I have my chickies on newspaper like my book says. Once I put a couple of wood shavings in there and the silly babies fought over who got to eat them. Which will give them pasty butt. I m thinking chopped straw, maybe? Would it be bad to rake up some dry leaves outside? Another question is how to avoid wasting food. My babies scratch at the feeder and make all this food come out - which ends on the floor and wasted. Kills me! I don't even fill up the container on the feeder, because that makes matters worse. It's just there so they can't sit on the feeder and poop in the food.