Pine shavings are good????


9 Years
May 5, 2010
Maybe I have the worlds stupidest chicks but I decided to try ya'lls method of using pine shavings as the chicks litter. I've never done this before. I put it in yesterday and have now lost 5 chicks and one just pooped and had some blood in it. I thought the chicks wouldn't eat the litter??????? The youngest group in the playpen is over 2 weeks old. The oldest are the bantams which are about a month old (they are still so small that I don't want to put them outside yet- maybe at 2 months old). I lost my only bantam brahma and 4 white leghorns. Everyone was healthy before- poops normal, hyper active little critters zooming and practice flying everywhere. Food hasn't changed. Still have heat on them (to counteract airconditioning). I always use grit so they have that. What the heck am I doing wrong? Is there a special type of pine shavings? I got the big bag from TSC.
Are you sure they are eating the pine shavings and not that is isn't coccidiosis?

I always raised mine on pine shavings and never had issues, but that doesn't mean that it can't happen. Blood in the poo and that many dying that quickly screams cocci to me.
It sounds like there might be another problem going on, but my young chicks - when I went and checked on them - one died with (course size) shavings in his mouth. On the reco. of a young man who raises hundreds of chicks every year - he said straw or hay on top of newspaper. I gather a lot of people here don't like that but it worked for us. And they had so much fun playing with the seed heads of the hay, etc.
They have eaten medicated chick starter their whole lives and their pen was being cleaned out 3 times a day when I used the newspaper. Can they get coccidiosis if they are on the medicated chick starter (isn't that what the medication prevents)?

They kept picking at the pine shavings when I first put it in, but they didn't seem to be eating it although I only watched them for a couple of minutes. It's just really weird that I haven't had ANY losses and then WAM in less than 24 hours of trying pine shavings I've had 5 die.
so sorry for your loss, mine have been on wood shavings from TSC since their first day home, they do pick around in the shavings for food but I haven't noticed that they are actually eating it yet. Thanks for the warning I'll be keeping a watch for that.
Sand. Use sand the first 3-4 weeks. Chicks eat their bedding. Let them eat sand (grit). You'll have no pasty butt and no splayed leg.

But, blood in poop sounds like cocci. Have you been using medicated chick starter?
It is so hard to loose babies. I thing you are dealing with Cocci - not shavings. I have had chicks for 40 years and I put them on shavings after 7 days and have not ever had a problem. You need to start treatment. Even if they are on medicated feed they can still get Cocci - usually not as bad as if not. It is EVERYWHERE. Good Luck
They have been on medicated chick starter their whole lives, What do I give them for cocci? While I don't think it's cocci I have no problem covering as many bases as possible. It's all very odd as I've been raising chicks for almost 2 years straight and I've never had problems like this before.
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I used old rag towels for the first two weeks for the last batch ot 10 chicks I ordered in 2009. It was soft, they couldn't eat it, they didn't slip on it, I washed them and reused the same, then burned them afterwards--what ELSE are you gonna do with them?!?

Pine shavings are almost the same height as some baby chicks. I like the sand idea, too.
Everything I've read said to use papertowels for the first few days or so. I then switced to chips. Never had a problem.
It is my understanding that all chickens have Cocci in their systems. The point of the medicated feed is to keep them from becoming overwhelmed with Cocci. Turner am I right?
Some choose not to use medicated chick starter, I don't know why. Is it possible that the place you got your chicks did not use medicated starter?
There have been two postings of folks losing hatchery chicks. One lost every chick from Whelps hatchery. The other was from Cackle. I don't recall how many chicks they lost. This according to my recollection. I may be wrong. These accounts were posted recently and should be easy to find here on the forum.

One thing is certain wood chips is not the culprit.

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