Hi all! Newbie here. I have three-week-old chicks in an extra large plastic storage container with 1/2 inch hardware cloth bent over the top to keep them from flying out. The first couple of weeks, I used newspaper covered with paper towels since I had plenty of newspaper on hand to use up. But I also have ducks, and the ducks kept spilling water EVERYWHERE and soaking through it all very quickly. So I started using pine litter, because I was having to change out the newspaper/paper towels 2-3x daily. Now I can just add fresh litter to the top once a day, and clean the whole thing out every 2-3 days depending on how damp it gets. My problem is that the chickens are now scratching in the litter looking for imaginary bugs and worms (LOL), and the litter is constantly getting into their food and water. The way my set-up is, I can't hang a waterer, and I can't think of anything other than a fabricated block of wood that I could use to set the food and water up higher. I mean, I am having to constantly stick my hand into the waterer bottom to fish out pine so the chicks can still access the water freely. I'm using gravity feeders and waterers that are "official" from the local co-op. I have separated the ducks now into their own brooder, because they were getting things so wet that the poor chickens were soaked! Do you think perhaps I should do just newspaper and paper towels again in the chickens' brooder so they can't scratch the litter into their food? I don't have anymore paper towels - I can go buy some, but the good ones that don't shred are SO expensive, and it seems so wasteful. Sigh. Any alternatives? I have quite a bit of newspaper to use up, but I know that's not good for their feet (at least the shiny pages?)... I can definitely use it under something else, though. One more question - I need to make a perch of some sort, but I'm not sure how to A) make a decent one, B) hang it or keep it from falling down....? I tried tying wire around either end of a stick from my yard, and mounting it to the removable hardware cloth "lid", but it was really wobbly, and the chicks never took to it.