Eating smaller pieces of pine shavings!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Pippy1, Mar 9, 2017.

  1. Pippy1

    Pippy1 In the Brooder

    Mar 2, 2017
    My chicks love their chick crumble, but are also eating the small pieces of pine shavings.
    They scratch around down in the bottom and find the small pieces and eat them.
    They eat the crumble great and like it a lot, but love to scratch and do this. I have had a lot of losses and am wondering if this could be one factor?
    The places that sell chicks including where I got mine have said it's a bad year and they have had a lot of losses too.
    It's strange there is no sign of illness beforehand like the diseases I have read about. Just one day they are fine and the next dead. Eating, growing, no lethargy, no bloody poop, active etc and then find one dead. cleaning once a day out the poop. Fresh water twice a day. Temp around 89 by light and would be cooler away from light. Just really confusing
    and sad. Got a large 100 gallon brooder.
    Have 6 right now, had 7 a couple of days ago. After first "black plague" out of 8 had two survivors. Then went back and got five more. Lost one and replaced it and now lost another and so have only 6. Just trying get a small backyard flock raised for eggs.
    Feeing only Mannapro crumple organic non-medicated.
    I sure wish someone could tell me what is causing this. Again, have asked where we got them from and two other places that sell chicks and they say they are having a lot of losses too this year.
    So now I am wondering about the eating of the pine shavings. They scratch and eat them even after eating a bunch of food.
    Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    How big is your brooder, what are you using for a heat source, What is the temp under the heat and at the opposite end of the brooder? where is your brooder? IMO, they are engaging in instinctive behavior. That being seeking out grit for their gizzards. I'd give them a nice sized plug of sod from an untreated lawn. Put it upside down in the brooder, and they will scratch in that for grit instead of eating shavings.
  3. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Crossing the Road Premium Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    I am wondering how old these chicks are now.
    I keep ones being human raised on pine shavings covered with paper towels with chick starter sprinkled on it for the first week or so. I stop using the towels when they are able to scratch through them or toss them about.

    Hen raised chicks are trusted to the hen.

    That being said I am not an expert. I am only relaying what works for me and my flock.
  4. GC-Raptor

    GC-Raptor Crowing

    Jul 26, 2016
    Connecticut, U.S.A.
    I noticed my pullets eating pine shavings when I put them in the coop at 5 weeks of age, several times. I switched to straw when I ran out of shavings and then to compacted straw. I use for bedding and nest boxes. I don't worry if they eat straw. Been working good for several months. I clean coop weekly and dump in chicken run. Chickens love digging through it, spreading it around. Time to clean coop. GC

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