Shelf liner and pine pellets in brooder?


In the Brooder
9 Years
May 27, 2010
Indianapolis, IN
I got the e-mail! Babies are coming next week. Time to get the brooder set up and tested!!! I decided to go with a larger Steralite container because 1) it was translucent and 2) it latches securely. (Translucent for the 3-year-old, latched for both him and our cat.) After trolling the site for a long time I decided to go with the pine pellets. I saw a couple of posts that I liked where people took advantage of shelf liner for easy clean up.

Is this something I can do without creating a double layer brooder? If so, how did you set it up?

Also, the pellets seem kinda big. (Equine pine pellets from TS.) Are the tiny little chicks going to be safe and comfy on those?

Any feedback is welcome and appreciated!!! Thanks!


Expecting: 2 BR & 2 EE after 6/7.
I love the TSC pine pellets!!!!!

These guys are day or two-olds on them:

I have put a puppy training pad under the pellets to help with cleanup, but it's not really necessary. Never tried the shelf liner.
Pelleted stall litter is supposed to be wet down before use. It needs to break down. I use them for my horses, and they need to be wet down to be effective (I've had horses slip on them if not wet, just like walking on marbles). I know people that use them in their chicken houses that wet them down, too. If you do it now, the litter will have a chance to dry out before the babies come. It won't take a lot of water, but you want the pellets to swell and break down. If you leave them whole I would be afraid of a chick eating a small piece, drinking water, and having it swell in its crop. Put some water on one pellet and watch it, and you'll see what I mean. Also, make sure you use the pellets that are made for animal bedding, NOT for pellet stoves. They're pretty much the same, except the pellet stove fuel contains chemicals.
Ok... I somehow TOTALLY missed the part about it having to be wet down! Once broken down is it better at controlling odor and waste or about the same as pine shavings? I will double check but I'm pretty sure what I got at TSC was Equine Pine Pellets for stalls.

Thanks! Now I'm not sure I picked the right thing.
I never wet it down, it gets wet with all the poop and spilt water. Spent pellets = sawdust, and it's just as good as bedding. I use the pellets in my coop and the rain usually gets them wet, so yes it's basically a pile of sawdust and I love it!!!!! But I don't wet the pellets down for chicks, it gets wet on it's own. I never have spraddle leg or anything like that either, they walk on them just fine.

I have used pine pellets for woodstoves too, just check to make sure there are no added chemicals. They were actually cheaper at TSC during the wintertime and they were out of the horse kind for like a month so I had to get something.
I did not wet mine down and this is the first I have heard of anyone doing it intentionally. I would be cautious with getting them wet. Some water from a partly tipped over waterer spilled on some of mine one time. They were soft for a couple of days and then they quickly got moldy. After that I was careful to check once a day for them being overly wet and remove them. I only removed a few from around the waterer a couple of times. A very light sprinkling might be OK. You might contact the manufacturer to see if they really recommend getting them damp or not. I did not see anything mentioned about getting them damp on the bag. I no longer have a bag of them and so I can not go take a look at it again.
Old post, but my bag of pellets does say to spray the pellets with water after spreading them in the stall. It says to "lightly spray" it so that the top layer expands for the animal's "comfort."

Obviously, using these pellets for chickens or other poultry is an "off label" use anyway, so the directions may not be the same. I just put about 50 pounds of Pine Soft brand into my main quail pen. Hopefully they won't be dumb-brains and eat them. I did try this with the babies and immediately took it out. They were tasting them a bit too much for my comfort. (For the record, they were ONLY tasting the parts that had expanded by their water dish.)

Pine Soft brand states that it is 100% pine with no additives. I wanted to use this because I intend on using it for garden mulch once spent.

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