A bale of hay in the coop for winter (?)

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by joebryant, Nov 23, 2008.

  1. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    If I were to put a bale of alfalfa hay in my coop with four chickens, what should I expect to happen?
    Will they eat from the bale?
    Will they make a mess of it on what is now an easily maintained deep litter of equine pine pellets?
    What would happen if I were to put a bale in the run (has one foot of sand for the flooring) for the winter.
     
  2. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

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    Well, when I bought a bale and only used a small portion of it for the nest boxes, I set the remaining bale (about 70%) in the corner of the coop figuring they would perch on top of it at worst..... they scratched and dug and messed with it until it fell over and then they scratched at it until it was no more! [​IMG]
     
  3. cristy17

    cristy17 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I also put straw in my coop. They scratch it out of the boxes and somehow it ends up in the pen. I just keep adding so they stay warm. Its a neverending cycle at least til spring
     
  4. vermontgal

    vermontgal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mine seem only lightly interested in hay. I think they've been having such a great time with the fresh garden veggies, they're not really interested in hay. Sort of like canned asparagus, when you're used to those sweet crunchy spears!

    Come February, they might be interested in hay. Who knows.

    Anyhow, I put a little hay in their chicken-wire manger - it's down at the bottom. They're really interested in the fresh Brussels sprouts leaves. Even in Vermont, I'll have Brussels Sprouts and a few other hardy veggies right up through Christmas.

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    Last edited: Nov 23, 2008
  5. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    Quote:They'll scratch around in it, eat some of it, and generally break it down into the litter. I've heard of people alternating chopped straw with alfalfa for deep litter. The straw is cheap, the alfalfa entices them to turn the litter. The alfalfa supplement in the winter also keeps the yolks bright orange instead of the pale yellow that you get from feeding grain only when there is no lawn grass or pasture available.
     
  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    My Coop
    Mine picked and scratched at it until they had it spread all over.
     
  7. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    Thanks everyone. I think that I'll pass on the bale of hay. I'm able to keep the coops and run neat and tidy now as they are. Hopefully I can keep the kale and collards in the garden thriving in the worst of Indiana's weather if I cover them with some straw. They love those.

    I wish there were someplace where I could buy just a pound of those hay cubes for horses that someone posted about giving their chickens after their having moistened the cubes. I'd like to try those out, but TSC only sells 50# bags of them.
     
  8. antlers

    antlers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Or take the hay bale. I put in a handfull every day for mine. I dont have fresh greens in Minnesota in the winter and they eat the leaves of the alfalfa and the stems are just addeded to the litter. They like it and it gives them something to do for part of the day. (I also add a single ear of corn maybe everyother day for 8 hens and make em pick it off the cob. Just an activity for them.) But more than a handful of hay a day would be wasted.
     
  9. redoak

    redoak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I plan on giving my chickens a flake a week to play in and nibble on. Once the grass is all covered by snow. So far we've been missing all the lake effect snow.
     
  10. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have a bale of hay in the coop that the birds use to jump down from the roost. They take stands occasionally or peck at seeds that fall out. I also use alfalfa hay in my nesting boxes and they love it- very deep and they can play with it while waiting.

    Outside, in the roofed run I have 2 bales, again for jumping down. I think using hay depends on what your chickens do with it. I like to have a little seed and fibre on hand at all times and my hens don't go overboard with hay. They're getting cabbage and deadfall apples this week, too. Now the outside bales got covered with snow two days ago so if it gets warm and the bales get damp, I'll toss them on my manure pile and get fresh ones for them.

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    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008

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