hay or wood shavings

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by omartorres, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. omartorres

    omartorres In the Brooder

    Nov 6, 2011
    hello what keeps chicks warmer hay or wood saving were i live is getting kind of chilli and i dont now witch one to buy:(

  2. D3invertebrates

    D3invertebrates Chirping

    Oct 6, 2011
    Brookshire, TX
    Id go with the hay.
  3. CrestedGirl

    CrestedGirl Polish Obsessed

    Mar 7, 2011
    Fort Worth, Tx
    Shavings, chickens can get an impacted crop from hay.
    And [​IMG] So glad you joined us [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
  4. Stephanie739

    Stephanie739 Songster

    Oct 7, 2011
    I like hay. It is cheaper and easier for me to clean. I don't know which is warmer, hay or shavings. I would guess whichever one you can use the most of (for me that is hay, probably close to a foot deep in some areas)

    I have learned (recently) that moldy hay is very toxic to the chickens, so I can't let it get wet. I used to use hay to help keep the mud under control in the run but I'm going to try sand for that now. I experimented with pine shavings and the deep litter method, but my chicks are only in the coop while sleeping (at this point anyway) The only area that really gets dirty is right under the roosts. It is easy to scoop up the hay and discard it, very cheap too. I've always used hay in the nesting areas.
  5. crazyhen

    crazyhen Crowing

    Aug 26, 2008
    mtns of ,NC.
    Please do not use hay. It often has minute bits of mold which could be deadly to chicks. also it compacts and if on top of a dirt floor works into it and is almost impossible to remove. [​IMG] Gloria Jean
  6. Stephanie739

    Stephanie739 Songster

    Oct 7, 2011
    Quote:Another issue to watch out for with hay! Thank you for sharing.
  7. ScottyHOMEy

    ScottyHOMEy Songster

    Jun 21, 2011
    Waldo County, Maine
    I won't go into all the detail I did on another post a few nights ago but, if stalks are preferable to shavings for handling or other reasons, use straw, not hay.

    Straw is a bedding. Hay is a feed.

    Straw is what is left over after a small-grain plant has matured, leaving the stalks dry and depleted after carrying all the nutrients from the ground to the grain head. It makes for a VERY poor feed, if you can even find any creature that will eat it. But, being stalks, it does fluff up like hay and can make an excellent bedding that all manner of creatures can burrow into or rearrange/fluff up to their own liking and comfort.

    They can do the same with hay, if they don't find it palatable, but hay is cut while the plant is still growing at its peak for nutrients in the stalks and grain heads. At that point, it is also full of water. Once cut, it begins to decay as the remaining moisture and sugars/starches . . . interact without either being renewed from the roots. The best hay for feed purposes will be that that can be dried quickly and baled. The baling removes all but the outside of the bale from exposure to air, slowing considerably the process of decay until the bale is opened for feeding, at which point it will be eaten before it decays much further.

    Left out uneaten, the decay will begin again. So there's one opening for mold to start. Add moisture to it, and it will decay more quickly, as the nutrients are still there, and if dense enough, (packed, for instance, under the feet of the flock) it will mold.

    Keeping it dry? That's more than keeping the rain off of it. Chicken droppings (my niece used to call them cackledoodles after being scolded for using a more common barnyard term just once) are heavy on moisture and have all manner of nutrients and chemicals in them that can serve to accelerate the decay/mold challenge, as their moisture soaks into the hay, which will readily absorb the moiture to continue it's own self-digestive chemistry.

    To my mind, bedding with hay is about as efficient as bedding with the shavings your neighbor cleaned out of his own coop.

    Again, if, like Stephanie, you find a bedding of stalks easier to handle than shavings, or prefer the fluff/bulk of that kind of bedding for its potential warmth, straw will be a far better choice than hay.

  8. jess_yip84

    jess_yip84 In the Brooder

    Nov 9, 2011
    Pollock Pines
    I suggest straw. I live in a chilly region, and filling my coop with lots of straw in the snowy months seems to keep the girls plenty warm. I have also added shavings at times, mostly just to the laying boxes, and the girls seemed to enjoy scratching in it. Probably not the warmest though.

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