Hello and need help!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by lianamac, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. lianamac

    lianamac Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi all. I am new to this group and to chicken "parenting" and I need some help. My chickens have been eating their pine shavings and I mean ALL of their shavings! To the point that they are not eating enough actual food. I give them Nutrena laying pellets, scratch grains, and fresh vegetables daily. I have 7 birds that are 9 months old and they have approximately 250 sq ft of protected space. They can't free range at the moment because of hawks and neighbors dogs but we are working on a protected run. So I need some ideas about what I can use for bedding in their coop and pen besides pine shavings. I did put some leaves in there this fall but don't have access to any more right now. I really need to use something that I can buy and not have to "gather".
    Thank you for your help!
     
  2. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    are they really consuming the shavings or just pecking through them? Usually baby chicks eat bedding because they don't know what is food or not. Covering with paper towels for a day or two while they learn where the real food is usually works. I haven't heard of birds as old as yours doing this. Maybe they are getting too much scratch or extras that fill them up and they don't like their feed as well. If you are using pellets, maybe they would prefer crumbles or vice versa.

    I would think if they are surviving on mostly pine shavings, they would be constipated or have crop issues . Do they feel like a good weight when you lift them? Maybe you could put some kind of wire temporary flooring in for them to stop that. Then they should take a better interest in their proper food.
     
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    [​IMG] to BYC!

    I had the EXACT same problem with my first brood. They may not be eating the giant pieces, but they sure learn quickly how to break them into tiny pieces. I tried adding grass hay and they ended up eating that too. So the only thing that stopped it all was to get them onto sand. That was the only way to stop them! My first coop was a raised coop, 2x6 feet, with a floor that I did not trust with the weight of sand. So I took a piece of outdoor quality carpeting. It looks and nearly feels like grass. Soft. I cut it to size and covered the floor with it. Took the girls a few days not to be freaked out by it, LOL, but eventually they trusted it. I pulled it away from under the roost bar at night so the poop was easier to clean and recovered the floor in the morning. No more eating shavings or hay. And yes, they filled up on it to the point of for going their feed. I have since built a monstrosity of a coop and use sand in the coop, run and even the nest boxes. (they ate every piece of hay I put in the boxes. LOL)

    Good luck and enjoy BYC!
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014
  4. lianamac

    lianamac Out Of The Brooder

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  5. lianamac

    lianamac Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 3, 2014
    So if you use sand how do you maintain it? I was planning to use the deep litter method but it doesn't seem like that is going to work since they eat all their shavings and won't let it get "deep". If I go with sand what kind do I need to get and do I have to clean the pen everyday like a cat litter box? What tool do you use?
     
  6. liz9910

    liz9910 Overrun With Chickens

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    [​IMG] I also use sand in my run, inside the coop where they perch I use a product called Sweet PDZ. It's a product that is used for horses in their stalls, however it works great for chickens! I use a cat litter scoop to clean the poop out. In my run I just use a leaf rake and it's easy to clean too. This is a great article you should check it out: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/621363/poop-board-convert-warning-graphic-gross-poop-pictures I would also check out this forum: https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/9/coop-run-design-construction-maintenance good luck to you!
     
  7. gander007

    gander007 Chicken Obsessed

    Alright [​IMG] glad tou could join us [​IMG]




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    All we get is sand and we munch on that also [​IMG]



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    Yep sand, that is it [​IMG]




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    I would go with sand also but we also eat this brush also [​IMG]





    [​IMG]

    And when he gives us table scraps we choke it down with sand [​IMG]


    Well you see how my flock & gaggle voted [​IMG]



    Sand can be cleaned with water and it has been around
    for several years and still works just fine [​IMG]






    gander007 [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014
  8. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC. Have you tried pelleted horse bedding or ground corn cob?
     
  9. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    I collect my sand from nearby arroyo's and washes. I hear that river sand is some of the best you can get. You can also get it at gravel yards and is usually pretty cheap if you haul it yourself. However they sometimes do deliver and you can call the yard and ask about pricing. Some people use pool sand as well. I have no experience with anything but my wash sand.

    Sand is very easy to maintain. The poop seems to dry right up once they poop in it. Sand keeps the smells down to barely detectable and I have never seen flies hanging around my coop and run. It is soft on the foot pads of the birds and my sand contains tiny stones good for the gizzards. You can use a kitty litter scoop to clean it, or even rubber gloves to get the wetter sand. I am pretty clean about things. So I clean up every time I go up to see them. But you can go a day or so, depending on how many birds you have in the run and how much poop is around.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014

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