1. Hi everyone,
    Just wondering if anyone is using hay or straw on top of the snow in their chicken run? I'm thinking of putting something down - then raking it out when the snow melts ... that is if it ever does melt [​IMG] [​IMG]

  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Yup, you can certainly do that. Some chickens will be more outdoorsy that way.

    I would recommend that if/when the hay or straw gets pretty skanky and a thaw begins, if you think you are going to have to remove it, remove it sooner rather than later, because it is EVER so much easier to remove when the packed-snow surface beneath it is still basiclaly frozen than when everything has gone to mud adn glop. Note that it is WORK to remove really sodden pooey hay or straw from the run. But, can definitely be worth doing in some cases, even so.

    Good luck, have fun,

  3. CopperCT

    CopperCT Chirping

    Jan 12, 2011
    I have a tarp over the run so that not as much snow gets in. We have been getting tons of snow lately in CT (multiple feet at a time) but only a couple of inches get into the run. I put hay down before the snow. The chickens like to scratch it up and eat the seeds etc. Then when it snows, I take a rake and "fluff" up the hay and the snows falls through it so the chickens will come out. Much easier than shoveling for them. I periodically give them a square or two more to scratch up as well. It works well now that everything is frozen but I do worry it will get smelly and gross when the thaws begin. When things begin to warm up I will probably remove most or all of the hay and put it in the brush pile. I don't really want to compost it because I think I'll get alot of weed seeds that way. After a few years on the brush pile it should be good to be used for gardening. The chickens like being outdoors but not in the snow so the hay works for me. I might try straw next year as that doesn't have the seeds that hay does. Hope that helps.
  4. Laurajean

    Laurajean Slightly Touched

    Apr 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    I thought I read somewhere on this forum that hay is bad for chickens because they eat it and it gets stuck in their system. No??

  5. yellowjacket

    yellowjacket In the Brooder

    Sep 5, 2010
    Summerland, BC
    Mine like the grass/alfalfa mix. They love to scratch it around and pick at the small bits. [​IMG]
    Nice yolk colours too, and nothing gets "stuck".

  6. lotzahenz

    lotzahenz Songster

    Aug 28, 2008
    Lexington, Kentucky
    I specifically feed a really green, with lots of tiny leaves Alfalfa hay to help keep my yolks yellow. They love it and it causes no trouble at all, it is just dried grass/legumes. There is a lot of nutrients in it as well. Now, how to keep the combs from freezing on a few of my roos who insist on staying out no matter what temps it gets.
  7. Bleenie

    Bleenie Wyan-DO's

    lotzahens: I think Vaseline helps to prevent frostbite on their combs(it 'insulates' & prevents freezing).

    I have used Straw in my run for a long time and use hay inside the coop for nesting, I have never had a problem with the chickens or ducks eating it. they do love the little Alfalfa flakes/leaves though [​IMG]

  8. CopperCT

    CopperCT Chirping

    Jan 12, 2011
    Quote:So far so good. The chickens have never shown any ill effects from the hay. I have seen them scratch it up and eat the seeds but haven't seen them actually eat the hay itself. If they have they are sure pretty healthy and happy despite it. Was this a concern when chickens lived in the barn with all the other livestock who ate hay not straw? I doubt it. Chickens are pretty flexible and smart...I have noticed they avoid plants listed as not good for them so hopefully they do the same if hay might hurt them. My main concern is weed seeds in the garden. I hope I'm not wrong but so far the hay has worked for me. I just want to be able to compost it and I think straw might be the better choice next winter.
  9. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    Quote:That seems to be brought up every now and again, but we give our birds whole bales of alfalfa/grass mix and I've never seen it happen.

  10. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller Premium Member

    Quote:Alfalfa is a legume not a grass. lots of good dried tidbits in leaves and seeds on Alfalfa. Its also hugely saturated with minerals.

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