New to Chickens: Brooder Maintenance

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Steam Powered Chicken, Feb 26, 2019.

  1. Hello!
    I'm a new chicken mom, we just got our babies this past Wednesday.
    We did the paper towel bedding liner for the first day. Switched to pine chips the second. Then did our first clean out on Sunday. (Removed all bedding, wiped down with vinegar floors/walls, wiped down any other toys/roost bars with it. We trade out and clean feeders and waterers daily.)

    Just for my piece of mind, how often should I be doing a full clean out of the coop?
    Once a week?
    Twice a week?
    More? Less?

    I hope this question isn't to dumb.
    Thank you for any and all help in this!
  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    Do you have photos of your brooder?
    Is it inside?

    For me, if I am using bedding for chicks (pine shavings) I just remove heavily soiled shavings and any that may have gotten wet from the water station.
    If you are brooding inside, I can see where you would want to clean up poopy shavings more frequently, that can get stinky inside.

    Personally, I don't scrub down anything. Chicks are going to be exposed to all sorts of things once they go outside (if they are inside now). You can be "too clean" with your brooder, imho. Chicks need to be exposed to poop so they can start to build a resistance to what it contains.

    Do you have your coop/run/housing ready for them to go outside?
  3. 49082547_10217996189471378_3814480508503457792_n.jpg 49114179_10217996189271373_5334068636799729664_n.jpg 49130411_10217996189871388_2206956369385357312_n.jpg

    This is the brooder new, it's in the basement.
    We've got pine shavings now.


    I can totally see the too clean thing being a problem. Esp. since I want to do deep litter once they get to their coop. Thanks for the advice!
    (Also, the picture doesn't show it, but we've added bricks beneath their food and water station to raise them up and keep it less full of shavings.)

    They don't have a coop ready. We're back and forth on who to order one from or if we should just do a quick shed convert, and build ourselves when the weather is nicer. We're making a firm decision on that this weekend so we can get that knocked out. Whichever way we go, we'll have to have a heat lamp in it after we transfer because the weather out here is unpredictable until May. (We're planning on keeping them in their brooder until they need more room.)
    Spartan22, aart, DobieLover and 3 others like this.
  4. crazy4ChickensNducks

    crazy4ChickensNducks Songster

    Dec 16, 2018
    west, michigan
    I would get a shed and convert it. It is so nice to have a big open space that you could walk in to
  5. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    Good idea to raise the food/water with bricks, chicks can get water filled with shavings quickly.

    You have a nice setup. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with wiping the walls down with your vinegar solution to help keep dust down - you will find that chicks are dusty! They will begin shedding that fluff and there's little keratin sheaths that come off too - that fluff and keratin sticks to everything, then adding dust from feed/bedding you will have a layer of oily dust to deal with, not only in the brooder but in the room you are keeping them in. (oily, because chickens have an oil gland, if you didn't know, there's a little bump toward the end of their tail (preening gland), they wipe their beak across that pick up a drop of oil, then preen their fluff/feathers):)

    All that said, I would just clean up the poopy shavings and add new. If they get really stinky, then change out the whole thing. If I have chicks in the house, I normally only have them inside for a week, then they go outside to the grow out pen/housing. They do get heat (mama heating pad set-up), but they get exposed to dirt, adult poop, everything else very early in life.

    Each of us have our own ideas about coops, but to be honest, if you can build/convert a shed or building, that would be the way to go, imho. Pre-fab coop are notoriously unsatifactory (read the forums, plenty of frustrated, unhappy people). The construction and materials are usually lacking and space is non-existent. Most end up adding on or building something themselves.
    A building or shed allows you to customize how you want, plus you have room to walk and work in there when you need to. You can generally have more chickens too;)

    You are on a new adventure! I hope all goes well for you. Such cute chicks you have!
  6. Al Capon

    Al Capon Songster

    Dec 12, 2017
    Central OK
    Clean out the chips "whenever it needs it". It doesn't have to be spotless, but you don't want them wallowing in filth either, count on every few days.

    Depending on what they step in, you might have to clean your feeders/waterers many times daily for a few weeks. Chicks have poor table manners.

    Sound advice ^
  7. Wee Farmer Sarah

    Wee Farmer Sarah Free Ranging

    Definitely recommend converting a shed. It's quicker and much sturdier than the cheaply made coops. Also, since you are brooding indoors, get an air cleaner / filter now. Chickens create an enormous amount of dust and it can make you sick. Good luck with your wee ones. :jumpy
  8. <3 Thanks for all the great advice. I should have explained that better, we're looking at people in our area that build custom coops. (I've read the horror stories! I might be a little obsessive right now with doing any and all chicken homework, and my librarians fear for my sanity.)

    I've been told that after about a week or two, to help them get used to outside dirt to bring in some clumps of grass/dirt from the yard for them to peck at. (I will do this, once I can see some... cuz this snow is stupid up here!)

    <3 Once again thanks so much for your time and patience in educating me on this! I really appreciate it!!!!
    blackdog043 and Wyorp Rock like this.
  9. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    That's great you are looking at someone building a coop for you. When you make a decision and get your coop ready, we would love to see it.

    You can put dirt in the brooder for them now or even a small tub of play sand for the time being since you have snow on the ground. For interest, finely chop about 2 teaspoons of kale or (don't know what they are called!lol) those little seedy things off Broccoli and toss that in the sand, they love to dig and find "stuff" in the sand/soil.
    I always give my chicks chick grit first thing. They do get a small container of sifted dirt from the chicken run, along with "fresh dirt", a plug of sod/plant and ash mixed together. Even if I have them inside for a few days, they get a pan of dirt. When they are outside in the grow out pen, the container goes with them, I may transition to a large dishpan as they grow to accommodate them. I do let them in their run too, but spring is fairly cool here, so a lot of times I have their pen door shut so they are protected from wind, the tub of dirt keeps them busy if they are closed up. Refresh/refill as needed.


    Steam Powered Chicken likes this.
  10. djstanczak

    djstanczak Chirping

    Mar 31, 2017
    We have double 50 gal tubs and have to clean and replace chips daily.

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