LOL I agree! When I open the brooder for regular maintenance they pop out like fireworks! They also like to jump at me, tip the feeder over and throw shavings everywhere.
In daily maintenance, I usually stir the shavings with a stick so it doesn't get crusty. I also check the feeder and waterer if it needs cleaning or filling. For some serious maintenance, I usually bring the chicks outside while being watched by my friends so I can clean the brooder peacefully. After a few weeks, I add small bags of shavings and stir it up. When the chicks are old enough to leave the brooder, you can use the shavings for compost.
With that few chicks I put them in a cardboard box with a light over it(I have a clamp-on light so I can move it anywhere. Then I clean the box and transfer them back. I don't use wood shavings - I use newspapers and then paper towels over that - works really well and easy to clean up.
Our primary brooder has a 1/2 wire mesh floor. when the babies are old enough to walk on it we remove the non slip shelf liner from inside and poopies fall through onto news paper we just slide out and dispose of.
We have another set up that uses cardboard boxes. when the box gets soiled we move the babies and dispose of the entire box. With all the sick chicks lately, we like this set up because there is no chance of spreading germs from one batch of chicks to the next.
It's still too cold here, and in CO, to take the babies outside, so I block off the kitchen, take everything out of the brooder and refresh it. Of course, then I have to clean the kitchen floor, but they get exercise while I clean their room!
I roll my paper towels up with them still in there. The ones who don't run to the non moving paper towels seem to enjoy their "magic carpet ride" until they have nothing left under them but newspaper which I have a layer of under the paper towels to make weekly cleanup easier. At least that is my game plan, to take everything out each week and replace all the litter. I have been changing mine 2x a day and I have gone through an entire roll of paper towels in 3 days time because my brooder is 3'x3'. I'm gonna go another roll at least before I try the shavings I think, I'm a little nervous about them trying to eat them. Good thing I am one of those crazy coupon ladies who stockpiles things for pennies and have 20 some odd rolls of paper towels in my stash! LOL
Granted my babies are only 3 days old and when they take flight it may become more of a challenge. Hmmmm... do you think if I put a little chick feed on the floor outside of the brooder and set them near it they would all go to it? If so maybe I could take a big laundry basket fliped over and put it over them. Of course I only have 5 to worry about and not 13. But I better figure something out too before they are a week old and it's time to do my first weekly cleanup. Aren't yours a little older then mine Meesh? Please post your solution when you find one especailly if you think of something better than the laundry basket cage. LOL
I have 18, 4 week olds that are now much more adept at flying. I've had one fly right over my shoulder and onto my back while I was filling their food hopper. Their brooder is comprised of 2 side-by-side dog kennels with the doors open to make 1 large kennel. I like it because they are a lot calmer when my hand comes in from the side than they were when I had a box and had to reach down on them. When I clean their kennel I herd them all into one kennel, clean it, then move them back and clean the other. A week ago I put a kitty litter tray full of garden dirt in the bottom of one kennel; they love it and scratch at it all the time. I simply stir it up every other day and changed the dirt over after 1 week. It's almost easier than the shavings that are in the other kennel.