paper towels on top of litter or just litter?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by bj taylor, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. bj taylor

    bj taylor Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 28, 2011
    North Central Texas
    i read to put paper towels down. i've had them for less than a day. the paper towels are a mess. what's the harm in letting them be directly on the litter?
  2. Maev

    Maev Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 22, 2012
    Yakima, WA
    The problem is that they will eat the litter. People recommend that you leave the paper towels or whatever you use (I'm currently using puppy training pads) on the litter for at least 3 days. I change the puppy pads twice a day to keep it fairly clean in the brooder. If you do take the paper towels up make sure you offer them some chick size grit. That will help them grind up whatever litter they do eat. Good luck!
  3. Spangled

    Spangled Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 12, 2012
    Serenity Valley
    Short answer added after typing way too much information below: If you are convinced that the chicks know what food is and they are all eating out of the feeder consistently, then there is likely no harm at all in letting them be on the litter.

    Sometimes there is no harm. Folks have been raising chicks in all sorts of way for millennia.

    For me, I feel better making sure that the chicks learn what feed is before I introduce them to shavings. In fact, the only thing they can eat in my brooder is feed or water.** They could tear the paper towels, I suppose, but it doesn't get that far. I sprinkle the feed all over the paper towels. Chick aren't hatched knowing the difference and so they will peck at everything. The ground is their favorite thing to peck at. Luckily, their droppings don't taste good and they stop pecking at those quite quickly. So if food is on the ground and in the feeders, then they learn what good food tastes like.

    If I put them on litter, they could easily get confused, think the litter is food, and eat too much litter. Then they will be at the very least nutritionally harmed because they won't be getting the amount of nutrients they need because the litter will be taking up space in their crop, etc.

    I put the paper towels on the bottom of the brooder for about 5 days. Then switch to shavings. Though I guess, I have had them outside in the coop on shavings at 3 or 4 days before. So, I guess I play it by ear sometimes. The good news is that there are a bunch of ways to work the system.

    Yes, yes, it gets messy. I end up using a lot (A LOT) of paper towels and have a trash bin right next to the brooder for switching out the dirty towels for the clean.

    **I sprinkle play sand on top of the feed in their feeders as if I were putting pepper on their feed. I do this from day two or three. Personal choice. I think it helps develop the gizzard early, but there are studies out there saying it doesn't matter as well as studies that say otherwise. But sometimes the studies are comparing chickens that will never be free ranged. Anyway, I do not give play sand or fine grit "free choice" until they are a lot older in case they mistake the sand/grit for feed and over indulge.

    LILCHIKBIGCHIK Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 24, 2012
    South of Boston
    You can use newspaper too, so I've been told by many people
  5. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    I have never used paper towels or newspaper with my chicks. Either mail ordered or hatched at home they one and all go straight onto shavings. I've brooded I don't know how many hundreds by now and have never lost one to eating the shavings.
  6. shanshan51

    shanshan51 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 7, 2011
    Vacaville, CA
    Lately I have had the worst time with shavings between it getting debris in their eyes, stuck in their throat etc. I think I will be moving to pellets for my little guys. I have been using very textured paper towels for the first few days.
  7. queenchick16

    queenchick16 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2012
    Hello I raised my kids on paper towels for several days and then switched them over to shavings. It is scary to see them peck (and eat some) at the shavings but all mine survived just fine
  8. saintdeer

    saintdeer New Egg

    Nov 18, 2010
    i just got 24 baby chicks...first timer :) Chef turning farmer for the first time...anyway, I just put down lint free towels cover up with paper towels....I accidently bought cedar shavings and read that will kill them quicker than a can of chicken-b-gone....then again read no big deal!? I'll bring it back just to be whats the best thing to use? til they go in with me big girls?
  9. steelersfan43

    steelersfan43 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 28, 2009
    NE IN
    definitely don't use cedar. We use pine shavings with puppy pads on top for the first few days and then take off the puppy pads when they are used to where their food is. Good luck! :)

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