We're in Florida so that might make a difference. Straw is not readily available and VERY expensive when you can find it. We use a lot of pine shavings and I like it except...the chickens dig down to the dirt underneath and mix it all together. I have a friend who uses the white "play sand" in pens and uses a kitty litter scoop to clean it. I'm thinking about doing this but wanted input from others prior to changing...thanks so much!!