Does anyone make their own wood chips for bedding? How about dryness?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by HorseFeathers, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. HorseFeathers

    HorseFeathers Frazzled

    Apr 2, 2008
    Southern Maine
    We'll be cutting down a couple of trees at our new house and one of them is a pine. Seems a waste to just dispose of those branches when we're pauing $5/bag for pine shavings! Has anyone used "homemade" chips? If so, how do you dry them out and keep them dry enough for chicken bedding?

    I suppose we could also just chip them and use them for path mulch in the new garden if they're too damp for chicken bedding.
  2. Chicabee19

    Chicabee19 Songster

    Aug 8, 2008
    We received a load of just-chipped from the city. It grew so much mold that it made me and a neighbor sick. It killed the huge Coy and Goldfish another neighbor had in a pond near the pile.

    It took almost 6 months for my health to get back to normal (for me anyway).
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2008
  3. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    If you have a small amount you can spread them out in the sun to air dry and bake. Then when they are no longer damp stick them in some open topped containers out of the weather for a week or 2 to finish curing and they should be useable. Large amounts are more difficult. You can't really spread them out thin enough to dry all the way through so they can take a month or 2 to cure and then there's the logistics of long term storage. It's best not to try it. You could probably keep enough to fill your coop once or your brooders a couple times depending on their size and then I'd get rid of the rest. The only time we've had luck handling large amounts of fresh pine shavings were when we filled the stalls in fall a month before we were actually putting the horses up. So the shavings could be spread out across the stalls and left to dry and cure for a month before using.
  4. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Songster

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    We have a wood furnace, so we've been out cutting firewood. We bring the logs home in 8 foot lengths and then cut them down to size at home. As long as the shavings aren't damp, we rake them up and put them in bags to use as litter. We don't stick to pine either, we have a bit of everything in there.

    We don't let the shavings cure. We've put fresh shavings into the chicken and duck coops before without a problem.
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    If you are going to need mulch anyhow I would have the pines chipped for *that*, not for bedding. For a lot of reasons, including that it will be hard to dry that much chips or shavings (they will be very resin-y straight from the tree and it would not be a super idea to use them that way) and keep them dry.

    A chipped-up live tree is different than firewood or workshop shavings, which are already fairly dry.

    If you have more chippings than you know what to do with, let them sit in a big mound for a good while and they will compost down into wonderful soil amendment on the inside and still-good-for-mulch on the outside of the pile [​IMG] Or, dump them a foot deep over top of some cardboard or wet newspapers on your future garden site (right on top of the weeds or grass or whatever) and leave it that way til spring, then rake off the upper uncomposted layers and till/dig the rest into the soil for your garden!

    Have fun,

    Pat, gradually working thru a large pile that was 2 mature poplar trees before the tree service chipped 'em up -- and BOY is it great to have an essentially infinite supply of mulch! [​IMG] I am using the shreds from stump-grinding as broiler chick bedding but would not do it again unless necessary.

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