Dirt in the Brooder

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Madie'sOddFlock, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. Madie'sOddFlock

    Madie'sOddFlock Songster

    Apr 17, 2018
    First off, I've looked just about everywhere I can think of for months and can't find anything on my idea. The only thing I can find that's anywhere near what I'm thinking of is a sand brooder. But, I was wondering if anyone has tried a dirt bedding brooder. I thought it might be a good way to build up their immune system. I could be totally wrong, and I'd like to try it, probably no matter the feedback I get from here. But I'd like to hear your ideas, concerns, or if you've ever tried it.

  2. DobieLover

    DobieLover Easily distracted by chickens

    Jul 23, 2018
    Apalachin, NY
    My Coop
    Haven't and would not try it.
    The brooder needs to be as clean and dry as possible. Instead, I offer plugs of sod from the ground they will be kept on and give them fresh ones as needed.
  3. FortCluck

    FortCluck Free Ranging

    Sep 9, 2019
    Central Virginia
    I give mine a bowl of dirt from outside and use pine shavings. The pine shavings keep the brooder dry.
  4. Chickassan

    Chickassan Wattle Fondler

    The thing is when they poop the dirt will cling to the poop and you'll have dirt/poop balls everywhere.
    They'll step in them, roll in them, eat a few probably too.
    Sod clumps do the immunity boost just fine without the ugh factor.
    FortCluck likes this.
  5. Chickassan

    Chickassan Wattle Fondler

    A bowl is great, they love that for bathing the whole brooder floor in dirt is where it gets awful.
    I put clumps in a steam pan but the brooder floor is alfalfa hay nastiness is kept at a minimum like that.:)
  6. Madie'sOddFlock

    Madie'sOddFlock Songster

    Apr 17, 2018
    Well, from what I've read on sand, it doesn't form balls, and it's hard to explain, but the dirt I plan on using is technically gravel/fill and is closer in texture to sand... if that makes any difference in your opinions...
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
    Chickassan likes this.
  7. Chickassan

    Chickassan Wattle Fondler

    I can't say for sure, it works great for a lot of people.
    I can say when I tried it the chicks ate sand, and more sand an unnatural amount of sand.:barnie
    DobieLover likes this.
  8. Fairview01

    Fairview01 Songster

    Jan 26, 2017
    Dallas, TX
    Gee, I wonder how feral chickens can be successful raising clutch after clutch of chicks in a less than clean and sanatized environment.
  9. Madie'sOddFlock

    Madie'sOddFlock Songster

    Apr 17, 2018
    Exactly why I want to give it a shot and see how well it works since no one except TSC regularly carries shavings around here and we don't like theirs. For the bigger birds, we use shavings leftover from a friend making pool tables(it's too dusty for chicks in my opinion). I figure I'll see if dirt works this spring with my hatchlings, plus it should make it even easier to compost... theoretically.
    EggWalrus likes this.
  10. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Free Ranging

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    Well my brooder is open bottomed and sits directly on the ground, so that's about as close to your idea as I've gotten, though my run flooring is deep litter and not plain dirt. No poop-dirt balls and the litter stayed pretty dry inside even after rainfall.

    It ended up making for super easy clean up (though I hadn't planned it that way) as there was no need to clean up after the chicks. I simply moved the brooder around the run and allowed my hens to dig around the area where it had been moved from. The poop got mixed into the litter that way with no extra work from me.

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