cedar wood chips yea or nay?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by micromike, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. micromike

    micromike New Egg

    Sep 9, 2010
    I have a abundunce of cedar wood chips will they be a problem ? It seems the choice is pine shavings, hopefully they will be fine! I'm trying the dlm maybe a combo. need all the help I can get, first winter with the girls!!
  2. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    Nay--you don't want the chickens to come in contact with the oil in cedar.
  3. Tdub4chiks

    Tdub4chiks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 8, 2010
    Constantia, NY
    Nay - I hear cedar chips are toxic to chickens.
  4. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

    Aug 25, 2008
    Nay. Such a concentration of cedar's aromatic oils can cause serious respiratory issues.
  5. RIBill

    RIBill Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2010
    I think it depends on what "cedar" means. Many woods are called cedar. I found at least one reference that said Port Orford Cedar (chamaecyparis) was not toxic. The other component to this is toxicity. I have read that cedar isn't an issue because it is toxic. The bigger issue is that it causes respiratory distress. I guess it's up to you. I too had access to large quantities of white cedar shavings but decided not to use them. It would probably be fine, but I don't want my birds to be casualties if it's not fine.
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Personally I think the danger of cedar bedding is oversold on this forum, there being little if any sign that people who DO bed with cedar shavings HAVE problems. Also note that commercial broiler barns sometimes use cedar as bedding, and they would not be doing it if it caused perceptible problems, although their birds are quite short-lived to begin with so I suppose more chronic problems could theoretically still occur.

    That said, there is enough *theoretical* reason to avoid cedar that I would not personally use it in an enclosed area. Outdoors or with mucho ventilation there is no particular concern that I know of. IMO if, when you use it, the place still smells like a cedar closet the next day, it may be iffy; but otherwise, probably unlikely to cause harm.

    Pine shavings are generally CHEAPER though - buy 'em from a feedstore in big bales, not from a pet store.

    Good luck, have fun,

  7. Mtn Cur

    Mtn Cur Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 5, 2010
    Seymour, Tn
    I've used both with no signs of good or bad. I would say the choice depends on how long you plan on keeping your chickens. I sell mine off (for meat) about every year and a half, so a chronic respiratory illness from cedar isn't a problem for me. If you want to keep them for a long period of time, pine might be a better bet.
  8. mulewagon

    mulewagon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 13, 2010
    I use the packaged cedar bedding from Wal-Mart or feed stores. I used to use it on the floor and in the nest boxes; now I just have a bare dirt floor with cedar in the nestboxes. The chickens are perfectly healthy - eleven hens produced ten eggs today, and they're bright-eyed, hungry, and active! And no sign of mites or lice (knock wood).

    Of course, my coop is minimally covered for winter, and is completely open in summer. So there's no concern about fumes. On the other hand, my chickens also eat the cedar sometimes (also privet, styrofoam, and all sort of undesireable things). Since they have plenty of real chicken food and bugs, they don't seem to eat enough of anything bad to harm them.
  9. LaurelRidgeDreams

    LaurelRidgeDreams Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2010
    Mountains of NC
    Nay for me. I think the oil in cedar is a little strong and may irritate eyes.
  10. Where The Wild Things Are

    Where The Wild Things Are Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 2, 2010
    Hmm, I have been using cedar shavings along with dry maple leaves as litter for a few months. The cedar is cheaper for me to buy and does not break down as easily as pine. I also thought the shavings helped keep the coop smelling fresher. Sounds like I need to stop by the feed store on my way home tonight. Ugh...trial and error. I have not seen any adverse affects, but these little girls are my pets. IMHO saving a few bucks is not worth the risk.

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