Hay/Pine Shavings, neither works for me...Am I S.O.L.?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by m.kitchengirl, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. m.kitchengirl

    m.kitchengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So... I love, love, love my chickens, ducks, and BYC.
    I come to you, to humbly ask for guidance.

    I love hay for my coops and runs, for stacking as insulation. Problem? I am SUPER allergic. Hives, asphyxia, I can barely see allergic. Shame too, it is easier to clean up in the yards and is great mulch for my garden.

    I want to love pine shavings more. They keep it SO much drier - especially in quack shack. I have read that they add a lot of light, fluffy texture to a compost bin or heap. I just really hate the mess they make in the yards. I use tractor style housing for both enclosures and have an enclosed yard for them that they range in during the day. The area around their coops is littered with pine shavings. I have tried lining the area with tarps, creating giant pans to rake the coops over. No amount of raking keeps the yard clear of them.

    I think I prefer hives, and will go back to hay today, if I must. I have read the books, but I wanted to hear from people with experience as well, and y'all are fonts of great advice.
     
  2. ChickInDelight

    ChickInDelight Never an Empty Nest

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    What about straw? And are you allergic to a particular hay such as alfalfa?

    I would expect straw to have less alergins.
     
  3. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How about sand in the coop and threaded paper for nest?
     
  4. m.kitchengirl

    m.kitchengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How about sand in the coop and threaded paper for nest?

    I have been thinking sand, but wondered about how easy it is to move the tractor with sand. I have a wood floor for 2/3 of the run - the coop is suspended from roof - and a 1/4" hardware cloth area of floor under the feed & waterers. When I move the tractor & yard, will the sand get everywhere like the shavings?

    What about straw? And are you allergic to a particular hay such as alfalfa?

    I have thought about buying the bagged alfalfa at the feed store but it is $18.00 for 4 days of cleaning coops.

    I'm not sure what kind of hay I have gotten. The farmers around me bring the stereotype of the stoic Maine farmer, hardened by cold weather and hard winters to life for my kids & I. It can be a little bit scary, a little bit comical.

    Thank goodness for BYC.

    It is my first year in this area and most people seem to do business by word of mouth here. I found hay on CL a couple of times in July but lately all of the people posting are in Northern Maine, about 4 hours from me.​
     
  5. Nostalchic

    Nostalchic Chillin' With My Peeps

    I am also very allergic to hay; a "hay allergy" is actually an allergy to the grass pollen in the hay when it is baled while the grass is flowering (early summer), but we have horses so have had to find a way around that. I've found that 2nd or 3rd cutting hay, at least here in Colorado, has almost no flowering grass in it and thus no pollen, and I can handle it with no problem. So that might be one possibility, ask around for that. Any local hay producer will know what cutting s/he has, some horse people want a particular cutting for various reasons. The other thing is, we use a coarse sawdust as bedding, which we get from a local sawmill, rather than the fluffy baled shavings that a lot of people use. This stuff is great - we use if for horse bedding also. It's cheap, it breaks down in compost very quickly, and if it blows around it doesn't look messy like the shavings do. It's also super easy to clean up the coop - I use a fine-tined manure fork every morning to pick it out, and almost never have to replace the bedding itself. So you might try to find a source for that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011
  6. TeamChaos

    TeamChaos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2009
    I understand not having a lot of rapport with the local guys- I talk too much and refer to my animals by name around here- two big no-nos:D

    I wonder if you'd do better asking for OLD hay- a lot of times farmers have old stuff that hasn't been rained on (don't fall for wet hay!) but has spent a season in the barn and is too broken down for feed purposes.

    Landscape places might have chop straw around you, and they'll want to close out about this time of year.

    I've tried shredded paper and the stuff that blew out into the yard took forever to break down so it looked like I mowed over litter. [​IMG]

    I am allergic to pine shavings, but I wear a mask and gloves and use it anyway because it's life beyond the coop is valuable on the farm.
     
  7. soccerbabiesmama

    soccerbabiesmama Out Of The Brooder

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    Cob pellets? We used to use those in our coop and they worked well.
     
  8. Ksane

    Ksane Overrun With Chickens

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    Wood pellets. I love em' and they smell good.
     
  9. CC1892

    CC1892 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Could you tell me the pros and cons for using pellets.
    I'm considering using pellets since shavings are so messy, and seem to migrate everywhere

    thanks!
     
  10. Ksane

    Ksane Overrun With Chickens

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    They turn basically into sawdust when wet. And a 1/2 cup of pellets holds a shocking amount of water and stays feeling dry. You just rake through them and turn them over every day or 2. And they smell soooo good! I don't use them in the coop yet but as soon as all my chickens are old enough to be loose in a coop at night, I will. I did use them in their brooders and liked it a lot. Some people use it for cat litter, too. The amount of liquid they hold is amazing. Do a search for wood pellet bedding on BYC, there's lots about it. It's $6 a 40 lb bag here. But a little goes a long way.
     

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