Cotton for base bedding


In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 26, 2010
Dallas, Texas
I collected some leftover cotton from the field next to us and am wondering if that would be ok to place in the bedding of the nests. The main reason I'm concerned is because of all of the seeds in the cotton. Would the chickens try to eat them? I tried to clean them out but it was a royal pain! The cotton would be so nice an soft for them to nest in - along with the hay. Suggestions anyone?

I don't know why it would hurt them if they did eat the seeds. Do you know them to be poisonous or anything?

They will probably at least peck at the seeds a little, but if it's nice and soft, maybe you could try it in one nest box and see how they like it. Sounds comfy to me.
Thank you, Beth! I think I will try the cotton now and see how they react. 4 of the chickens have laid eggs today but I have some afternoon layers. I'll let them try it out.
Cotton is one of the most chemically treated crops there is; unless you are very knowledgeable about pesticides and antifolliants used on it, (preferably knowing htat they were NOT used), I would not risk it at all. Pretty sure untreated cotton seed is toxic, too. I have not googled to verify about the seed, but these are the concerns that jump to mind. I would do a LOT of research before even considering it.
I found this small bit of information that might be helpful to you.

It is generally considered that pig and poultry diets should not contain more than 100 mg free gossypol/kg and that inclusions of cottonseed meal should be between 50-100 kg/t of feed. Particular care is required with laying hens since comparatively low levels of the meal may cause an olive green discoloration of the yolk in storage. An associated pink discoloration of the albumen is now considered to be due to cyclopropenoids and not gossypol as was once thought. Treatment with ferrous sulphate can ameliorate the biological effects of gossypol; the amount of iron to be added is largely empirical. To reduce the effects of gossypol on growth, the following proportions of iron to free gossypol have been used: for cattle 1:1, for broilers 2:1, for layers 4:l and for pigs 1:1.

Mature ruminant animals do not show ill-effects even when they consume large quantities of cottonseed meal but young cattle are much more susceptible to its toxic effects.

Based only on that, i wouldn't be worried, but that's me.

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