"CEDAR" coops question #482

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by EvansCedarBeehives, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. EvansCedarBeehives

    EvansCedarBeehives Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 7, 2011
    I know the topic of "is cedar ok for coops" has been covered a million times here. I have searched the forums with no luck as far as determining what kinds of cedar (actual or otherwise) is "bad" for chickens.

    I planned to make coops out of Eastern White Cedar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thuja_occidentalis, which is really a false cypress) and would like to know if there is any information regarding the so-called toxic fumes that emit from various types of wood.

    I have seen cedar coops (not sure what kind) but can't understand how they are made/sold if they kill chickens.

    Any insight is appreciated.

    Last edited: Oct 7, 2011
  2. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    Cedar is fine once it off-gasses an is well ventilated. Its freshly chipped cedar bedding and/or no ventilation that makes it an issue. If it has a strong smell of cedar inside it may be an issue but if you have to stick your nose to the boards to smell it it should be fine.
  3. rpchris

    rpchris Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 27, 2011
    Saint Louis, MO
    It is the scented oils in cedar that are apparently harmful to chickens and many other animals. These oils are easily released in cedar shavings and become a problem in small brooders or coops with poor ventilation. The oils damage the respiratory systems of young birds and can either kill them if they are already weaken, or lead to reduced immunity to other diseases. I've even read that it is the combination of the cedar and ammonia gases that lead to some other toxic gas being generated.

    If you spend any time researching this on the interweb you will find much conflicting information on just how much cedar is acceptable and in what forms. Everyone has a different opinion.

    Solid cedar boards should emit less oil than shavings because of the reduced surface area. Your coop will also hopefully be well ventilated thereby reducing any high-concentrations of built up oils. So you will probably be fine, if you are really concerned you could either line the inside of the coop with a non-cedar paneling or prime and paint the inside to further insulate the chicken from the cedar.

    I assume you want to use cedar on the exterior for rot and bug resistance?
  4. EvansCedarBeehives

    EvansCedarBeehives Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 7, 2011
    To eliminate most (if not all) fumes, if necessary, I was considering lining the interior with a very thin Luan or other type of plywood thereby "sealing" the interior from the exposed white cedar walls/roof. I think the floor may be plywood but if not, and it is cedar as well, I would line the floor with the same.


    Edit: RPCHRIS, I just read your post after posting mine. YES! I am thinking the cedar will be VERY durable to the elements as are my hives. However, seeing as the interior is not exposed to such elements, I too thought lining it with a thin plywood my do the trick.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2011
  5. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    I would just use a sealer on the inside. Even paint. That should keep it from off gassing inside the coop.
  6. Capvin

    Capvin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2011
    Lake Placid, FL
    Cedar boards for the construction of a coop would be just fine without doing anything else to it. The fumes from most cedar will be gone by the time you are finished construction and besides, there is so much conflicting opinions regarding cedar shavings vs pine that I am thinking that it is probably a distiction without a difference. Cedar for a coop is a great idea....expensive...but great for durability and looks.
  7. hannakat

    hannakat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 5, 2010
    Beaver County, PA
    We used a cedar dog house from Lowes....chickens love it and hasn't affected their health. It's cedar SHAVINGS that are dangerous, not cedar lumbar/siding/boards.

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