Pine shavings

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by PatS, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. PatS

    PatS Songster

    Mar 28, 2009
    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!
  2. Debi214

    Debi214 Songster

    Apr 6, 2008
    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.
  3. plowbouy

    plowbouy In the Brooder

    Jun 13, 2009
    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.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    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.
  5. lunkerchicken

    lunkerchicken Songster

    I have had my little ladies on pine shavings since they came home and have had no issues so far. They are 6 weeks tomorrow and out in the coop full time now.
  6. Baymen Moe

    Baymen Moe Songster

    Jan 17, 2009
    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.

  7. kysilkies

    kysilkies Songster

    May 3, 2009
    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...
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2009
  8. MamaJohnson

    MamaJohnson Songster

    Mar 12, 2009
    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.
  9. Sactown Chickens

    Sactown Chickens In the Brooder

    May 8, 2009
    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.
  10. Baymen Moe

    Baymen Moe Songster

    Jan 17, 2009
    Pembroke, Ma.
    Wow, did I really type "root" instead of "route". Dang.

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