What to use on the floor of a brooder with a drawer underneath

Cottage K

In the Brooder
Jun 3, 2020
5
4
11
I am a total newbie expecting my first set of 25 chicks in less than 2 weeks. I am making a brooder with a pull out drawer underneath that catches the poop for easier cleaning. My question is, and please excuse me if this is a dumb question, but what bedding do I use that will still allow the poop to fall through? Surely the chicks aren't supposed to just walk on hardware cloth so the droppings can fall through? Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks!
 
May 22, 2020
582
997
206
Texas
I am a total newbie expecting my first set of 25 chicks in less than 2 weeks. I am making a brooder with a pull out drawer underneath that catches the poop for easier cleaning. My question is, and please excuse me if this is a dumb question, but what bedding do I use that will still allow the poop to fall through? Surely the chicks aren't supposed to just walk on hardware cloth so the droppings can fall through? Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks!
I'm not sure about new babies walking around on hardware cloth. I'd be worried their little tiny toes or feet might get stuck. I started all 3 of my sets, in an extra large tote with about 1 to 2 inches of pine flake shavings. When it got messy or started to get an odor, I just put the shavings in my compost pile. If you don't have a compost pile, they could be bagged for the garbage. When they were 4 weeks old, I moved them to a bigger brooder box my husband built. Hope this helps!
 

Cottage K

In the Brooder
Jun 3, 2020
5
4
11
I'm not sure about new babies walking around on hardware cloth. I'd be worried their little tiny toes or feet might get stuck. I started all 3 of my sets, in an extra large tote with about 1 to 2 inches of pine flake shavings. When it got messy or started to get an odor, I just put the shavings in my compost pile. If you don't have a compost pile, they could be bagged for the garbage. When they were 4 weeks old, I moved them to a bigger brooder box my husband built. Hope this helps!
Thanks! I forgot to mention I'm getting cornish x chicks to raise as meat birds so they will grow fast. I'd like to start them in a bigger brooder to keep from moving them if possible. I can always section off the box if I need to for the first week or so. I just don't know what to do about the floor. 🤔
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,301
20,171
907
Southeast Louisiana
This shows the floor of my brooder. It's 1/2" hardware cloth. I use different waterers now but these things keep evolving.

Brooder Waterer.JPG


This one shows the brooder. You can't see it too well but I have bins under it to catch the poop as it falls through. This keeps my brooder very clean and very dry.

Brooder.JPG


I also use 1/2" hardware cloth as the floor of my grow-out coop. When the chicks get to be about 12 weeks to 15 weeks old the poop gets so big it stops dropping through and starts to build up. Not sure how that will work with Cornish Cross chicks, mine are dual purpose.

Some hardware cloth has sharp nibs on one side from the manufacturing process. These can chew up a chick's feet. But these nibs are all on one side. Put that side down (if it is present at all) and the smooth side up. Problem averted.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,301
20,171
907
Southeast Louisiana
In cold weather I put a piece of plywood on the wire floor under my heat lamp to help keep them warmer and avoid "wind". I also wrap it to help reduce "wind". Wrapping also helps keep the hens from laying in among the bins, those make good hiding places. The plywood can be tilted and scraped to let the poop fall into the bins underneath.

But in warm weather no plywood. Just the wire. I haven't seen any issues with that.
 

Parront

Crossing the Road
Jul 27, 2017
5,735
24,267
827
Prescott, AZ
I am a total newbie expecting my first set of 25 chicks in less than 2 weeks. I am making a brooder with a pull out drawer underneath that catches the poop for easier cleaning. My question is, and please excuse me if this is a dumb question, but what bedding do I use that will still allow the poop to fall through? Surely the chicks aren't supposed to just walk on hardware cloth so the droppings can fall through? Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks!
You could put some paper towels down the first few days so that they could learn where the food is and then when they have grown a little have them on the wire only so the poop drops through. The commercial brooders you buy from Murray McMurray even have instructions to use the cardboard (that they will sell you) that is made to fit.
 

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