just really getting into raising meatys. we use an old refrigerator on it's side for a brooder for all our chicks. currently we have 22 2 week old chicks in there. 5 bramahs 1 cochin, 1 red star, 15 cornish x. i have noticed that i'm having to clean their brooder almost every morning. (they spend the day in a small run. only using the brooder at night.) i'm using pine straw as litter. never had a problem with it before, we use it in nesting boxes too, and it's free. layers don't produce quite as much poop. I am thinking about building a brooder with a mesh or hardware cloth bottom. while i know this causes bumble foot if chickens are left on it or put on it too soon. will it effect my 2 (or 3 week by the time i get it built) chicks? they would only be on it for about 12 hours a day (unless it rains). i would like them to have a decent quality of life before butchering, but i also don't want to spent all my time cleaning up after them. after feathering out they will move to the coop with the other chickens and free range with them. so 3-5 weeks on the hardware cloth. 4-6 weeks for any new batches i might get. advice and comments welcome. p.s would probably leave the layers in the old brooder. to cut down on food competition. not a problem right now but may become one in the future.