Hay as brooder bedding?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Storybook Farm, Mar 4, 2016.

  1. Storybook Farm

    Storybook Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm on day 19 of my first hatch (though i raised chicks last year that were 2 wks old when I got them). I set up my brooder with mini pine shavings, but have been reading here about baby chicks and the danger of ingesting shavings. People mentioned alternatives like newspaper, corn cob bedding, and paper towels.

    I wondered: What about using hay? I have a surplus here because of the warm winter. Any downside to it?
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2016
  2. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

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    Hi,

    Why don't you cover the shavings with paper towels for a day or 2? Once they are really walking well, eating well and drinking well, the shavings aren't a problem. (Haven't been a problem with my hatches at least.)

    Hay might be unstable to learn how to walk on, and might not be that absorbent. Would work fine as they get bigger though.

    Good luck with your hatch!
     
  3. Chkinkeeper7474

    Chkinkeeper7474 Out Of The Brooder

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    I always used pine shavings,never had any side effects. I also have used hay. Its actually easier to clean out but just kinda hard for the young chicks to move around in.
     
  4. Storybook Farm

    Storybook Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks!
     
  5. Storybook Farm

    Storybook Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 5, 2015
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    I was mostly trying to avoid the expense of paper towels...
     
  6. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

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    I used OR towels once (kind of like dishtowels) over shavings for a day. Luckily they don't poop much the first day or so. [​IMG]
     
  7. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    No downside to it at all...they actually get better footing and snuggle into the hay well. I favor natural material way more than paper towels and such. I usually brood on the same mix of materials I use for the deep litter in my coop because I'm usually brooding right in the coop. Using some of the material out of your coop bedding can give your chicks a good exposure to the germs in your flock and coop right when they need them the most...this is usually accomplished by exposure to the mother hen.

    If you use the large flake pine shavings, that's an option too....too big for them to pick at and ingest.

    Hope your hatch does well, Marcia! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2016
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  8. Storybook Farm

    Storybook Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 5, 2015
    Sugar Grove, WV
    My Coop

    That's what I was thinking, and also remembering that last summer's chicks loved to peck at hay seeds, and chase each other with greener fronds. I think I'll give it a try!

    Bee: my Chez Poulez coop was great all winter! Thanks for all the advice and hand holding last fall!
     
  9. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    That's great news! [​IMG]
     
  10. Storybook Farm

    Storybook Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 5, 2015
    Sugar Grove, WV
    My Coop
    Using some of the material out of your coop bedding can give your chicks a good exposure to the germs in your flock and coop right when they need them the most...this is usually accomplished by exposure to the mother hen.   :frow   
    [/quote

    Bee: from day 1? No need to allow chicks to gain ... idk... strength before meeting germs, even with no momma hen?
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2016

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