How do you clean baby chicks feet?

yallapilko

Songster
7 Years
Nov 13, 2012
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No matter how many times I clean the baby chicks bedding (3 times a day), on this hatch I the chicks have got mud balls on their feet. As soaking them off is not an option as they would lose body heat, I wonder how any of you do it? I know cleaning is they key, and I think that the initial bedding may be an issue (I used shredded paper). Since I swapped to wood shavings it has been much better. I've resorted to very gently picking them off but I'm afraid of damaging their tiny feet. I would love to know if there is a better way.
 

TwoCrows

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Raise them on wire. This will eliminate all bedding issues. I start quail with 1/4 inch hardware cloth and move up to 1/2 inch at around 3 weeks of age. Raising them on wire also helps to prevent cocci.
 

yallapilko

Songster
7 Years
Nov 13, 2012
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Thanks for your replies. Much appreciated. Some of the paper stuck to their feet and turned into hard plaster! A long soak would be needed to get that off, a simple wash will not do, unfortunately. And I am reluctant to house on wire. I have done in the past, but I'm not keen. I like to see them scratch about.
 

TwoCrows

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I don't keep adult quail on wire, but chicks are easy to keep on wire. They are light enough that the feet stay on good shape. Just give them a place to get off the wire to rest their feet and pads. Then come time to head outside, you can go back to bedding. Chicks are just so messy and are hard to keep healthy on bedding. Wire is so much more sanitary than bedding for chicks.
 

yallapilko

Songster
7 Years
Nov 13, 2012
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Thanks TwoCrows. Once again you give me great advice! Is the size of wire mesh you mention OK for the when they just come right out of the brooder?
 

yallapilko

Songster
7 Years
Nov 13, 2012
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I like the idea of sanitary, but I still think that the chicks need something more cozy and kind than wire.
 

dc3085

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Jan 6, 2013
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I like the idea of sanitary, but I still think that the chicks need something more cozy and kind than wire.
There are a lot of reasons to keep them over wire. Most of them are health and disease transmission related. Chicks are very susceptible to cocci and enteritis, both of which like to grow in the bedding mixed with feces in a humid environment. If you feel you must use bedding pine shavings or pine pellets are good. Cedar shavings are a no no as they cause respiratory problems. You can't keep chicks on sand or dirt either because they'll almost surely get enteritis. Game birds contract and transmit disease much less freely when they are kept over wire. One of the most common forms of transmission of disease in fowl is consumption of feces. Over wire they cannot consume it like they normally would. Also they can't sleep directly on top of piles of it like they do on bedding.

If you're going to use bedding best bedding I have found if you aren't raising a ton of chicks is old towels. Change them every day and you can just shake them out and put them in the washer.
 
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