Keeping LITTER out of water and food in homemade brooder?!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by treehuggingjess, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. treehuggingjess

    treehuggingjess In the Brooder

    Feb 15, 2012
    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. [​IMG] 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.

  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    In my brooder I put the waterers up on bricks, with the tail end of the brick sitting out so they can step up to the waterer. Works great! You can do the same for feeders but I just use stainless steel small bowls and don't fill them all the way...those dog pet bowls. They hop inside them to eat.

    You don't need a perch yet. They might not even roost to sleep until they are 3-4 months old. You can devise one for their entertainment though...they will hop up to it and sit for fun.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012
  3. treehuggingjess

    treehuggingjess In the Brooder

    Feb 15, 2012
    Great idea! Why didn't I think of that?? I have TONS of bricks just sitting in a pile in my back yard. I will give that a try. At least the bricks won't get funky after getting wet like wood would. Do you think this would keep the ducks from making as much mess in their brooder too?

    OK, I wasn't sure if they "needed" one, but I figured it would concentrate their poop to one area of the brooder more than the other, and they'd stay cleaner. At least half of my birds do roost on top of the feeders already, and one brave girl likes to literally fly the coop and then jump into my hands! LOL.
  4. J&JCossey

    J&JCossey In the Brooder

    Dec 1, 2011
    SF Bay Area, CA
    1 person likes this.
  5. beefmaster

    beefmaster In the Brooder

    Feb 17, 2012
    i used a small 2 by 4 block of wood to set the waterer cleaned the waterer out 2 or 3 times a day.theres really not much way to keep the feed clean either.

  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    Elevate on "platforms" 2-3 inches elevations. The chicks will hop right up there and eat and drink.

    BTW.... what's with all the large, super-sized fonts everyone's using? Silent protest or something? [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012
  7. HEChicken

    HEChicken Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    To be honest, I never found elevating them to help that much. What I do now is to not use shavings in my brooder at all. Instead I brood on old towels that I purchased at the thrift store for just this purpose. Each day I remove the old towels and put down fresh. I can shake the old towels outside and that actually gets most of the poop off them. Then they go in a pile until there are enough to run a load of just those towels. I will never go back to shavings since I started brooding this way.
  8. wildriverswolf90

    wildriverswolf90 Songster

    Aug 4, 2011
    polk county, NC
    I use brick to keep my feed and water on. You could also just lay a 2x4 in the brooder to give them something to hope on or stack 3 bricks(1 on top 2 on bottom) to give them a little staircase perch.
  9. LaynaDon95

    LaynaDon95 Songster

    Jan 18, 2012
    Me either... This is my first brood though.

  10. Southern Oregonihens

    Southern Oregonihens In the Brooder

    Dec 5, 2011
    We had good success placing the feeder and water on some scraps of 1 1/4 plywood, maybe 8 to 10 inches on a side. The bedding is about that deep, but it won't track so far to the feeder/ waterer. If you are using a bigger feeder/waterer for a large number of chicks, try sizing a piece of wood so that there are 3 to 4 inches of wood beyond the edge of the tray. The babies don't have to hop or stretch their necks for elevated rations...
    Maybe this helps...

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