If you've used both pine shavings and wheat straw for bedding...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by cindyanne1, May 28, 2009.

  1. cindyanne1

    cindyanne1 Mother Goose

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    Apr 19, 2009
    Central Ohio
    Which is better and why?

    And if you prefer pine shavings, are they so much better that you'd pay for them vs. using free straw? If so, why?

    Discuss... [​IMG]

    I'm starting this topic because I really want to use pine shavings for my chickens, but hubby says straw is fine and we have it already as we bale it ourselves. However, even in just the month I've had young chickens and used straw I DO NOT LIKE IT WHATSOEVER and I'm hoping for some people to back me up and describe to him how much better wood shavings are and how much cleaner they are, how much better they break down in the DLM for use as compost on the garden, etc. Or if not, then to tell me that straw is just fine and pine shavings won't be as great as I think they are, lol!
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2009
  2. miss_thenorth

    miss_thenorth Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2007
    SW Ont, Canada
    In the summer, I would just put sand in the coop/run. they will scratch and turn it up by themselves--very easy. For winter, I have used both and honestly, I would have to say straw is better for the deep litter method. It decomposes faster that shavings. The telltale sign for me was when I cleaned it up in the spring. I had no stink whatsoever, and pulled out this beautiful compost. When I used shavings, the stench was unbearable, and I needed a mask to get the job done. If I were you, I would get a load of sand, spread it out, and jsut put straw overtop for the winter, and keep layering it until spring. AND, if your straw is free--why on earth pay $5 a bale for shavings ???? (sorry, that's the cheap coming out in me)

    My vote--straw.
     
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  3. sangel4you

    sangel4you Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2009
    Halifax, Pennsylvania
    I'm thinking of doing exactly that too...sand under straw. Only mine is on a cement floor... Any ideas when and how that will be to clean out and what I can do with it? Any other thoughts on straw over sand? I do find my chicks eat quite a bit of the sand, but they seem fine soooo...
     
  4. cindyanne1

    cindyanne1 Mother Goose

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    Central Ohio
    Well actually that's good to hear! I really don't want to pay for the pine unless it was a lot better... but if it's not, then that's cool!

    My problem with straw is that it never seems to dry out enough. Could this be a ventilation problem and I'd have the same issue with shavings anyway? I tried putting stall-dry in but it just sinks to the bottom and it's on top that it stays so nasty.

    If it's a ventilation problem it will hopefully be solved when hubby gets the new coop built. He's doing research and putting in windows and lots of vents.
     
  5. cmjust0

    cmjust0 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2009
    Central KY
    The shavings vs. straw vs. pellets argument usually involves a lot of personal preference, but I'd suggest that the decision should probably be made based on the construction of the coop. Specifically, the coop floor.

    Straw tends to let wetness permeate to the bottom where, if it collects, it can quickly turn the straw into a stinking, slimy mess. Straw also mats, which makes it virtually impossible to shovel but easier to grab with a pitchfork.

    Shavings tend to absorb and hold wetness better than straw, and they take much longer to begin breaking down. Shavings don't mat, which means they can't really be pitchforked, but can be shoveled no matter how dirty they get.

    So, it seems to me that if your floor is level, smooth enough for a big flat shovel, and susceptible to water damage (ie., wood and some concrete), shavings are a no-brainer.

    If, however, the floor is able to drain, won't be damaged by water, or is irregular (ie., dirt, gravel, and some concrete), I'd definitely go with straw.

    So...what's your coop floor made of?

    Edit:

    I see that the coop is still underway... If it were me, I'd be working the plans specifically to make the coop straw friendly, since that's one resource I had on hand.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2009
  6. cindyanne1

    cindyanne1 Mother Goose

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    Central Ohio
    From what I gather... it will have a wood floor that will either have linoleum (maybe) or a couple of coats of porch and floor enamel.

    That's so odd that in your experience straw tends to let the moisture thru to the bottom. So far I've had nothing but dry at the bottom and wet, stinky, and matted at the top (and that's why I don't like it.) This is only after a few days. Do I need to put fresh straw on top that often?

    Shoveling vs. forking isn't really an issue. [​IMG] I'd actually rather fork or rake vs. shovel if I had a choice.

    I guess I didn't realize shavings took longer to break down vs. straw. For some reason I envisioned them turning into something akin to wet sawdust and therefore would be easier to spread onto the garden in the spring. But if straw breaks down better, then it might be win/win all around.
     
  7. ducks4you

    ducks4you Chillin' With My Peeps

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    East Central Illinois
    I like the "FREE" part of the straw argument. MY ONE hen is currently living in a 3 x 3 x 4 old rabbit house with mostly 1/2 in hardware cloth. None of her poo falls through--the extra feed, does---go figure. I use straw with her, but the airflow keeps it fairly dry, and I strip and replace it once a week.

    When my birds move in to their (STILL UNFINISHED) new coop, with a wooden floor, the straw won't work.

    BUT, I love that word free....free

    Gotta find SOME way to use straw.

    Could you trade straw for shavings with someone?
     
  8. Zahboo

    Zahboo Simply Stated

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    Hope Mills, NC
    I like them both depending on what coop I'm using.

    In brooders, small coops, and under roosts, I use shavings. They are super absorbent and easy to clean up.

    The larger coop has wheat straw. It's cheaper and easier to clean out. If you have a large stock, then there is the idea of mixing.



    IDK if this helps, but figured I'd put my 2 cents in [​IMG]
     
  9. ducks4you

    ducks4you Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:cindyanne1, here's MY wood shavings story.

    Friend brought over her tractor 5 years ago, so I could shovel my (horse) manure pile from one long pile to a little mountain. I use a mix of pine shavings and straw on top of rubber mats, and had 3 stalled for the winter, some 4 -5 months of manure pickup and hauling out.

    Well, come time to garden and pull from the pile (last year) and I STILL have shavings NOT broken down.

    Last year, I didn't have access to a tractor. THe horses trod and rolled ALL over the pile. I am shoveling what LOOKS like Plant Starter Soil!!! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  10. trilyn

    trilyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2009
    East Syracuse
    Quote:cindyanne1, here's MY wood shavings story.

    Friend brought over her tractor 5 years ago, so I could shovel my (horse) manure pile from one long pile to a little mountain. I use a mix of pine shavings and straw on top of rubber mats, and had 3 stalled for the winter, some 4 -5 months of manure pickup and hauling out.

    Well, come time to garden and pull from the pile (last year) and I STILL have shavings NOT broken down.

    Last year, I didn't have access to a tractor. THe horses trod and rolled ALL over the pile. I am shoveling what LOOKS like Plant Starter Soil!!! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Sorry, maybe I'm having a moment-but last year you used what-straw? Is that what has broken down completely and you are able to use it this year for your garden? I agree with you that shavings take a long time to break down and decompose. So that must be it then, the straw is what broke down nicely-did I answer my own question?? [​IMG]
     

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