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Rice Hulls Bedding is Magic

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I haven't seen rice hulls mentioned much so I've decided to draw people's attention to it as a great material for bedding. I have been using it for over a year for both chickens and ducks with great success. It is amazing how much better results I get with the ducks over pine shavings.

The main advantages of using rice hulls are:

1. Does not absorbs water

While clumps of rice hulls can retain water in large quantities, overall the material has no capacity to retain water which means most liquids quickly sink to the bottom. If you have a well drained floor (or using rice hulls over a think weed cloth over a metal mesh), the bedding will stay mostly dry. This is especially great with ducks and ducklings as they are messy with their water. In the duck brood I just move the bedding around the waterer under the heat lamp once ever few days and it keeps the brood dry and mostly odor free (wood shaving tend to stink up the place in under two days and must be replaced as they take a long time to dry).

2. Produces useful dust

Dust can be a problem for chickens and ducks but I never had any problem from rice hulls dust. On the other hand, the dusk is extremely useful when using the deep litter system. Any poop falling on the bedding gets immediately covered in a thin layer of dust and hulls, making it non-sticky and it dries much faster. I have 24 hens in a 6 x 12 coop, and I don't bother removing any bedding or poop anywhere for a whole year. The only smell inside is the feed. This is mostly because the poop (both on the bedding and under the roost) dries up extremely fast thanks to the rice hulls.

3. Cheap

At the local feed stores in Northern California, rice hulls are about 30-40% cheaper than shavings.

4. Easy to work with

Easy to spread, mix, level, and remove.

5. Has no odor

Wood shavings, especially pine, have a very strong scent which together with urine can be very intense and offensive to both fowl and people. Rice hulls have no smell at all.

6. Lasts forever

Because it doesn't retain moisture, it doesn't grow mold or any other bacteria like wet shavings. I have stored opened bags for over a year and it stayed in the same condition.


I still don't know how well it decomposes once removed but I will find out soon enough when I clean the coop and compost the mix.

What is your experience like?

EHL


Edited by theRazorBlade - 11/2/10 at 9:12am
post #2 of 12

I am facinated!!! I have never heard of this before! Does anyone know if you can buy them in Canada?big_smile

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Brand new to farming. Breeders of Highland Cattle. http://www.girlmeetsfarm.blogspot.com/  We use flockguardian dogs.
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post #3 of 12

Sounds like a great alternative to shavings!

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Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called Sons of God. Matthew 5:9
http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/cindiloohoo HERE Earn free stuff with me
I'm a blood bought bible taught born again child of God!
If we threw all of our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd quickly grab ours back
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post #4 of 12

Yup, rice hulls are majic alright... when I used them in my horse stalls, they disapeared from the stalls and were mysterously seen everywhere else  without any of my help.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

I wouldn't use it in a high traffic area or space that cannot contain them without spilling over.

post #6 of 12

I used them once when my co-op was out of shavings.   I'm not beyond using them again, but for now I have a deep litter bed of shavings that I don't plan to change out until spring.

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Lavender Orpingtons and one little white Silkie.   Currently seeking a mixed flock of pullets for my hen pen.  ISO Ameraucana - Cinnamon Queens - Black Copper Marans - Olive Eggers = 2 pullets each. 
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post #7 of 12

I LOVE rice hulls!!! They are amazing and the  chickens and other birds love them! and theres tiny bits of rice in them sometimes and they pick it out  (Not enough to hurt them but it adds chicken scratching enjoyment)   My grandma used to work for riceland and we get extras!  they are great for deep litter methods! and your right no molding! no standing mud holes or water puddles! NO MUD!  Using them in horse stalls  is not good however horses can colic on rice hulls.  They do not have the system of a chicken or pigs.  THEY WORK AWESOME IN PIG HOUSES AND PENS!!!

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OatWheat Farm's/UltraSoft Rabbitry and Caviery
Giant Cochins, Silver Spangled Hamburgs, Gold Laced Wyandottes, Frizzle Bantam, Silver Penciled Rocks.  Call Ducks, Black East Indy,Fawn & White Runner, India Blue BS Peafowl, Ringneck Pheasants &  Miniature Pet Pigs, American Short Haired Guinea Pigs and NZ Red, Miniature Rex, American Grey  Rabbits.

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post #8 of 12

Do you have any feed stores that you can list in CA that sell the hulls?

I am not having much luck with googling for them.

Thanks

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carols Clucks 

Do you have any feed stores that you can list in CA that sell the hulls?

I am not having much luck with googling for them.

Thanks


I get all my supplies from Mountain Feed & Farm Supply in Ben Lomond in the Santa Cruz Mountains, but I have found rice hulls in most feed stores in this area. The all see rice halls from Mallard Creek:

http://www.mallardcreekinc.com/shavings.html

post #10 of 12

I have been using rice hulls in my brooders for about a year and love it.  I used it only once in the main coop over a vinyl floor.  I found the rice hulls to be too slippery for the big birds.  When they hop down off the roost they would slide across the floor.  Maybe I just didn't have a deep enough layer. My board that keeps the shavings in is about four inches tall and they threw a lot of rice hulls over that and into the yard.  They LOVE to dig in the rice hulls.

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Please visit my blog:

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