Hardwood Mulch in Run is it ok?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by DixieDame67, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. DixieDame67

    DixieDame67 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I found a great sale on Hardwood Mulch, bought 10 bags, can i put this in the run for the chickens, I figured the mulch would keep mositure luring in bugs etc for the girls to scratch and find...I know cedar is toxic to chickens, no ingredients on the bag, i put some around some fall mums and did not smell any cedar do you think it will be ok to put in the run? Thanks for any suggestions
     
  2. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Personally I don't think its a good idea because some of the mulch would have jagged edges that can cut their feet when digging around in it. Those cuts can turn into bumblefoot which is a staph infection and a real chore to get rid of sometimes. You wind up having to do surgery on the chickens foot to get the "core" of infection out. I'd use sand if I were you [​IMG]
     
  3. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

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    I use wood chips/mulch and have had very good luck with it. I buy it locally for $15/yard or make my own with my chipper. It works great for everything and composts down to a rich layer of soil after a year or two.

    Woodchips generally do not contain jagged edges. The chipping process eliminates them and once the chips get wet the soften up. Thorns are more often the cause of bumblefoot.
     
  4. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The mulch we get here is very jagged, maybe it varies from state to state [​IMG]
     
  5. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

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    Quote:The way it's processed and the type of tree it's from would make a difference.
     
  6. DixieDame67

    DixieDame67 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I opened a bag to put around some mums, and actually it's very soft...I think i will try it, I am fixing to till down the run and I will try half straw and half mulch, I just thought mulch would attract more bugs and worms for them a treat....Thanks for your input
     
  7. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

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    Make sure there is no cedar in it as cedar is bad for chickens.

    I'm sure they will like the mulch. Chickens love to play and scratch in the mulch and there have been many flower beds ravaged by a chicken. [​IMG]
     
  8. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    Mine free range right now and they love the bagged mulch that I put in my flower beds. I use all different grades, big - small, hard - soft. They dive right in. Also we have a HUGE thorn issue here in Idaho, they call them goat heads they puncture bike tires, my girls wade right through those too. I've never had bumble foot and hope to heavens we don't get it, but I don't think it comes from wood mulch.
    Now straw . . . yuck! I tried that in the beginning, what a stinky slimy mess!
     
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Hardwood is a bit more apt to mold than softwood (conifer), but in most cases a run is airy and exposed enough for this to not be a problem. Otherwise, it should be safe for the chickens (personally I'd avoid walnut and butternut but they're very unlikely to be in your mulch and I am not sure there is any documented problem with those species with chickens, it's just that they cause enough problems with other livestock to make me suspicious.)

    Any kind of wood chips/bark/mulch will gradually break down into a stinky organic mess, same as straw or shavings only a lot slower, so a day may come when you want to change it out (but that may not be for a long time, depending).

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  10. muddstopper

    muddstopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are we talking hardwood bark mulch or just groundup hardwood chips. Hardwood chips are usually derived from used pallet material that is process thru a hammer mill. Nothing wrong with it except it can, and most likely does contain bits and pieces of nails used in the pallet construction. How this would effect the birds if they injested it, I dont know.

    Hardwood bark mulch is the bark removed form the trees during lumber processing at saw mills. This material makes excellent mulch material and should have no adverse effect if used in a chicken run. Think of the hardwood bark as ramial wood which contains over 70% of all the nutrients contained in a tree. When mixed with chicken poop, it should degrade fast to provide excellent potting soil, and instead of a sticky mess, should degrade down to actuall topsoil. One disadvantage I might forsee would be the holding of excess moisture. Bark mulch is like a sponge, soaking up water and not drying out unless adequant ventilation is provided. I suspect the chickens would keep it stirred up enough so that it would air out and stay dry.

    Do a search for composting companies. I know there is at least one somewhere in the north east that free ranges chickens in their compost piles. The poop and constant scratching of the chickens helps speed up the composting process.
     

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