hay, straw or alfalfa - for the run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by karlamaria, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. karlamaria

    karlamaria Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am wondering what I can put in my run for my girls to keep there feet off the cold ground ( we live in montana and the ground is frozen) I want to be safe as I hear about them eating this stuff and I do not want crop impactions. sooo hay, straw or alfalfa?? thanks
     
  2. VelvettFog

    VelvettFog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Uhh.. you don't need to worry about it?

    Lots of people use sand in the run. I'm in Central WA, and I just let them dance on the dirt [​IMG]
     
  3. karlamaria

    karlamaria Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Uhh.. you don't need to worry about it?

    Lots of people use sand in the run. I'm in Central WA, and I just let them dance on the dirt [​IMG]

    my run does nto need sand, we clean it out once a week and it never never gets wet inside. I just want to be able to put something in the run for them to get up on , and not get crop impaction from the wrong stuff. thanks
     
  4. stoopid

    stoopid Chicken Fairy Godmother

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    I'vw used straw, but have found there are different kinds (oat, wheat) and some may carry mites.
    Now I'm freaked out about using any. Don't know if the bugs would freeze?
     
  5. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    I would not recommend any type of straw or hay. The chance of them eating it & getting impacted is just too high.

    I put wooden pallets around in the run for them to hop up on top of when the ground is wet, and they seem to enjoy hopping from one to another, so maybe try that? Around here, pallets are found quite often along the roadsides.
     
  6. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm using raked leaves, myself, for mud control and entertainment. I use chopped straw (straw that's gone through a wood chipper/shredder) inside my coop and the chickens do not eat it but it does blow around so I'm thinking it's not a good choice outdoors. What about wood chips? My folks use them and they seem to hold up nicely through the winter.
     
  7. HHandbasket

    HHandbasket The Chickeneer

    Alfalfa hay is good for them, as it's higher in protein & they don't have a problem eating it (I have lined my coop with alfalfa hay from day 1 without losing a single bird to crop impaction... if they forage and eat dirt/sand, it won't be a problem). Straw is about 1/4 the price of alfalfa, but I still use alfalfa. At least if they eat that, it has nutritional value.
     
  8. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    Quote:I've had two get impacted from eating 2nd cutting alfalfa, which is even softer than first cutting. Both had huge balls of the alfalfa in their crops, both freeranged as well as having access to a pan of grit.
     
  9. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    I throw in coarse first cut hay not suitable for the horses. Didn't know they could get imactions. [​IMG] As they free range also, they jump on the hay bales and make a mess at times. I can see how second cut grass hay could be a problem. But I hoard that for the sheep anyway.

    My girls search for the seed heads which is typical of first cut late cut hay.

    Stoopid--I don't think the hay mites are the chicken mites. Maybe someone has more info on this. Perhaps you are thinking the hay was contaminated by wild birds while in the field. ANy think is possible.
     
  10. Al Gerhart

    Al Gerhart Out Of The Brooder

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    I've been using sawdust from my cabinet shop for about two years. Most shops will save it for you IF you take them a large trash can or two, make it easy for them to dump it in, don't bother with liners. Expect some "trash" from where they sweep it off the floors. Easy enough to pick out though.

    The finer sawdust like from the wide belt sander cakes up but the larger dust from table saws, routers, or planners stays nice and fluffy. I keep about 6 to 8 inches in the coop and out in the run, although the run cakes up when it gets rainy.
     

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