poop shoes

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by SolShineMatt, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. SolShineMatt

    SolShineMatt New Egg

    Apr 27, 2009
    Hi all! I'm a new chicken owner and my birds are a 8 days old today. They are really growing quite fast, and as their size increases so does the volume of poop. Being that I haven't yet installed the toilet plumbing in the brooder they walk all over it constantly and several of the chicks have little poop balls on their toes.

    Whenever I notice one that is particularly bad, I take the chick out and clean it off. Generally it doesn't seem to get "worse", so I imagine it's something that is always being cleaned off and re-acquired, maybe for sentimental reasons. Other than cleaning off the full fledged poop shoes, should I worry about some balls of poop here and there on their feet?

    I find it strange that none of the literature I have has mentioned this situation, considering I can't be the first person to experience it. I understand how lots of the caked on poop could cause some foot deformities, but I feel like small balls on the toe nails just go with the territory- quite literally.

    Advice? Experience? Thanks!
  2. Jenski

    Jenski Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    Poop shoes come with the territory. While chickens will avoid stepping in it when they are paying attention, unless you have a pen the size of Texas, they are eventually going to walk through it.

    That said, it helps with their general health and sanitation to keep the brooder as clean as you can (good luck!). How many chicks do you have? How large is your brooder? I use kiln-dried Aspen shavings, and I police up the really messy stuff with a cat litter scoop when I see it, then change out the shavings completely once a week. If you are using deep shavings you can also mix things around once a day to help keep it dry.

    Hope that helps. Good luck with your chicks! [​IMG]
  3. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    What are you using for litter?

    When using pine shavings I noticed that poop balls would occasionally stick to their feet for a minute, but it would also stick to the pine shavings and therefore have less sticky surface left to turn into full-fledged "poop shoes" It seemed like they shook it off, or it fell off, and it sank into the shavings without causing too much trouble.
  4. SolShineMatt

    SolShineMatt New Egg

    Apr 27, 2009
    We took them off of newspaper on the second day and we started using duff (the first layer of forest) for litter. Lots of leaves, pine needles, pieces of wood, dirt etc. But that didn't prove very absorbent, so we've switched to using hay for litter, as we live on a sheep farm and it's in great supply.

    We change it out once a day, because as I said, it's in great supply [​IMG]. The brooder itself is large (is it?), I'd say 4'x4' or somewhere thereabouts. We have 24 chicks in it: 9 Rhode Island Reds, 7 Silver Laced Wyandottes, and 8 Barred Rocks.


    It's probably worth mentioning that the chicks don't seem to notice or mind. No one is walking around funny or having mobility problems that we can tell.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
  5. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    I keep mine on shavings in a large space and very clean and have noticed the exact same thing. I think it must be a normal occurance, they start to pick it off themselves when they are a few weeks old then the problem seems to go away around 4 weeks.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2009
  6. SolShineMatt

    SolShineMatt New Egg

    Apr 27, 2009
    Thanks katylester, I'm inclined to agree since it always seems to stay at a certain level rather than continuing to build up. It's nice to know that other people have noticed it and it's not an emergency.
  7. sherrydeanne

    sherrydeanne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Once they start to scratch (for food), they'll kick up the litter and scrape their feet off at the same time. It's just an icky phase; don't worry too much about it [​IMG]
  8. melissastraka

    melissastraka Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 26, 2009
    Hoquiam, WA
    I dont worry too much unless it is cochins then it really sticks. Just make sure that you wash their feet if you are going to take them out and play with them on the carpet or wood floor or you will be steam cleaning a lot! [​IMG]

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