When raising chickens, the question about which bedding to use for your chickens always comes up. Which is safe? Which is the cheapest? Which is the best?
Aspen shavings (above) are some of the more expensive types of bedding. It is less dusty and better for your chickens health, or any animal for that matter. But it is hardy on the animals feet, not as soft as pine or cedar. It is in bigger clumps and pieces and not a very good absorbent.
Pine shavings are more dusty (not good for some animals, but okay for chickens.) It it smaller and more absorbent, it smells fresher and cleaner and it is softer on the animals feet.
Cedar shavings are not good for any animal, if you want them to be safe. It has certain oils that cause upper respiratory problems. It is also hard, non-absorbent and expensive. Definitely not a good choice.
Hay or straw is cheap and can be used for any type of animal, whether food or bedding. It smells nice when it is first laid down, but it is not a good absorber. It stinks after becoming wet, and becomes moldy within days. It is tougher on the chickens feet as well.
Sand or dirt is easy to clean and in expensive. It is not a good absorbent and not good to keep the chickens warm. It provides them nothing to bed down in on cold nights.
Saw dust is not good for chickens, it is much to dusty and messy.
Shredded newspaper is cheap and soft enough for the chickens feet, and it can be warm. But, depending on the ink, ink could rub off the strips when wet. It is a okay absorbent, but not the best.
Overall, some of the best beddings to use would be pine shavings or aspen shavings. Both are great smelling, easy to clean, absorbent (pine is more absorbent than aspen) and warm and cozy for the chicken to snuggle down in.