Brooder Litter For Chicks, Ducklings and Keets

I have received this tip and advice about litter for a brooder.

“The safest, most comfortable ,most hygienic, most chick friendly and cheapest litter for a brooder is clean chopped straw. All you need is a small bale of straw and your lawnmower (with it’s collection bag on if possible). Lay straw on a clean,dry floor and just mow it with up .It could not be easier ,by the way store in a dry bag / place. One square bale of straw will give you and the chicks a lotta pleasure. If you do’nt have a mower, get out the scissors ( get help from a adult please), you will chop a lot of straw in 4/5 minutes. For easier and quicker cleaning of brooder etc ,lay a few sheets of newspaper or cardboard on the bare floor followed by about a half inch of your chopped straw, add some more straw to this every few days,making sure that the chicks feet are always clean.Just roll up and replace when as required. Also for the first 3 to 4 days the chicks are in the brooder place a long single strip of cardboard 6 inches high around the inside of the brooder,rounding the corners, it stops them bunching and smothering.”

Thanks Stephen for this tip.

A litter material is placed on the floor in the brooder to help insulate the floor for the birds comfort and to absorb moisture. Litter also helps control disease and can prevent splayed legs which chicks and keets can easily suffer from if the correct flooring is not provided.

Suitable litter materials include;

  • Wood shavings.
  • ground corncobs.
  • Sawdust.
  • Sugarcane.
  • Rice hulls.
  • Finely chopped straw.
  • Wheat straw.

Whichever litter material is chosen it must be clean, fresh, not mouldy and 2-8 inches or 5-20cms deep.

Unsuitable litter materials include;

  • Newspaper.
  • Paper.
  • Metal.
  • Plastic.
  • Lino.
  • Wood.
  • Ordinary cardboard.
  • Any slippery surface.

Cloth, carpet or corrugated cardboard may be used as a flooring in a small homemade brooder as these surfaces can provide traction for the keets to get a grip on and not slip.

I have successfully reared guinea fowl keets, ducklings and quail chicks on carpet and straw.

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