Buying Hay/Straw?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by hermitgirl, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. hermitgirl

    hermitgirl New Egg

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    Do I need to buy hay/staw or can I just cut and dry the grass/weeds from the meadow, to use in the coop? Will the chickens care? Are there any weeds that could be dangerous, like thorny ones? Also, how do you store it without mice taking up residence? Thanks:D
     
  2. OkChickens

    OkChickens Orpingtons Are Us

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    I have straw in my coop on the floor and the nest boxes! I have my Feed in 55 gallon barrels with lids. I also made 4 chicken proof mouse traps. They do a great job! They catch the big ones then the littler mice!

    -Nate
     
  3. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Can't you find thorns in bought hay and straw as well?

    Mice are part of the deal. Barn cats are great, although if the chickens ever catch on, they will eat them, too. At one point I had a rat problem. Just One Bite and my dogs cured it; no sign for a long time now.
     
  4. 95yj

    95yj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    can you cut/dry the grass in the quantity that you need it? Thats essentially what hay is, dry grass, and depending on the quality it can have any number of "weeds" and plants that shouldn't be there.
     
  5. OkChickens

    OkChickens Orpingtons Are Us

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    Quote:I haven't ever found thorns in straw, in hay I have before if its not good quality. Straw is from wheat, most farmers don't have weeds in there crops or harvests.

    -Nate
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Yes, you can use stuff you cut and dry yourself. HOWEVER the tricky part is getting and keeping it dry enough that it does not get moldy. Also it will take up more storage space than baled hay or straw (because you cannot compact it the way a baler does).

    I would suggest trying it but with maximum attention paid towards drying it super thoroughly before storing and then storing it in a way that will minimize chance of dampness problems (it needs to be able to 'breathe', don't plan on sealing it into bags or piling it up against a wall), and then see what happens. A lot depends on your particular situation. If you can get it to work well enough for you, great; but be prepared for the possibility that it may get fungusy and you may need to buy something after all.

    Note btw that most people consider hay/straw harder to spot-clean in a coop than shavings (not an issue if all your cleaning is total-cleanouts, of course) and the sort of material you'd be cutting (finer, like hay, not coarse like straw) is the sort of material from which some people have had issues with impacted crops. OTOH lots of people use hay without having problems.

    Personally I think the best way to economize on bedding is not necessarily to go for the 'free' stuff -- which can be very high maintenance and not necessarily work as well, although there are exceptions) -- but rather to devise management strategies that minimize bedding replacement PERIOD. Droppings boards, for instance, will save you a good bit of bedding.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  7. SandyK

    SandyK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lots of people use the pine chips because they don't mat down like the hay and straw do. Chickens seem to scratch through the chips and keep them turned. Easier to add the DE to chips and get it evenly distributed also.
     
  8. speedy2020

    speedy2020 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Can you share the chicken proof mouse trap? I would like to build a few myself.
     
  9. OkChickens

    OkChickens Orpingtons Are Us

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    I can't take a good picture but I used light very small hardware cloth. It is 3x8" the bottom and the top and the sides are hardware cloth. Both ends have a 1" opening. I wired it together and put a mouse trap.

    Found one!

    [​IMG]

    -Nate
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011
  10. maizey

    maizey Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you have access to pine trees, youre set. Ive used the dry fall pine straw ds raked and collected in October since. I still have one full bag and a half left. I plan on collecting more next year. It works great as litter and nest box material, its free and my 13 year old has to rake it up anyway so its the deal of the century as far as im concerned.
     

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