Setting up Our Chicken Brooder

 We are expecting 4 baby chicks anytime now. So, we spent yesterday setting up the starter brooder. (We'll put them in a bigger space when they get a little bigger, but for their first couple of weeks we'll keep them in this Rubbermaid tub.) This is an old tub we used to store out of season clothes and I wanted to wash it out before using it for the chickies.

All pets. like people, are susceptible to the effects of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) on their lungs. They are considered an occupational hazard for janitorial staff and have been shown to not just trigger asthma attacks, but actually cause asthma. Birds are especially vulnerable to the effects of VOCs. You know, the canary in the coalmine and all that. Cleaning products are one of the major causes of indoor air pollution and contributors of VOCs to our home environments. Not only do you need to worry about the VOCs while you are using the cleaning products, but they also leave residue behind that continues to "off gas" VOCs for hours, days, and sometimes weeks. I didn't want my day-old little chicks breathing any of that into their tiny little lungs.

Most cleaning products contain VOCs, even some "green" or "natural" cleaning products. And because Volatile Organic Compound is a class of chemicals it can be hard to know if something contains it. You won't find "VOC" on the ingredient label, even if they actually list their ingredients! So, it is important to use VOC free cleaning products in your home, not just for the health of you and your family, but also for your pets!

I used unscented What-EVER! to clean my makeshift brooder knowing that there would be nothing left behind to irritate their darling little lungs.

Here's the chickies' first home. We will be using paper towel littler for their first week and then switching to pine shavings so we can just compost the whole stinky mess. And in case you didn't already know, baby chicks are s.t.i.n.k.y. I may begin using 2am Miracle to clean the brooder. The added botanical deodorizer will be just the thing!

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Thanks, Feisty! I’ll look for that! I knew about cedar shavings, but hadn’t heard that about pine.

Kate Frowzy

Just an FYI that you may already be aware of but you may want to look into something other than wood shavings for the darlings.

Pine chips are not as bad as cedar but they also have toxic resins and compounds that irritate the respiratory tract of animals, including humans.

People who work in cedar and pine sawmills have a much higher incidence of asthma compared to workers in other dusty environments or those without any dust exposure (3, 4). Another study found that chickens kept on softwood shavings had a higher incidence of respiratory infections (5).

I used Care Fresh Pet Bedding for my hamsters. It is environmentally friendly and much softer then shavings in my opinion, but I don’t know if it’s suitable for chicks


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