Bedding for babies?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Kanga77510, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. Kanga77510

    Kanga77510 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2009
    Santa Fe, TX
    They have straw right now, and I can tell it's not too soft. Do they need something softer? I've seen some kind of fluffy shavings, cedar I'm assuming? My babies aren't newborns, I'm assuming a few weeks old.
  2. suburbanminifarm

    suburbanminifarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 29, 2009
    N.San Diego County
    Use alfalfa hay, it's cheap, a bit softer than straw, smells nice, hides the poops, and even edible. A bale will last you a really long time. I hate cedar shavings because they track all over everything, and don't decompose in with the ground or grass or whatever very well.
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    No cedar!!!!! I've read on here that cedar is bad for chickens. Can't remember why though.

    The shavings you see are pine shavings. They are soft and cheap. (at least I think so) I get a big bale of shavings for $5.
  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Pine shavings also work very nicely.

    edited to add: sorry for the repeat, posted at the same time!
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2009
  5. zatsdeb

    zatsdeb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 2, 2007
    Lincoln, Illinois
    pine shavings here too, never cedar, it can kill baby chicks. it is toxic.
  6. kartking22

    kartking22 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 12, 2008
    No wood shavings ever!!! Please!!!
    Never put anything in your brooder that you don't want your chicks to eat! Chicks are very curious and sample just about anything that they think might be food. Wood chips do not digest and may plug up thier digestive tract. I use baled straw or alfalfa because of the fact that it is usually too big for them to eat and is digestable if they do eat it. I lost alot of chicks when I used pine shavings. I couldn't figure out why they were dying until I found dead chicks with shavings lodged in thier throats. A cheap bale of hay or straw is best in my eyes and biodegrades faster than wood chips. This composts better and I use it on top of my worm bed to attract worms and crawlers for fishing.
  7. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    I put mine on pine shavings with paper towels over it. Once they are eating their chick starter I roll the paper towels up so they are only on shavings. Most probably start their chicks directly on shavings without bothering with paper towels. Those that hatch lots of chicks are even more likely to put them straight on shavings. Usually nothing goes wrong. I just found it easier to get them started eating when I can sprinkle their food around on the paper towels where it stands out. Eventually they are going to grow up and try to eat all sorts of stuff. Eventually they will have to taste test shavings. There's not really any gain by waiting any longer than it takes for them to realize what is good food and start eating their poultry feed. If you want something even more absorbent and that is too big for them to eat try pine pellets. Some people also keep chicks on sand or just fill the brooder with chick starter so their bedding is their food.

    Straw should be cheaper than hay since hay is purchased as animal feed and straw is a byproduct of growing grains. It used to be common bedding material for animals but it's actually very poor for that purpose because it's so high maintenance and hard to clean so most gets used by gardeners or similar now. Hay and straw both are not good bedding and are not good for chicks to be eating. First they require grit to break down and could lead to impaction if chicks are allowed eat it without grit. There's probably more danger from them ingesting hay or straw without grit even though it can be a food source than from ingesting shavings. Irregardless of that it's still not a useful bedding. It insulates moisture and molds easy. You will be cleaning it out constantly or it will make a smelly wet mess. If you don't clean it out often enough and some of it molds it could kill your chickens or anything else that eats it. Many molds are toxic. You might as well use paper towels and change them a couple times daily. At least they are absorbent and don't mold.
  8. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    The general feeling on BYC is that pine shavings are great but cedar shavings can be toxic.

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