Bedding choices aside from shavings and straw?


Chicken Beader
11 Years
Mar 20, 2008
NW Kentucky
What are other choices over pine shavings and straw for 2 week old chicks? I bought a huge bag of straw and another one of pine shavings...they both smell like chemicals. My girls are on antibiotics for sneezing now and I just do not trust these. I put a light layer of the pine in, as it did not smell as strong, then I covered it with a piece of an old sheet.

Any suggestions?
I use corn cob litter it is not dusty, drains well and is just all around safer. You don't have issues with craw impaction either. It does cost a bit more than pine, but is worth it in my opinion. Some TSC's sell it, but if you can't find it there you can get it at any pet shop. Fifty pound bags are about $14 here and that covered my brooder that was about 10 ft in diameter. Most won't need anywhere near that much with the smaller brooder boxes. You can buy smaller bags, but I'm not sure how much they are.
I know most people don't recommend it, but I use strips of newspaper, just make sure they are wide enough so that the chicks don't try to eat them, the ink may rub off on their feet a little, I change the newspaper every 2 or 3 days, and add more in between. This is the second year I have done this, and have not had any issues with it.

I started with the pine shavings, but I think it is way too dusty, and the chicks seem to eat alot of it, plus I have stacks of old newspapers, so no worry about running out and having to go buy bedding.
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I'm planning on using peat moss (local supply) with DE and Stable Boy sprinkled on planks underneath...peat moss was suggested by our vet for a horse who is sensitive to straw and shavings and I literally have a ton of it...
Remember its critically important that your chicks stay dry. Thats really hard to do with paper and leaves.
I've read that newspaper leads to spraddle leg.
TS sold me a black bag of sifted pine shavings. I haven't had any dust or smell, and the chicks are in my laundry room, so I would notice.

Perhaps your straw was moldy, or your chips wet?

One of my chicks seemed to be developing spraddle legs the first day we had her. I put them on paper towels for a day and then got the sifted chips.

Hope you find something that works.

Not good if they are sneezing. If they have an allergy to the bedding, it would be very strange, and antibiotics won't help. If they have a cold, that is serious. I don't know the whole situation.
Shredded newspaper... I just put a layer or 2 of un-shredded newspaper down and cover that with paper towels for about a week, then their legs are strong enough to stand on the shredded newspaper without getting spraddle leg.
I've been using sand and pine shavings for softness for my chicks. They all seem to like being able to snuggle in the shavings, but also enjoy dust baths and scratching in the sand.

The only "negative" that mix is that their water gets dirty more often so I have to change it alot. :| But otherwise it's worked well so far!

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