Baby Chicks and Litter Care

by Shannon

I put pine shaving on the bottom of my box for my 3 week year old chickens and they are eating it. Is this bad for them?

Also, someone told me to put terramycin in their water but I want them to be as organic as possible so I didn't know whether that was good for them. Sorry, this is my first time and I may be worrying too much. I just want them to be healthy and to produce healthy eating eggs.

Comments for Baby Chicks and Litter Care

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No Paper Towels for Baby Chicks
by: Anonymous

Baby chicks should only be allowed on dust free, pine shaving (large flake) litter (not cedar or treated litter) or hay bedding (not straw).

It is important that litter be kept away from the feeders and waterers and changed daily. No exceptions. More fouled areas can be scooped and replaced as needed.

It is imperative that no paper towels or flat surfaces are ever used as litter or litter cover for two reasons:
1 - chick's feet and toes need to be able to develop strength and this is done by having them walk on uneven surfaces (litter) as opposed to paper or paper towels.
2 - chick's can eat paper and paper towel fibers and their undeveloped craw and digestive system can become 'bound' as the paper towel absorbs internal moisture. This will decrease their ability to eat proper nutrition because they are "full" and can slow their bowel and cause bacterial infection in their intestine.

How to Keep Chicks From Eating Litter
by: Shannon

I would cover the litter with paper towels for awhile to make sure they are eating their food and not the litter. Once you are sure they are eating well, then it will be all right to remove the paper towels.

Are you sure they are eating the litter or just pecking it? Sometimes chicks will peck at things out of curiosity.

I have never used Terramycin, and my chicks were just fine. Just make sure their litter is clean, and that should protect them from brooder diseases. I like to change the litter in my brooder every day, although it doesn't always happen. Be especially careful of the litter around their water. If it gets wet, change it to keep it from molding and exposing your chicks to the risk of a lung disease.

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