Hemp bedding

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by vehve, Oct 3, 2014.

  1. vehve

    vehve The Token Finn

    In this thread I intend to document my experiences with hemp bedding. The reasons I'm interested in this bedding is that it supposedly generates quite little dust, it's very absorbent, and it's easily compostable.

    When we hatched our first chicks in the spring, we bought some hemp bedding to use in their brooder, and we really liked it, but I couldn't find any at a reasonable price anywhere to use in the coop, so over the summer we've been experimenting with what was left of that initial bale of Dutch hemp, some pine shavings, and peat moss. I really liked the absorbent qualities of peat moss, while pine shavings has the best smell of these three options. But the pine shavings don't really soak up moisture that well, and they're a pain to compost, while the peat moss again kicks up an enormous amount of dust. Except for the fresh pine smell, I thought the hemp really had all the positive attributes of both the other bedding materials - not too dusty, very absorbent, and easy to compost. So over the summer, I tried to find a source for domestically produced hemp bedding. In my search I stumbled upon a Finnish company called Hemprefine that was setting up production of hemp bedding, but they were not selling it commercially yet. I contacted them about their product, and asked if they would be interested in using me as a test user for their product. Fast forward a few months, and I just received three bales of hemp bedding in the bale earlier this week. Today we emptied out the coop, cleaned it, and filled it with fresh hemp bedding.

    The manufacturer gave me permission to document my findings with their product, as long as I made a few things clear. First of all, the product is still in a testing phase. They are experimenting with the coarseness of the bedding, and the batch I received does not have the antibacterial treatment that they intend to use in it later to keep the bedding from spoiling. The manufacturer assures me that this treatment won't affect the composting qualities of the bedding. I'd also like to add, that I received the bedding free of charge.

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    The hemp was packed in conveniently sized bales, compressed in plastic. For larger operations, the company also offers the bedding in loads of about one cubic meter.

    When I filled the coop with the new hemp bedding, I tried to kick up as much dust as possible, and I didn't manage to get very much of it floating around, so immediately from the start, the product seems to work pretty nicely for me when it comes to the amount of dust it generates. The company asked how coarsely shredded I wanted the bedding, and I decided to go with the coarser end of the spectrum

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    The stuff resembles pine shavings in size.

    Compared to the peat moss I've been using, this also brings in more light into the coop, as it's a pretty light color compared to the dark brown of the peat.
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    I'll update this thread about my experiences once I've familiarized myself a bit more with the product. Later I'll take a look at the composting qualities of it as well, and if you're interested in hot composting spent bedding, feel free to check out my composting thread:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/900637/hot-composting-with-chicken-bedding-and-garden-waste
     
  2. Yorkshire Coop

    Yorkshire Coop Moderator Staff Member

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    My Coop
    Good luck. I will be following this thread with interest as ive had experience with hemp bedding but only with using it for horses. It is a great product for not producing a lot of dust. Has been great for horses with dust allergies.
     
  3. LindaB220

    LindaB220 Overrun With Chickens

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    Hi Felix, this should be an interesting thread. Keep us updated on the differences in the hemp and peat. I use both peat and pine shavings. [​IMG]
     
  4. Another good use for hemp! Keep us posted.
     
  5. Ms-T

    Ms-T Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi
    I use hemp bedding and love it ,a little go's a long way ,but then I only have three girls..i have found it keeps nice a lot longer if you do a pick up every day...I clean it all out once a mouth.
     
  6. vehve

    vehve The Token Finn

    I think we last cleaned the coop in June, and it really wasn't bad at all now either. The chickens do spend a lot of time outside though, and we do empty out poop on a daily basis.
     
  7. Ms-T

    Ms-T Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a Poop board in mine so very rarely find any on the floor...love my Poop board too...lol
     
  8. gilcamp4

    gilcamp4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    where do you buy this for the horses? is it the same they use for chickens? I would love to try it, I have 43 chickens in two coops with one large yard plus a closed run between them so they can go from one to the other.
     
  9. vehve

    vehve The Token Finn

    US legislation is a bit restrictive when it comes to hemp, in some states it's legal to grow it, but I think you might have trouble finding it over there.
     
  10. [​IMG] stinkin regulations
     

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