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Lining the brooder for 4-week old chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by vickiecampbellusa, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. vickiecampbellusa

    vickiecampbellusa In the Brooder

    Jun 3, 2010
    North Carolina
    Saturday, we "adopted" 3 chicks from our neighbor's nephew - a teenager whose parents said "No" to his bringing home the result of his science project (incubating eggs to hatchling + stages). Having named them already, Michael had become fond of them... and fortunately for him... we saved these cuties from being used later as another biology project (dissection material).

    They were delivered to us in a small cat carrier... and instead of a cardboard box or commercially made brooder, we are using a medium size dog carrier. The shavings supplied with the chicks were few, so we lined the bottom with newspaper too. It wasn't long before we discovered that their water "bowl" had been over-turned and a big mess was created, ultimately resulting in a very frustrated husband [​IMG]
    After spending a long time researching "how to parent baby chicks"... one site suggested using dry leaves (which we had... pecan ones... in abundance) so plan B ensued. More paper lining + our "organic cover." [​IMG] That too became a big mess and hubby balked again... so from Sunday afternoon, our threesome were walking around on newspaper only, to my sorrow. (I had already learned about "splay leg" and had visions of River, Sunny & Barley rocking around without the clock!) "Mamachick" (our Russian daughter calls me "Mamusik") got up at 3:30 a.m. this morning to check on our babies and I have yet to back to bed! (11:42 p.m.) A good part of our day today (Monday) was spent on "preparation for proper parenting of peeping poultry." [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    After a 60-mile round trip to the farm store today (where we bought a large bag of pine shavings, starter/grower crumbles, antibiotic water additive, a "tray" to use with a mason jar for water, and even a box of grit/gravel) we arrived home feeling "ready" [​IMG] Boy were we "humbled" quickly... as within an hour or less, the chicks had scratched the newly layered shavings in all the holes in their food container, and had completely filled the bowl area of the new water dispenser. I suppose we learned a lesson the hard way? We need to elevate the food and water somehow, or create a "dining room" area where they go to eat which doesn't have shavings nearby. Chuck had a vision of a "two-room" pen with a "doorway to dine" [​IMG] joining the two together... but if we do that, we would keep the light in the sleeping quarters for the most warmth. Will 4-week old chicks be able to process how to maneuver back and forth to and from???

    Chuck dislikes the pine shaving "fluff'and the mess the guys make with it... He mentioned maybe sawdust, but I've read it's not really advisable. I read about DE and Stall Dry... for odor/moisture control from the pooping, but Chuck doesn't want to spend the extra $$$. What do we do now??? Can they (at 4 wks) just be on "wire cage bottom?"... with the newspaper underneath to catch the poo?
    What do we do now???

  2. Lesa

    Lesa Songster

    May 28, 2008
    Upstate NY
    Sounds like you are doing everything right. Is it possible you didn't know it would be messy to have chicks in the house?? Raising the food and water up, will help...but you will still need to clean up food dish and redo water every hour or so... What about putting the crate into a larger container/box to keep the shavings from going all over? They are going to outgrow that setup, pretty quick anyway- so I would just grin and bear it, for awhile...Wait till Chuck sees how dusty those chicks are!! Good luck-enjoy your babies!
  3. NewToFarming

    NewToFarming Songster

    Apr 28, 2010
    Millersburg, PA
    I am afraid there will always be a mess with chicks. I wouldnÂ’t recommend just a wire bottom for them either. Sorry! I have a bunch of chicks inside right now and they have a 3 room apartment. LOL
    Yes, they do go from room to room and do quite well with that, but I am afraid there is no anser to the mess. It is a nightly chore for me to clean the area and we really have no other choice until the weather warms up a bit and they can go on to their next stage in the coop under a heatlamp. I am patiently waiting for that day to come! [​IMG]
  4. newchickgal

    newchickgal Songster

    Nov 17, 2009
    Republic of Panama
    As far as using newspaper, please don't. The ink and chemicals that is used could be toxic to the little ones. Instead use butcher paper.
  5. vickiecampbellusa

    vickiecampbellusa In the Brooder

    Jun 3, 2010
    North Carolina
    Thanks for the advice friends... (may I call you that in advance?)
    We expected that there would be "Poop to Scoop" (wipe & wash)... but we didn't expect it to be so much - so often!! [​IMG] I think we've gone through a half dozen rolls of paper towels in 3 days!
    Chuck is definitely done with the wood shavings... but the chicks don't seem to mind. And about the newspaper... we decided to put paper towels in on top of the newspaper lining... it's softer, more absorbent and easy to remove... plus the chicks can get better traction when they want to walk around.

