chickens eating lots of pine shavings, newspaper, straw, insulation!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by princess araucana, Nov 19, 2008.

  1. princess araucana

    princess araucana Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 18, 2008
    Rhode Island
    I had posted this in feeding watering, but think it might be more health related!

    I have 5 seven month old araucana(or EE) and they eat massive amounts of pine shavings and lots of other non-food material. They have free choice layer crumble as well as an oatmeal/ crumble mash I make for one with crossed beak. They eat so much pine shavings that some of their poo has "saw dust" in it! They also got at some pink foam insulation and were picking and swallowing it.
    I had removed shavings and tried newspaper, but they eat that too, also it is not as warm as shavings for winter.
    I removed the straw from nest boxes and just using shavings.
    I have (think it's a) rooster with pendulous crop from eating long grass so I am most worried about straw. At least the pine shavings pass!
    I had given them grit, but chicken with pendulous crop filled up too much on it so I removed. Main diet is layer crumble but Should be stones in run if they need.

    Has anyone experience with this? What will happen to the insulation they ate? How can I make them stop? Any other bedding options? They do have an outdoor run with dirt which I can not control. Crop impaction is big concern. Bird with large crop has been like that for over 4 months, skinny but otherwise healthy and poops.

    First time poster, hope i did it right, this is such a great site!!

    Thank you for your help!
  2. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    The simple answer is that styrofoam can kill birds. You must remove it or cover it in a way that the birds can't access it.

    I have questions though- what commercial diet are your birds following? And are they free-range? What's the setup?

    My birds will eat newspaper too so I don't use it.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2008
  3. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    I think to truly help we need more information. How many birds are there in how big of an area? It sounds like a nutritional problem to me. If there are too many and the run isn't big enough perhaps they have cleaned it of grit. You can buy a bag of pigeon grit and put it in your run. What brand of feed do you buy? Do they free feed or do you just give them some once or twice a day? And do cover any insulation they can get to, they will eat it and it is not good for them.
  4. Cuban Longtails

    Cuban Longtails Flock Mistress

    Sep 20, 2007
    Northeast Texas
    Styrofoam won't kill them. It passes right through unless they bite off some big hunk that get's stuck along the way.

    They do need access to grit (typically crushed granite) or small stones. You can toss it in their run or leave it in a dish.

    They could also be bored, which can be cured by adding new things like perches or tying a head of cabbage from an overhead beam for them to peck at. Also, try feeding them some fruits and veggies from time to time.
  5. princess araucana

    princess araucana Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 18, 2008
    Rhode Island
    Thanks for getting back to me.

    There are 5 birds, coop is a 6ft x 5ft floor A-frame with attached run which is 8ft x 12ft. The run floor is just ground, dirt, leaves etc.

    I give them Blue Seal layer crumble. They have a gravity feeder in the coop which is always full and available and protected from rain.
    Once a day in the morning I put out a big bowl of oatmeal/ layer mash for one bird with cross beak, everyone usually has some of that.
    A couple times a day I will fill a few small dishes outside with layer crumble.
    I had out out a bowl of grit, but have one bird with pendulous crop who ate way too much, and since main diet is layer crumble thought they might not need. Also they seem to dig up lots of dirt and pebbles.

    I have covered all insulation now (I thought I did a good job until I heard them find a secret spot of it!) They probably ate a few square inches! Will they be OK after eating it?

    Are they missing some nutrient? Should I feed different? How to make them stop?

    Thank you!
  6. katrinag

    katrinag Chillin' With My Peeps

    Have you tried letting them free range a couple hours a day?
    You can try a different feed also.
  7. princess araucana

    princess araucana Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 18, 2008
    Rhode Island
    i stopped letting them free range when a hawk swooped down on them, they were ok. But since we had our FIRST EGG!! yesterday, and they really do love roaming the yard I let them out under my watchful chicken mama eye for a couple hours and they are so happy!! makes me happy.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by