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Hay or Alfalfa Bales for warmth?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by PandCo, Dec 14, 2016.

  1. PandCo

    PandCo In the Brooder

    Oct 17, 2016
    Eau Claire, WI
    Hi everyone,

    Tonight I was watching my Australorp fluff up in the corner again by the oyster shells as shown in the picture when I saw that she started dumping the shells everywhere and looked as if she were trying to get the container unhinged from the hardware cloth.

    This got me thinking, was she doing this to make more of a "shelter"? And would bales of hay or alfalfa or straw be a good idea to add to my run for them to get warm next to? We live in Wisconsin and the temps have really been dropping lately. I wonder if this would add to their comfort and warmth. Our run is enclosed with plastic to ensure that the nasty winds don't get to the girls.

    I have read the potential dangers of impacted crop and whatnot when chickens have access to hay or straw in particular. Is there and alternate to this that wouldn't be harmful to them?


  2. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Crowing

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    I use hay and straw because it's what I have plenty of on hand. It will provide insulation from the cold ground, help absorb the moisture from the poop and if you do it right it will put off a little heat as it breaks down. I'll also use free wood chips and leaves if I can find them. They will pick through the hay and straw searching for seeds and dried bugs. I give them alfalfa for some green and the stems get left behind for bedding. I've never had a problem with it.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2016

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