Good (and cheap) alternative to wood shavings?


Sparkle Magnet
May 6, 2009
Akron, Ohio
I was planning on buying a big bag of shavings (a once-a year event, since i only use them right before big shows to keep my show birds on) now a bag runs for about $20 at petsmart. It wouldnt have been that big of a deal for us, but today our fam had to unexpectedly drop $500 on new brakes for our car. Now my dad says we have to penny-pinch until next payday, in about a week and a half. By the it will be too late to put the birds in, because they need 6 weeks on the shavings when their feathers are growing in(i pull broken feathers about 6 weeks before any shows)
Whats a good (and inexpensive) alternative?
What about newspaper? These are full grown chickens?

Paper towels?

Does it have to be fluffy material?

Find an alternative store to buy shavings. If by big bag you mean a 3.5 cu ft or so $20 is a lot. Do you have feed stores? It's been a while since I purchased shavings, DH did the buying recently, but the prices should be about $6. That's what we pay. Hope this helps!
Don't use newspaper on show birds. The ink will smear off on their feathers.

I pay $6 for a 7 cu. ft. bale of pine shavings at the feed store. Heck, even walmart sells the 5 cu. ft. bales of pine shavings for around $8.

If even that is out of reach, check around for local woodworking shops. See if they have any sawdust or shavings you can buy cheap or even free. Just be sure they aren't using cedar, although I doubt cedar would hurt a grown chicken in a well ventilated area.
Tractor Supply sells a big ol' bale of 'em for $6 or so.

I've been thinking of making wood chips with a chipper and using that, but I think I'll need to put together a 'drying house' for them, a drying house is a good idea anyway, since at various times I need to dry walnuts, corn, squash seeds, etc. And I may look into cutting my own hay or straw and drying that.

Oh geez, I'm tired from building this big coop I just did, now I guess I need to build a drying house. But first, I want to build this cat feeding station thingie.
Tanichca, O.K. Feeds (Ft. Lowell and Dodge) has shavings for ~$9-11 for a 2 or 3 cubic ft. bag (I can't remember the size and the price varies), but I think it is much larger than the one at Petsmart. Two of those big bags last me an entire year. Since we don't have a Tractor Supply or many leaves, we have fewer options here in the desert. However, a few days ago it occurred to me that I would use dried fountain grass if I no longer had access to pine shavings (as I was trimming all the fountain grass in the yard). It is everywhere and dry as could be right now. It would take some work to collect it, but it will certainly work in a pinch.

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