Hens eating cedar shavings I put in the nesting box

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Xanadu, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. Xanadu

    Xanadu Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 20, 2012
    I went out to check on my two hens I just created a tractor for yesterday and saw them both eating the smaller pieces of the cedar shavings I had put into a nesting box along with a golf ball for them. I don't know if this is bad for them or not so I took it out of the tractor but now if they want to lay an egg all they have is the damp ground until I figure out what else I can put in there. Is this bad for them? I give them lots to eat more than they ever finish, clean water all the time and lots of varying treats so I don't think it could be hunger. They are also one or both eating the eggs, I haven't gotten one yet. I'm feeling quite flustered and frustrated.
  2. Makomd

    Makomd Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 24, 2011
    ES of MD , USA
    Cedar chips can cause crop issues if they are eating it and from my undersatnding cedar chips are often sprayed with other chemicals. It was suggested to me to just use plain wood chips as they tend not to eat it and no other additives are on it. I always get the flakes rather than chips, as there is less dust and not as likely to be eaten do to size.
  3. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    It's not usually recommended to use cedar, particularly if they have a noticeable cedar odor. This is irritating to chicken lungs. Hay, straw, sand or pine shavings are probably the most common litters, though I don't think most people use sand in nest boxes. You can also use those rubbery sheets of shelf liner -- easily cut to fit, and can be rinsed off and reused. Old carpet scraps is another possibility. The TSC here sells bales of pine shavings for around $6, and we can buy older hay for about $2 a square bale, which is fine if it's not moldy. Mine seem to like hay in their nests. If you have well dried leaves or a bunch of shredded paper, that's another possibility. Some people use rice hulls, ground corn cobs, etc. -- just depends what they have access to.

    Breaking an egg eater can be a real challenge. Here's an article about it:

    1 person likes this.
  4. Xanadu

    Xanadu Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 20, 2012
    Thank you for telling me Makomd. I would have thought since I bought it in a pet supplies store as bedding for small animals that it wouldn't have chemicals on it but you can't assume anything anymore can you. It's enough though that it would cause crop issues. Goodness there's so much to learn. [​IMG]

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