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How often do you change pine shavings in brooder?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Lark Rise, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. Lark Rise

    Lark Rise Songster

    Jan 22, 2011
    East Central Georgia
    This is the first time I'm using pine shavings in the brooder. How often do you change the pine shavings? Thanks! [​IMG]

  2. Sonic Pug

    Sonic Pug Songster

    I'm doing it once a week right now. Seems to be working fine.
  3. ccar2000

    ccar2000 In the Brooder

    May 29, 2011
    Littlerock, CA
    I wait until they stink! [​IMG]
  4. lavenderorpgirl

    lavenderorpgirl Songster

    Aug 14, 2011
    I change them about once a week.
  5. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I just keep the damp shavings and poo particles picked out, adding shavings as needed. I clean several times a day, just as I clean the adult pen.
  6. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Songster

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    I have a little scooper and keep it fairly clean every morning and drop it in the a bucket that goes to the compost pile. Chicken poop= great fertilizer...... so I clean it out once a month .

    Should I clean it out more ofter?????


    CMTSMWC Chirping

    Jun 9, 2011
    It depends how many chicks I have in it, but usually the once a week rule works good [​IMG]

  8. turbodog

    turbodog Songster

    Feb 21, 2010
    Independence, La.
    Bout once a week.
  9. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Songster

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    Quote:I have (3) 7 week old chick in a box 5'X5' thats big for 3 little itsy bitzy chics don't you think? They all share one of the 6 laying sections build inside along 2 walls.

  10. chookmama

    chookmama In the Brooder

    Aug 5, 2011
    I'm following the deep litter approach. Start with 1-2 inches, and just keep adding. If they smell, you're losing nitrogen into the air instead of capturing it for your garden, so add more. The chicks are always on the top, on clean litter. Underneath it begins composting - when it's time to move them into their pen, throw the contents on the compost heap. Joel Salatin leaves his litter in place for the entire season, not changing between chick batches, just continually adding. The litter builds up a habitat of microorganisms (the same ones that turn things into compost) and seem to actually contribute to the health of his chicks.

    I figure if it works for him commercially, in a pastured operation that doesn't use antibiotics, it's worth trying. A friend of mine who used to have a commercial egg operation keeps about 20 hens in her garden hoophouse over winter (fenced off on one end) and also uses deep bedding. She says that the litter-becoming-compost actually helps keep their shelter warm through the winter, and by spring the compost is nearly ready to use. By spring she's also finished pulling the last of her winter crops from the other end of the greenhouse, so she takes the fence down and lets 'em have at it for a couple of weeks before she puts them outside. They enjoy eating the last scraps of the garden (before there's much available outside) and also eliminate any bugs that might be lurking.

    If you don't keep the carbon level right (the shavings) the ammonia gas given off by the poop can hurt their lungs/health (and yours too.)

    I love that it's easy! But then - my attitude is strongly influenced by the fact that I got a batch of 50 chicks because I need the manure and their energetic scratching. I put my 4 hens and a rooster to work clearing out/manuring a new 20X60' garden bed, but they're too slow. Looks like they won't be done for at least another month. (They have a small portable pen, and I put temp fencing on a 20X20 area at a time). So soon I'll have a bigger grounds crew!

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