Pine shavings vs paper towels? electrolyte in water?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by csaylorchickens, Mar 22, 2015.

  1. csaylorchickens

    csaylorchickens Songster

    Mar 8, 2015
    My Coop
    Hello all. This is my first time raising day old baby chicks. I have done TONS of research on brooders, how to monitor them, how to feed them, what to feed them, temp regulations for them ect...

    So I got pine shavings. I also got the avian plate brooder that rises its height with the age of the chicks. The plate is ok, it works like a mother hen and the chicks totally love it. I think it gives them comfort. It also dose not get too hot if you keep it more centered in the brooder. I had it backed up on the side and the temp got up to 100! Now I pulled it 3 inches away from the wall, temp reads 90-95. Perfect for them.

    But I noticed that the chicks were pecking at the shavings. It looked like they were eating them. I thought, is this ok?? I did more research and one site I found suggested using paper towels over the savings or a throw away sheet that you can change out and cut up, over the shavings for the first three days because the chicks can get confused on feed vs not feed. If they eat the shavings, they can get impacted and die!

    so I put paper towels down, like 4 layers. I have to constantly change out the paper towel under the heat plate because only 4 chicks are under there, but man, DO THEY POOP LIKE MAD! The shavings are good because it almost works like cat litter an it clings to the poop so they are not getting the poop on themselves.

    How long should I keep paper towels? What has been your experience with litter and the chicks? what would be best for them?

    The paper towels are nice in one way because if you layer them, it literally takes 30 seconds to take out a layer, throw it away, and it is clean in there. Just looking for advice on what to do.

    Also how long should the chicks drink the electrolyte replacement powder in the water? It has been helping them with not getting pasty butt I noticed.
  2. thecrumbler

    thecrumbler Chirping

    Mar 18, 2015
    Yay research! It's always good to be prepared. Paper towels vs. pine shavings is probably going to be just personal opinion - most stores put them in shavings, etc, personally I prefer paper towels - mostly because of accidental eating (not that common, but still..) and the dust - *I* can't stand the dust! Sure, I go through a lot of paper towels, but it's an easy clean. On my current batch of chicks I didn't use any electrolytes in the water; I had 2 chicks with pasty butt at seven days old but that was resolved with a few butt soaks and some olive oil. It certainly can't hurt. I've always added it in super hot weather, with dewormer treatments or if anyone got sick.

    Looks like you're already doing a wonderful job with your flock!
    1 person likes this.
  3. Natalierose

    Natalierose Chirping

    Feb 9, 2015
    Snohomish, WA
    I'm new at chicks and I've really liked the paper towels- I actually have the shavings under them for more padding.

    It makes it easy to monitor their stool and make sure it doesn't have blood or any thing
    1 person likes this.
  4. chic101

    chic101 In the Brooder

    Mar 18, 2015
    Our chicks are almost a week old. I've been using paper towels and then I scatter a handful of the pine shavings in. So far it's going well. Easy to clean up.
  5. Julia62

    Julia62 Songster

    Jun 18, 2014
    Reno, NV
    I have paper towels on top of shavings as well. I just roll it up from one end and lay down new, easy peasy! I am using Probiotic Chick Boost. This is my first time with wee ones too. They are 5 days old now and doing great.

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