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Bedding questions - eelgrass, cedar shavings and sand

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by WestCoast Hen, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. WestCoast Hen

    WestCoast Hen New Egg

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    Hello Forum,
    Any experience with using eelgrass as bedding? I live in the NW Coast of Canada and have lots of eelgrass that wash up on the beach I can dry out under the house and use as bedding but I'm worried about mites/fleas or any other cons for using seaweed for bedding.
    As well, there are lots of red cedar shavings I can get a hold of but red cedar is known for toxins and wonder if it would hurt to use in the coup as part of the deep litter method.
    Finally, I'm looking at sand from the beach. Thought it would be good to use in my garden to break down the clay dirt.
    My 9x10 coup houses 12 hens and cleaning it out completely every 2 weeks is daunting while juggling my 2 mos son.
    Any comments on eelgrass, cedar or sand?
    Thanks,
    WC H
     
  2. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] Glad you joined us!

    Eelgrass: Sorry, I have no idea

    Cedar: The off-gassing of cedar oil is said by many to be hard on the chicken's respitory system.

    Beach sand: I'm not sure. I would kind of think it ought to be washed first...but [​IMG]
     
  3. Time-Out

    Time-Out Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think beach sand would smell. It'd takes lots of washing to even begin to get the smell of sea and dead sea creatures out. Have you any river sand? That'd take a little less washing.
     
  4. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would smell it if there's no smell use it. Probably the sand in the dunes would be the best. I use the sand in my dried up creek it works great.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    [​IMG] Welcome to the forum! [​IMG] Glad you joined us! [​IMG]

    I'm not familiar with eelgrass, but it should work. I don't know about creepy crawlies in it, but I would not expect any that would hurt chickens. There may be some marine types that would smell if they dried out and died, but you can wash it, dry it, and air it out. Sounds like a lot of work, but it has been used for mattresses and cushions, so it can obviously be done. One possible downside is that straw and long grass can get matted down when used as bedding. It may be hard to clean out if it mats together.

    Red cedar shavings release gasses that can harm a chicken's respiratory system. They make cedar chests to keep bugs away. I would not use the shavings because of that risk. Cedar wood is fine to use in building coops and such. What makes the shavings more risky is that they are cut up into a lot of small pieces so they have a lot of surface area to give off the fumes. Cedar planks don't have near the surface area.

    I'd have two concerns with beach sand. As others mentioned, it could have small marine creatures in it that could smell while they decomposed. Maybe pile it up out of the surf and let it dry a while to get past that phase? But the other concern is how salty is it Chickens don't do well with much salt. I don't know if there is enough salt in it to hurt them or not. Maybe pile it up and let the rain rinse it a few times before you use it? Beach sand may be fine, I just don't know.

    I'm a little confused as to why you are cleaning out a coop that size with only 12 chickens that often. I know we all keep chickens under different circumstances, but every two weeks sound excessive. Do they not have a run? Have you considered using a droppings board under the roost. That is where you put something under the roosts to catch a lot of the poop and clean it off regularly. This keeps a lot of poop out of your bedding.

    Maybe if you could describe your set-up a bit, people could tell you how they manage the poop problem. Every two weeks just sounds excessive, especially since your child is too young to have that added to his chores list.
     
  6. Time-Out

    Time-Out Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Ahhhh so THAT's why people have kids! Slave labour! I never knew... I'll have to give it some serious consideration now...
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Not slave labor, character building labor. There is a difference.
     
  8. Othylocke

    Othylocke Out Of The Brooder

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    Cheap Entertainment, Free Labor, Building Characters of our Children?

    Take your pick. It all works in my book [​IMG]
     
  9. WestCoast Hen

    WestCoast Hen New Egg

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    Thanks so much for your replys and welcomes. I'm loving owning chickens and learning about self sustenance but still look forward to the day my son learns to walk and can open and close the chicken coup [​IMG]
    I'll stay away from cedar shavings, sand sounds like too much work but I will start collecting eelgrass. It's good for mulch as well for the garden. I live in Haida gwaii, BC on an island just south of Alaska and frieght costs hike up grocery bills which is an added incentive to grow your own food.

    I probably am cleaning the coup more than I need to. I just learned about the - what's it called - plank under the roosting to collect the majority of the poop easier. That will help some. I can't see how to upload photos otherwise I'd love to share what I managed while pregnant. My own nesting instinct seemed to be in high gear for the full 9 months.
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I think you need a certain number of posts to be able to post pictures. That is one of the forum rules. That is because of people that spam our forum. Just greet a few people and you can post photos and links.

    How to post pictures/avatar
    http://www.theeasygarden.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=26838
     

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