VERY old thread, I know, I apologize in advance if I violated some unwritten law. but I figured resurrecting it made more sense that starting a new one on the exact same subject.
I have been using shavings for the last couple of years, but I have also been reading a lot of bad things about toxins being released by wood shavings, especially hardwoods and cedar. And while pine is not as bad it isn't exactly good either, as it releases the same kinds of respiratory harming chemicals (albeit not as much).
As such, I have decided to return to wheat straw, which out here is basically cut and dried wild grass, and I have heard that grass cuttings make a good, safe bedding material. However the fact remains that it isn't as good at staying dry. Not that my bedding ever gets wet; the coop is under a tarped section of the run, and the chickens water is outside. So the only liquids that are going to come from the chickens themselves, and judging from the cleanliness of the shavings I have scooped out, I actually think my birds have potty trained themselves. Seriously, I didn't see any droppings, either in the litter nor on the floor (and that was after a year of use, the only turning being done by the chickens themselves!)
So here is what I was thinking, start by spreading some DE on the floor (or insect control) then mixing some pine shavings together with the wheat straw to increase it's absorbency while keeping the amount of toxins down. Would this work?