Clean your brooders!!


the bird is the word
11 Years
Sep 14, 2008
Adair Co., KY
Even if they don't look like they need it, be sure to clean your brooders at least once a week!

I have some bantam chicks in a big rubbermaid tote. There are probably 12 chicks in there, so plenty of room. They were still on paper, simply because it wasn't dirty, and I hadn't removed it. They are now about 2 weeks old.

The other day I woke up to find one of my japanese chicks laying dead in the brooder, and that same afternoon found another one. Yesterday I found one of my silkie chicks laying dead in there, and all of them had appeared fine before I found them.

So I decided to overhaul the brooder, and when I lifted the waterer there was a ton of MOLD underneath it!!
I hadn't noticed it before because the waterer was on top of the paper, the mold was underneath.

I haven't lost any chicks since I dumped the whole brooder, so I assume the mold was the cause of their deaths

So please, please, please, clean your brooder, even if you don't think it needs it!
I would have never thought to look, normally I clean them often enough because they stink! But I got some pellet bedding to mix with the shavings, so this cuts down on the smell pretty good. I hadn't even noticed that the paper had gotten wet, it must have been a very small amount.
I'm so sorry about your little ones.

I have to admit, though, that this thread does make me laugh a little, because with ducks once a week would be a serious problem. They are such nasty little critters, I have to clean the brooder at least once a day and usually twice. Their poo is squishy and gross and they are the muddiest, stinkiest creatures living, I do believe.

On the other hand, I probably do need to disinfect their waterer more often--I sometimes let that red mold that grows everywhere here build up. I don't think it's toxic (after all, it grows in the human drinking water pipes from which everyone--including the ducks--get their drinking water), but the fact that it's there probably means it's not as clean as it should be.

I've got a batch of bantam chicks in the incubator, though, so I'm very curious to see how much cleaner they are going to be!
Good warning! If you have them on shavings, you'd be surprised how moist it is in there with all the poop and their respiration, too. I've warned folks over and over to actually put their hand down in there and feel around for dampness below the surface. Sorry you lost them, but it can sneak up on you fast!
Shelley, you are so right; just yesterday I moved a plastic bottom I had placed "temporarily" under one of my waterers to make it a little higher, and I couldn't believe the fuzzy mold I found there!
Damp that you don't expect is a HUGE issue in brooders. I was really nastily surprised a few times at how damp things had gotten in areas I hadn't suspected.

I didn't any lose any to it but I certainly easily could have, good warning.
When I had my first batch of chicks I used the huge plastic tubs. I had two set up, every am I'd put the chicks and their food and water in the other tub take their current one and stir it up and let dry till the next am. Worked good for me and their bedding was always dry.
Now we use a hutch so they are on a wire flooring with paper towels on it the first few weeks.
Mold can pop up so quickly
sorry for your loss

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