Hay for bedding

davef72

In the Brooder
Mar 2, 2015
82
6
41
East Texas
It is common or do any of you recommend using hay as bedding in your chicken coop?

I got a book for Christmas about chickens, and the author said straw was good but chickens would eat hay and it may get stuck in their gizzard. This could potentially cause gizzard impaction?

I've seen some hay in their poop recently as well. This concerns me. Should it?

I noticed my dozen eight weeks old chicks all have a slight bulge in their left breast. Am I paranoid? Is that their crop?

Sorry about all questions. 1st time owner & want to make this successful.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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I give mine hay to pick through and eat, I've never had any trouble, been doing it for almost 20 years. It keeps them busy and gives them greens throughout our long winters.
 

davef72

In the Brooder
Mar 2, 2015
82
6
41
East Texas
@oldhenlikesdogs

I'm glad to hear that. I didn't think it was an issue; until I read this book. I have noticed they scratch through it looking for insects. Especially my two Americauna & Golden Comets.
Thanks for the peace of mind. I have wood shavings I'm saving for their nesting boxes when they get ready to lay eggs.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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I have read that over and over too, I have never had any crop issues in any birds, my chickens are quite healthy and I think hay adds a lot to their diet, I have read the same sort of stuff about grass clippings too, and I feed those too. I figure the chickens know what they are doing.
 

davef72

In the Brooder
Mar 2, 2015
82
6
41
East Texas
@oldhenlikesdogs

I feed them plenty of veggie scraps from my table. Celery, lettuce, cabbage. What's the difference? Glad to hear this news. I can rest easier tonight. Thanks again.
 
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oldhenlikesdogs

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Celery lettuce and cabbage are pretty low in nutrients and calories, my hay contains grasses and weeds like dandelion, and plantain and like yours a few stray bugs, a bit more nutrients, plus I'm feeding it to my other critters so it's cost efficient for me, but I do throw out all household scraps too, sounds like yours get a well rounded diet too. And the bulge in your chicks chest is the crop, they are eating well.
 

red horse ranch

Crowing
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Jan 24, 2014
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Hay is okay to use as long as it doesn't get wet! Moldy hay will cause lung problems which can be fatal to chicks and chickens. I learned this the hard way with my first batch of hatchery chicks a long time ago. Less than half of the chicks survived. I still use hay occasionally but it is changed often and if it gets wet it is removed immediately.

I like to give my adult poultry alfalfa hay. Scratching in it gives them something to do when confined and most of the stems are too big for them to eat and get stuck in their craw.
wink.png
 

davef72

In the Brooder
Mar 2, 2015
82
6
41
East Texas
@JetCat Thanks for the information. I appreciate the expertise. Rookie here, gets nervous when it comes to my girls. I want to do right by them. Make sure they are healthy and all.
 

howfunkyisurchicken

Crowing
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Apr 11, 2011
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I use hay as well, and have for years (and grass clippings when I have them, they make the coop smell wonderful). Never had a problem and its a lot cheaper then shavings for me :)

I also use leaves when they start dropping in the fall. The mixture of hay, grass clippings, leaves and sticks makes great deep litter that turns into awesome compost for my garden!
 
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