Week old, should we move to pine shavings in the brooder?

Chickylet

Chirping
Feb 19, 2018
39
43
66
MA
Hi all,
We've had 8 baby chicks for 1 week. Survived a 24 hour power outage, someone who had a poopy bum (cleaned them w/ wet q-tips, and bathed their bottom a few times), being brand new at this chickie thing, and the girls all seem to be doing quite well!! Except that someone has very wet brown poop. Most other poop appears to be getting larger and well formed, just can't figure out who has the yucky wet stuff.... But everyone seems good, eating, drinking, starting to scratch the at the ground, moving from the heated part of the brooder to the cooler end regularly.

Question though, is I've been using puppy pads on the bottom of the brooder and covering w/ paper towels, then changing the paper towels 4 to 5 times a day. We did purchase kiln dried pine shavings, should we stop w/ the paper towels and use the pine shavings yet? Now that I see how much they poop, I'm wondering how I clean it w/ pine shavings. Would I remove all shavings daily and replace or do I just add more shavings on top and clean it all out weekly? Guess I really didn't realize how much these guys poop!!

Any insight is appreciated. Sorry for what seems like such a basic question. I had done all kinds of research for the coop, but the brooder, I'm realizing I'm clueless.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
23,851
34,516
1,122
Colorado Rockies
Chicks double in size each week, and so does the amount of poop. Aren't you happy to hear that?

It's your choice to continue with the paper towels or switch to shavings. But the twerps will soon discover the joy of shredding paper, if they haven't already.

When I brooded indoors in a confined brooder, I used pine shavings and several times a day removed the poop with fingers or tongs. I never changed out the shavings the entire time. Picking out the poop frequently kept the bedding clean. I don't know how much work you are willing to do but pine shavings are a good, safe bedding.

Is your brooder large enough that all the chicks can both make it under the heat source together and get well away from the heat when they need to shed the excess? If the chick with the runny poop is very small and less assertive than the others, it may be getting left out in the cold. Chilling can cause the runny poop as well as overheating.

But don't mistake evil smelling dark chocolate pudding cecal poop for diarrhea. Unfortunately, it comes with the joy of keeping chickens.
 

BlueChai

Chirping
Feb 23, 2018
147
156
98
I usually brood my chicks on an old house towel I change every few days until a couple weeks old, then I shift to pine shavings.
 

WRXFamily

Chirping
Aug 3, 2017
27
31
54
Colorado
I usually switch to shavings at about 1 week. It has worked for all of my little chicks. I bought an extra feed scoop and just scooped out all old shavings about weekly but sometimes more. Use your best judgement with how soiled the shavings are and when to change them in my opinion. I hope your chicks continue to do well. It sounds like you are doing amazing! Such an exciting time to be a chicken owner!
 

Spikeandbean

Songster
Apr 27, 2020
89
199
116
Northern California
My Coop
My Coop
I'm new to chicks, too, and have a six 3-week old chicks right now in one of those portable dog pens in my home office. I've been using puppy pads over grippy shelf lining since day 1. After about a week, I started adding some pine shavings on top in a small pile. The chicks LOVE getting in there and spreading them out around their brooder area. It's messier than before, but I find the shavings help disperse poop a little better, now that they're bigger, and continuing to use puppy pads underneath keeps clean-up pretty easy. I just roll everything up together. (Because I don't use a ton of shavings, there's no serious dust.) Using pine shavings alone would probably be better for the environment, though, and it sounds like it's a pretty scoop-able option!
 

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