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Feeding grass/hay to chickens and ducks

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by girls and guineas, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. girls and guineas

    girls and guineas Songster

    Nov 30, 2011
    northern GA
    Is it okay to feed chickens and ducks hay/grass?? I read somewhere that they shouldn't have pieces longer than 2". Something about getting caught in their crops??? I was thinking about using hay for bedding if it's not too expensive. The straw I've been getting is clumped together, like glued, and the chickens can't/don't scratch it apart, so the poo just stays on top and makes a mess!! It's hard to pull it apart!!!

  2. Catfish267

    Catfish267 Chirping

    Dec 26, 2012
    I Don't Remember
    They might pick through it but I never heard of them eating it.
  3. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    If it is fine stemmed grass hay some chickens will eat it, especially if they haven't seen it before. If they gobble down to much there is a danger of impacted crop. When my chickens are young and first go out in the barn they are fascinated by the hay we feed the goats and they want to gobble it up. So I try to keep it picked up until they get over their interest. After that they only scratch through it.

    Have you considered shavings in the coop?
  4. girls and guineas

    girls and guineas Songster

    Nov 30, 2011
    northern GA
    Are wood shavings more expensive?? Does it take a lot more to cover the floor/ground?? Are they as absorbent?? My chickens want to eat them when I've used them in small containers. Seems like the wood shavings get in their food more, and when they spill their food, is it harder to find the food in the wood shavings??
  5. appps

    appps Crowing

    Aug 29, 2012
    I have the longer stem pieces type of straw in their run and they don't eat it at all.

    I did put some Lucerne hay around when they were young and they ate some of that.

    In my coop I have wood shavings, the type you buy as a compressed bale for pets bedding. They don't eat it and its easy to rake to turn the droppings under to keep the smell away.
    When they were younger I had more problems with it getting in waterers. Now they are older I can put waterers up high enough it isn't an issue.

    I also suspect chickens are a bit like people. Just like babies like to stick everything in their mouths young chicks eat stuff adults will ignore.
    If food gets spilt the just scratch through and eat the food. Some people even throw food in to encourage them to do the turning of the shavings for them.

    In the long run its not really that expensive. Because you scratch the poop under you only have to replace or top up once or twice a year compared to something like straw where it sits on top so you have to pull it out and replace more often.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2013

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