home harvasted Chicken litter questions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by White Elk, Jun 22, 2008.

  1. White Elk

    White Elk Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 19, 2008
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    We've had 8 trees culled from our forest and a bunch of limbing done. We had what wasn't pole and firewood chipped here on site. There is ALOT of it! Most of the chips are cedar. I've just heard that Cedar can poison Chickens. Can anyone confirm or deny this. I've also got a big pile of some juniper like trees which need chippin. Would those chips be ok as litter? How about the Walnut?

    And how does dry grass work in place of straw for the hen yard ~ not for bedding or laying boxes? I'll use some straw and pine chips but want to harvast all that I can from this land first. There are areas of the land I'd let the grass grow a couple feet tall then hack it down and leave it lay to dry for a week or more. I know if I'm using it for bedding and such I have to cure the grass for a while and be careful in the storage of it. But I just want to lay the stuff down in the chicken coop yard to cut down on the hay use a little. Will mold still be a problem with twice a month cleanings/replacement?
     
  2. pdpatch

    pdpatch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes the oil in the ceder chips can cause problems when used as litter. The Walnut will be ok to use.

    Usually hay/straw is sun dried several weeks before bailing. Hay/straw is mostly stems not leafs so it drys faster and has less nutrituanal value. Typical lawn or pasture grass is kept short so it has more leaves then stems. So for bedding use grass that has lots of stem and not much for leaves.

    When storing any grass the moisture content is the key, the moisture level causes mold and milldue and the grass will decay, this will produce heat. Which can lead to the grass catching fire. Storing grass for winter feeding can be done but it can only be very loose packed into containers and well ventilated.

    Typically we use two to three bails of straw a year, we have 3 nesting boxes all year round and 4 additional ones in the summer months.
     
  3. White Elk

    White Elk Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 19, 2008
    Pacific Northwest USA
    ty. When I chip the Alder and Walnut I will use those for litter. I won't take a chance with those juniper like trees and shrub. Dangrabbit I wished I'd thought of using the wood chips for chicken litter when we were chipping last month. I have other uses for pure cedar chips. And the Birch, Alder, and Hemlock woulda been just fine for chicken litter. I have perhaps 15 yards of mixed wood chips to work into the land, and none of that can be used for litter. Hope someone else can learn from my lack of foresight here!


    I've seen a burnt barn brought down by improperly dried hay. And I've bucked hay from field then later into barn. I obsessed about looking for signs of too much moisture and tossed out any extra heavy bales so I didn't burn down my friends barn lol. I figured the extra heavy bales might indicate extra moisture. Anyway... I just want to use my grass to mix with straw in the hen yard. For the bedding and coop floor I will use pure straw. I don't want to dedicate much time to the drying and storing of the grass. But for the yard, and in the summer months, I'm thinking it might work well enough.

    For that hen yard I intend to put hay and grass over a couple inch layer of dirt which sits on top of landscape fabric; which in turn sits on top of gravel. In this way I'm hoping I can keep the yard clean by spraying the poop down into the dirt while allowing the water to evacuate down and out (and then collect into a rain barrel to be pumped into the duck pond). Then the bugs will still be there for the chickens to hunt; and the yard will dry fast, be clean, and not smell so bad. Thats the plan for now anyway ;~)
     
  4. Mattake2

    Mattake2 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 11, 2008
    No straight cedar. You can mix a SMALL amount of the shavings with Pine or other softwoods. Grass clippings work GREAT as long as they're dry enough to be confused with hay.
     
  5. White Elk

    White Elk Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 19, 2008
    Pacific Northwest USA
    Hmm... My Cedar is already mixed with Hemlock and others. But is predominatatly Cedar. But adding like a mix of 10:1 Alder or store bought Pine to my Cedar MIX would be fine maybee? But what if they eat the Cedar chips? And I'm sure they will. Even though the cedar would be sparse, it'd still be there. Is it only toxic in large volume?

    And what do you think of the Walnut? It's a hard wood, but doesn't contain the cedar oil.
    Is any hardwood bad? Should only soft woods be used? And how about pitchy Pine?


    Speaking of confused... Isn't Hay the nutritional tops of a grass, and Straw the stems?
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2008
  6. halo

    halo Got The Blues

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    My Coop
    Im pretty sure if its black walnut its toxic. Regular walnut should be fine.
     

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