Do all chicks poop THIS MUCH?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by soldieratheart, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. soldieratheart

    soldieratheart Out Of The Brooder

    62
    4
    39
    Sep 7, 2009
    Coopertown, TN
    Hi I am new here, my name is Natalie and I have 15 chicks for the first time ever: 5 White Plymouth Rock cockerels (meat), and 5 SR of each Speckled Sussex and Buff Orpingtons (roos to be meat and hens to be pet layers). I got them as day-olds last week so they are exactly one week old today, and they all seem very happy and healthy and friendly and thriving. But two things have me surprised:

    1) They don't eat all that much. I have a trough feeder and it never gets less than 1/2 empty, but that only happens every 2-3 days. And when I fill it, it is only high enough to easily reach the feed through the slots, so they are not actually eating half the trough in that amount of time.

    2) They poop SO MUCH oh my goodness! I have a cardboard-over-wood floor, over which I lay down rough newspaper or paper towels. So far I've been changing daily but it is getting to the point where it needs almost twice daily changing! Yuck! No stink at all though, just a carpet of poopies and the chicks end up with tiny bits on the underside of their toes, or peck at it now and then when they spill a little feed. But still... twice daily changing? Is this normal? Or am I needing to re-adjust my notions of "clean"? The water need twice daily changing too or else it gets a little dirty in the base with small bits of poop/feed floating around (yes I have it slightly raised but it still doesn't stay sparkling clean).

    By the way my brooder is 24" x 42", I am currently building a bigger one ( 2' x 6') to move them too soon, and it will be expandable to 2'x 8' if needed. My concern is that we will be gone the first week in October and I need the chicks to be okay with a once-daily check by then [​IMG]. Not ideal timing I know but that's how it panned out.

    Anyway... is this all normal? Thanks for any and all advice here! I am having a lot of fun with this new adventure!
     
  2. Sillystunt

    Sillystunt Master of the Silly

    Jul 11, 2008
    Winter Haven, FL
    Yes, the poop alot! I would suggest a compost pile with chicken poo [​IMG]
     
  3. Whirlwind

    Whirlwind Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2007
    Tuttle, Oklahoma
    both are normal,

    1 they will eat more and more the bigger they get.

    2 is it possible to put pine shavings on the floor of your brooder. I use paper towels at first. But then switch to pine shavings.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2009
  4. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

    13,295
    18
    291
    Aug 25, 2008
    SC
    Sounds pretty normal to me! [​IMG]

    As for the food, just make sure no one seems to be droopy, otherwise just fill them up.
     
  5. soldieratheart

    soldieratheart Out Of The Brooder

    62
    4
    39
    Sep 7, 2009
    Coopertown, TN
    Okay thank you, I guess I just need to relax then? How dirty is acceptable? I would like to get by on just one daily changing!

    I have heard that pasty butt happens less often if you wait a week or two before switching to pine shavings. So that's why I was waiting to switch. Also, the new brooder I am building will have a 1/2" hardware cloth floor, so for a couple days I will stick cardboard right underneath it to help their feet get used to wire; after that I will let them walk on the bare wire (they should be atleast 2 weeks old by then) and put pine shavings underneath, thick enough to touch their feet but still let the poop fall through.

    Does that sound okay, or will the wire cause problems?

    Thanks so mcuh for helping out on this!
     
  6. anngili

    anngili Chillin' With My Peeps

    Personally, I used hardware cloth under my first batch of chickens (as soon as their feet were big enough) but it just gave me one more thing to clean. I have been raising my second batch on paper towels the first couple of days, then switched to small pine shavings and within about one week or less switched them to the regular pine shavings (the kind used in horse stalls).
    They've been absolutely fine with it, the smell is much reduced, I only have to clean the brooder once a day at most, especially since mine will also let me put more shavings in on top of the shavings already there. It also dries out the poop very quickly so it doesn't stick to their feet. You will need to change it if it gets wet, though, but you should do that with any kind of bedding that gets wet. My pullets also love scratching through the shavings, so they get to satisfy that instinct. That also means they're likely to kick them into the waterer, though, so it may be a good idea to put the waterer even higher. You can put it as high as the back of the chickens and they'll still be able to drink (or eat) well.
    ETA: I forgot to say that I've only had one chick out of 20 get pasty butt and that was when it was still on the paper towels.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2009
  7. soldieratheart

    soldieratheart Out Of The Brooder

    62
    4
    39
    Sep 7, 2009
    Coopertown, TN
    Okay... I guess I will switch to the pine shavings once my new brooder is done. Maybe that will at least help me stop freaking out about it [​IMG].

    As far as the wire floor... kind of discouraging to hear tha it didn't make it easier to clean... I was really counting on that, and can't replace the floor now without completely dissassembling the box. I'm really surprised, too - I thought for sure it would be easier to keep less poopy, and to disinfect between different batches of chickens.

    Will the 1/2" wire give my chicks leg problems - or will I be able to tell if they are having a hard time before any permanent damage is done?

    Thanks so much for all the reassurance!
     
  8. Whirlwind

    Whirlwind Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2007
    Tuttle, Oklahoma
    I always use the pine shavings after a week or so. Never had any problems with pasty butt. [​IMG]
     
  9. K8tieCat

    K8tieCat Chillin' With My Peeps

    585
    16
    171
    Jan 15, 2007
    Northern California
    I used paper towels for the first week and changed them as often as I could. Then when they were past the danger of getting splayed feet, I put down many, many layers of newspapers. All I had to do was remove the cruddy ones each day. I work a full time job, so it was impossible to clean them until after I got home. The newspapers worked out great and they all went outside to the bighouse at 6 weeks.
     
  10. ~*Sweet Cheeks*~

    ~*Sweet Cheeks*~ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2009
    Olympia Washington
    I used puppy pads instead of paper towels. They're bigger, seemed more obsorbant. I only had 3 little banties on them and had to change twice a day. They do poo A LOT.

    After 3-4 days, I switched to wood pellets. They seem less dusty then the shavings, dry out the poo within minutes, and smell better.

    It's so much easier just taking a little scoop or spoon and pick out the dried poo. Never had to replace, just added a little more when needed. Plus it breaks down into saw dusty stuff that the little one LOVED to dust bath in.

    I wouldn't put chicks or chickens on wire. It would hurt their feet and the poo will just still to it requiring you to have to scrub off the dried on poo. Plus the little ones wouldn't be able to scratch which is what they do 90% of the time when awake.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by