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Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by leecey411, Jan 14, 2008.
Can I use hay for bedding my six week old silkie chicks?
I've got my 3.5 - 4 week old chicks on it, they love it! They're discovering that the grass seeds are edible.
A word of caution:
We had our chickens in a bed of straw and one of our EE's ate some. The results could have been deadly. See "Crop Operation How To" Her crop became jammed with the hay because chickens cannot digest it. She rapidly lost weight and her poo became like water and smelt foul. I would strongly caution you to go with pine shavings instead. (the dust in cedar shavings often cause respiratory problems) Jess
Quote:Was it hay or straw?
We've never had an issue with hay (good thing given our barn is covered in it from the goats. I'm talking quality grass hay, though, not straw. Chickens can digest good hay just like grass provided they drink well. Under all that hay are pine shavings. We've had crop issues from the shavings but never from hay.
I've also heard/read warnings against using shavings with chicks because of crop problems. Mine are bedded on Timothy laid over shavings, they just started eating the seed heads but haven't tried to eat the stems yet that I've seen.
Probably depends on the birds and situation. I free range most my bids and they show no interest in eating hay, straw, or alfalfa, with the exception of the seed heads. However, if I am keeping in a group for breeding purposes, I do catch a few scarfing down pieces of hay from the runafter they have been cooped up for a few weeks and have picked any grass in the run to death.
That said, I've always used old hay and straw as bedding, and have yet to come across an impacted crop. This is in a span of 10 years and probably a couple hundred birds. However it is a good thing to be aware of in case it does happen. As if it does, you have to act quick if it gets bad.
Would grit help them keep from getting impacted?
Grit is probably a good preventive measure. Mine all have free access to about 8 tons of gravel spread over the ground where they often travel, and their coop floors are all dirt. Of course they don't need 8 tons, a cup or two in a free choice rabbit feeder would be just fine.
That's how I have mine, in a hopper. But DH is INSISTING that we use straw instead of pine bedding (same price, really) in the coop and nest boxes...Just had to ask!