Does hay vs. straw in brooder make a difference?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Don B, Jun 28, 2007.

  1. Don B

    Don B In the Brooder

    Jun 17, 2007
    I am glad I came in and read the posts about cedar shavings being bad. I just set up the brooder for my first chicks coming in tomorrow, and I was about to dump a bag of cedar in there! We have easy access to hay locally (I think it is alfafa or bahaia). Would this work as well as straw? What is the difference???
  2. bawade

    bawade Hatching

    Apr 27, 2007
    hay will rot and get a rotten smell. Straw is what most farmers bed with, straw is hollow and allows moisture to soak in unlike hay. But I do use grass hay in the nesting boxes, they dont seem to scratch it out as bad. Seems more natural to them I think.
  3. wren

    wren Songster

    May 27, 2007
    St Augustine, FL
    The birds tend to eat hay, and it may get stuck in their crop. Or if they manage to pass it, it might get stuck coming out. Ever had a simular dog experience? I don't know why, but chickens don't seem to eat straw. Maybe the color and fiber content? I've never used straw for baby chicks. I think it would be a little tough for them to traverse. I don't know what bahaia is.

    Some people use paper towels with rubbermaid shelf liner over the top so the chicks don't get spaddle legs. Or maybe you could use old bath towels and wash wash wash![​IMG]
  4. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

    Mar 7, 2007
    Mount Airy, NC
    Hay is not as absorbent as straw and will also go moldy much quicker. Stick with pine shavings or a good, quality wheat or oat straw.
  5. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    Chicks are really small and also really uncoordinated at first. I also think it would be a lot harder for them to get around in a coarse bedding. They have trouble just getting around on a flat surface and fall over trying to eat and drink while bending down. Is there any way you could get some pine or aspen shavings? At least in the beginning?

    People usually put paper towels over the bedding the first couple of days, until the chicks get used to what is food and what isn't, also. It keeps them from eating the bedding and getting an impacted crop. I only raised a few chicks this year, so I didn't even put the shavings in the first couple of days. I just used the paper towels. This might get you by the first day, until you could get to a feed or pet store for other shavings. Just another option, if you aren't brooding 100. [​IMG]
  6. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    I'm curious here (since I'm a total newbie) about using straw. I've read that it's not a good idea since it is hollow and can be a "hiding" place for mites and other tiny creatures.

    Is that true or is that only if you have older chickens living on the straw or ???
  7. Don B

    Don B In the Brooder

    Jun 17, 2007
    Thanks, everyone! I went with the pine shavings. See my post "New Cheeps are here!"

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