Cedar shavings toxic?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by turtlynne, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. turtlynne

    turtlynne Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 2, 2009
    I have read the info on coop maintenance/floor material(s)here and do not find an answer - recently came across mention elsewhere that cedar shavings are toxic to chickens...my flock seems to be fine with its use and it keeps down odors and bugs...but should I switch to something else? Do not want to make them sick![​IMG] Thanx for any answers!
  2. LiLRedCV

    LiLRedCV Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 25, 2010
    Land of the Rain
    I used untreated cedar to build the nest box frames and roosting bars because it's more pest/rot resistant. But for the flooring, I have a cheap linoleum down with 3" of mixed pine shavings and shredded paper. If the coop is not properly ventilated, the fumes from the cedar can overwhelm your flock and/or cause respiratory issues.
  3. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    Cedar fumes can also cause liver damage, in addition to respiratory problems. The worst time to use cedar shavings is in a brooder. Shavings off gas more than solid wood, chicks are right at the surface, usually sleeping with their faces right on the litter and brooders are designed to eliminate drafts and airflow right at the surface of the floor. That is all a very bad combination.

    I don't think a handful of cedar in the bottom of a nest box only being used for laying, in a well ventilated coop, should cause trouble. I wouldn't use it as the litter in my own coop.
  4. 6chickens in St. Charles

    6chickens in St. Charles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    St. Charles, IL
    Yes, it can cause respiratory burns and pain, even in people, and we're MUCH larger than the chickens. I like the smell of cedar. Maybe mix 10% or less of cedar chips to reduce the burning oils in the air? Especially if you're in a winter climate where the birds will be enclosed with the fumes for days at a time?

    Our birds (and one son) developed wheezes and swollen eyes but checked clean for respiratory illnesses like IB and gapeworm, etc. That was a little expensive to check out. Once the cedar chips were removed it was like magic, everybody was fine in a day or two.

    Presently I have discovered that mixing overgrown mint from the garden into the pine chips smells nice, too. I don't currently use any cedar as I am certain our birds react to it. Along with their black feathers, I have just gotten used to the salt-n-pepper look of white pine chips mixed with dark green dried mint leaves and chicken poops as their coop litter.

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