Cleaning the brooder?


9 Years
Mar 8, 2010
Sorry, another newb question. I read all about brooders before setting ours up, but I'm afraid I'm not sure how and when to clean it. We've had our 11 chicks for 24 hours and they are in a Rubbermaid with wood pellets. They do poop a lot, but it doesn't smell and the chicks are clean. How do you know when you need to clean it out? And how do you do it? Do you totally dump everything out and start fresh? Or do you just skim the top layer off and add some new bedding?

I managed to raise 3 children, you would think I could handle some little chickens without being so nervous!


9 Years
Feb 12, 2010
Kurtistown, Hawaii
If there aren't a lot of feces on the ground, I take a paper towel and gather them up to throw out individually or I wait until they accumulate. If it is smelly in the brooder, if the bedding is clumping and getting damp, or if there is a lot of waste, I will remove the chicks, remove the newspaper and the bedding on top of it, and put down fresh newspaper and bedding.


Got Mutts
13 Years
May 3, 2008
Milan PA
I think I dumped it all outside when it got messy and let the chicks run around in my room. It depends on what you want to do, dumping it all is probably easier and then put in fresh material. MIne spilled water often and made a mess, and only 3 chicks


In the Brooder
10 Years
Jan 21, 2010
Bethany, OK
I have been making a habit of cleaning ours every two days. I had a grocery store paper bag under the shavings that had been there for 1 week. I dumped it this morning and used a new bag. Otherwise I just dump the litter and replace it over the bag. I haven't had any trouble with smell yet but my chicks are only a week old.

The poop gets really stinky though. I noticed that today. We move the chicks to a box when we're cleaning out (some people clean around them) and the smell was pretty horrible when they did their business out of the brooder.

Chicky Tocks

11 Years
Oct 20, 2008
Benton, Arkansas
I have my three chicks on paper towels for right now, but they're only still just four days old. I'm picking up some new brooder shelves at a meetup this weekend and I'm planning to go shaving free. These shelves are basically frames that fit perfectly in the bottom of the rubbermaid tubs. They're covered with welded wire. You put newspaper underneath them and then paper towels over the top, and just roll up the paper towels to clean. Then maybe once a week or so, you take them out and hose them off. No more wet-stinky shavings! I'm excited and can't wait to get them. These were dreamed up and built by a fellow chicken fancier here in our local group.


12 Years
Jan 9, 2010
Northridge, California
When mine were little I kept them on paper towels for the first week. The for the next 8 weeks I used newspaper. Every morning I would put 2 or 3 sheets on top of the dirty paper and would repeat this in the afternoon and just before bed. Once or twice a week I would take out all of the paper and start fresh. I never had a problem with odor and they stayed in the house until they were 9 weeks old.


9 Years
Mar 2, 2010
Every morning I completely clean the rubbermaid. I have 4 little girls in there, and they poop A LOT! I change the water 2 times. I will clean the rubbermaid twice if they spill their water just so they can have dry pine shavings.

wood duck whacker

In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 11, 2010
russellville arkansas
My chicks are now 5 days in my care. I have them in a box i built with no bottom but is sitting on the slab in my garage when their box gets dirty i just put them in my girls wagon and lift the box up sweep it all out replace the box and put a new layer of pin shavings down then replace everything. I give them fresh water every day with the antibiotic in it. How long do i need to put this in thier water? dont mean to shoplift this thread but thought it went with the question. am i doing right so far?

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