like to give my chicks a dowel perch, about 3 - 4" off the floor. That keeps them busy. Also, a plug of sod from an untreated lawn does wonders to keep them busy and has an abundance of health benefits.
    LukePalmer likes this.
  4. catinthecoop

    catinthecoop Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 17, 2017
    Thanks. I will get some plastic from Home Depot and try with more shavings. They have some perches that they use sometimes, but only about 2-4" off the floor. I just today got a bucket with the vertical nipples hanging, they seem to be doing well with that, even the tiny Silkie. They have a pan of dirt that gets put in and changed around, they love to dust bathe in it, and now that I have the water out of the line of fire (there was a lot of kicking of dirt into waterers) I'm much happier to leave them with it to kick around and whatever they like to do.

    I agree, the water needs to be hanging at least, I was cleaning them out 3 times a day, and still sometimes it was only minutes until they had them trashed again. They are babies and make messes but I don't want them getting sick from dirty water either.

    I'm so glad I found you guys, so nice to get help from all these folks who have 'been there, done that.'

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