Sand or Wood Shavings in brooder


In the Brooder
12 Years
Sep 27, 2007
Maryville, TN
I have almost finished my new 4x4 brooder. It will have a linoleum floor. I am wanting to get as many opinions as possible with your own experiences about wether to use sand of wood shavings. Stuff like which may be easier to clean. I know when using shavings the chicks should be on paper towels for a few days, is this the same with sand. What kind of sand is recommended. My chicks are coming April 23 or 24.
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10 Years
Jan 25, 2009
End of a dirt road...
I usually buy the big ole bag of wood shavings from Walmart for $6 or so. I have 5 brooders and I usually change them every other day. The bag seems to last forever and keeps the bad smells under control!


11 Years
Aug 31, 2008
Humboldt County, CA
Stick with the wood shavings, trust me. MUCH easier to clean than sand. Plus, wood shavings smell nice under the heat lamp.
I use just enough to cover the newspaper underneath.


In the Brooder
10 Years
Feb 20, 2009
Do you use the wood shavings right from the beginning? I have a towel laying on the floor of our brooder (big microwave box) right now. Was planning on using it for the first few days. Should I put some paper towels on top? My little ones come Tuesday or Wednesday and I still keep changing my mind on things. We tested our heat lamp today!


11 Years
Jun 15, 2008
Shavings. I tried sand once for some quail and never again. It got dirtier much faster and was much more difficult to clean along with being heavier and more likely to spill through the house.

I usually lay paper towels down over the shavings so they can find dropped food easier and learn what food is before they try to eat shavings. When I remove them depends on how many chicks I have. If they are getting dirty fast from lots of chicks I might remove them before the end of the first day. Preferably I try to wait a day or 2 to make sure they are all eating starter before letting them see shavings. Plenty of people just put them on shavings without a problem but I find it easier to show them food dropped on a paper towel.


11 Years
Jan 20, 2009
My chicks were probably 4 days old already when I picked them up at the feed store, and there, they were already on pine shavings. When I got them home, I put them on pine shavings, with a single layer of paper towels accross the top for about 4 hours.... wanted to make sure they knew where their water and food were at, etc... removed the towels then, no problems.

After going through 1 block of the pine shavings, one of the smaller compressed bags of that stuff that you can buy, I decided to switch over to the wood pellets that they use in horse stalls, or for some wood (pellet) stoves. My chickens actually appear to prefer them @ 3 weeks old and they seriously do not seem to get as 'dirty' as fast. absorb like crazy and do not stink at all. Granted I only have 4 pullets and it's only been 3 or 4 days on the new pellets, but I don't think you can beat it for the cost. They are still scratching through it just like the pine, and attempting dust baths, etc.. If you have to buy your bedding ( I know a lot of people that don't) look into the wood pellets, they are working great for me and it's nice being able to buy 100lbs of them for cheap... at least here in the colorado area.. surplus lately on that item due to our infamous tree beetle problems. Pine is awesome too. No way on the sand in the brooder, too heavy, stinky, wet, etc... but I have a ton of play ground sand going into my run when it's ready



11 Years
Oct 31, 2008
I have used the grit you get at Walmart for about $2 a box. I don't like shavings as they get in the food and water.

But to clean the sand I took a coffee contaner with both ends removed and zip tied some window screen to one end. I put the sand in and shift it, all the poop and food stay in the container while the sand falls back down to the floor..

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