PatS

Songster
10 Years
Mar 28, 2009
654
8
141
Northern Califonia
Our chicks are just four days old.

We have paper towels covering the pine shavings because I was worried about the chicks eating the shavings. We are going through a ton of paper towels though, because the birds are little poop machines. How old do they have to be before we can let them live on the shavings? I know they will try to eat them, because they try with the little pieces they pull from behind the toweling!
 

Debi214

Songster
11 Years
Apr 6, 2008
475
3
141
Richmond, VA
I have used pine shaving always for my chicks without any problems at all. They seem to know from the start not to eat their poop or shavings.
 

plowbouy

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jun 13, 2009
26
0
21
Iowa
I've used pine shavings from day one, and have never had an issue with it.. they will pick through it and scratch in it but it's never posed a problem.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
25,734
15,791
777
Southeast Louisiana
I use pine shavings in the coop but not in the brooder. People have reported chicks dying from impacted crops due to eating pine shavings. Most people don't have a problem with it but it can happen. The general timing I've heard is that you can stop the paper towels after three days. By then, they have learned that the basis food is not pine shavings but their real food.

They will still eat pine shavings. They'll try to eat anything, including their own poop. (Eating a little of their own poop can help strengthen their immune system. Don't feed it to them on purpose as they will find plenty on their own.) It won't help get the shavings through the crop, but if you give them grit, it will help their gizzard grind up any shavings that get that far in their system.

Grit is another thing that a lot of people don't give to their chicks and their chicks never have any obvious problem. Occasionally it will help the chicks when they eat something their system can't handle without grit. A lot of times, you really don't know what does or does not hurt or help the chicks.
 

Baymen Moe

Songster
11 Years
Jan 17, 2009
522
24
169
Pembroke, Ma.
I went the paper towel root for a few days then switched to pine shavings without much incident. They pecked and did seem to pick up the tiny dusty type bits but knew the difference between food and shavings. No problems.

Bill
 

kysilkies

Songster
10 Years
May 3, 2009
876
98
188
Elizabethtown, KY
We started with paper towels and now have pine shavings...Out biggest issue was one of our Silkies likes to step on food, scrape her foot on the edge of the bowl and eat the floaters...

This is her doing her thang before the shavings:


She eats food normally as well...When we put the shavings in, she would end up scraping as many shavings a food into the water, again too cute, but it was a problem...We put a plastic lid next to the water with food in it so she could stomp around and do her thing, it's just too cute but they seem to know the shavings aren't as good as the food after a short period of time...
 
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MamaJohnson

Songster
10 Years
Mar 12, 2009
128
0
119
Idaho
I've done both things - brand new babies on paper, and brand new babies on shavings. With the ones that I started on paper, and then moved to shavings at 10 days old, I have never had a problem. Of the ones that started on shavings, however, I have had 3-4 incidences of "pasty butt" during their first 10 days. Not sure if that was entirely due to the shavings, but I do wonder of it contributed. Just to be safe, in the future all my babies will be on paper for the first week at least.
 

Sactown Chickens

In the Brooder
10 Years
May 8, 2009
65
0
39
Sacramento, CA
We used pine shavings with our little guys from the time they came home from the feed store. They pecked at them a bit but seemed to know the difference between bedding and food.
 

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