    What a fun time we've had since Saturday! Every day we enjoy our "babies" a little more. I decided to mark the chicks with non-toxic washable markers so we could tell "who was who." They are all white and all about the same size! Sunny has a few feathers with yellow tips; River has the same, only blue, and Barley... green. As of tonight, we know that Sunny has the most personality and is the friendliest! Barley has the biggest appetite, and River is a little shy. We haven't had this much fun since April... when we were adopted by abandoned pair of game chickens who decided that we needed more excitement in our lives. There is a BIG difference however... in April, "Henrietta (as we named her) came over with her brood of 13... and they were always outside. We didn't have the pooping/scooping detail, because they had a big yard and a beautiful little roosting hut which Chuck built. Yes... we will have to be patient, but it will be worth the wait. When we get closer to the time to move them outdoors... we will need your advice on how to introduce them to Buddy... our (now 11 month old) rooster. I'm afraid that the "intrusion" may be difficult for him.

    Again... I so appreciate you all being there... and your comments [​IMG]
    Oh... BTW Chuck did create a "dining room"... he gave them a big beautiful blue storage container box where not only can they eat all they want and drink effortlessly... they even have room to take a nap in the opposite end if we aren't around when they finish their meal.
    Blessings to you until my next "chapter."
  6. ARose4Heaven

    ARose4Heaven Songster

    Apr 16, 2009
    Flippin, AR
    If the shavings don't work for you...try sand. You can clean it with a kitty litter scoop. Most people use shavings because of their absorbency and smell control. Newspaper is NOT a good idea. Paper towels get expensive very quickly. One thing you are guaranteed...poo happens, and happens, and happens. So does chicken dust. It is unavoidable.

    But aren't the little fuzzy butts cute? It is just fascinating watching them grow.

    Do not introduce them to your rooster until they are fully feathered...8 - 12 weeks. They need those feathers to protect them. When you do the introductions...put the chicks in a separate area where they can see the roo, but not be touched by him for a while until everybody gets used to seeing one another. Then put them together...and watch closely for unnecessary roughness.
  7. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    If you do make it a 2-room suite most likely they'll sleep in the dining room [​IMG] You need to elevate it, there's not much more you can do. I use pine pellet bedding for most all of my babies and haven't had any problems. When they get wet they do break down into sawdust. They work much better than shavings in my opinion since shavings get a sour smell if they get wet [​IMG]

  8. aubreynoramarie

    aubreynoramarie designated lawn flamingo

    May 27, 2010
    Reno, Nevada
    ugh, i found the shavings in the water dish to be completely frustrating! plus they would somehow get water EVERYWHERE in their brooder. soooo i bought a rabbit littler tray ( http://www.pet-rabbit-care-information.com/rabbit-litter.htm ) put a brick on top of the wire, and put the water on top of the brick. WORKED LIKE A DREAM! and the bottom of the tray catches any water that they do manage get out of it.
  9. Petej

    Petej Songster

    Dec 6, 2010
    PDX area
    I'm using shredded paper at the moment. Normally I use pine litter.....
  10. fargosmom

    fargosmom Songster

    Dec 27, 2008
    Pasadena, CA
    I'm raising my second batch of fuzzies right now - you can look at my website for pix of the previous brooder setup. If you have some bricks laying around they're great for elevating the feeder and waterer so you get less (not none, but less!) shavings in the food etc. You can keep adding bricks to raise the food and water as the chicks get more mature - they can jump and climb on them and the higher the food is the less poo gets in it. Poo happens and you just have to roll with it - chicks are messy but oh so fun. And in the pictures you'll see chop sticks rubber-banded to the water and feed jars - that was to keep the chicks from perching on top and pooing straight into their water and food. Welcome to the madness!

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