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Infection likely from pine needle mulch?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by backintime, May 21, 2008.

  1. backintime

    backintime Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Based on answers I got from a previous post, I was planning to line my new chicken run with some chipped pine bark and pine needles I got from the power co. after they trimmed along power lines. The coop will have deep litter with store-bought shavings (not cedar). HOWEVER . . . a member just noted on another post that "one poke from a pine needle" could invite a bacterial infection resulting in bumble foot. Are chickens' feet really this sensitive? Would scratching in pine needles likely result in an infection? If the odds are small, I'd like to try the pine mulch because (1) it would look better than bare dirt, (2) give them something to scratch around in, and (3) it smells wonderful!
     
  2. Southern Gardener

    Southern Gardener Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmmm, I don't know about that - when I let my hens out the first place they run is under the pine trees where I have excess straw for my flower gardens - I've never had a problem...
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    I think it's one of those theory-based low-but-possibly-nonzero-risk things. Are pine needles the bedding that's *least*likely to cause foot injuries that could develop into bumblefoot? No. Do various people use pine needles for bedding and have yet to see a case of bumblefoot in their chickens? Yes. Have some people used pine needles and had bumblefoot problems? I have no idea.

    Personally I would not choose 'em unless there was a good reason, but if there WAS a good reason then I'd go ahead and do it. Look, the worst that happens is you learn to treat bumblefoot (educational! [​IMG]) and end up changing back to some other bedding. But, I'm guessing probably not [​IMG]

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  4. backintime

    backintime Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks to both of you. I guess I'm looking for "odds" of it happening, and you're telling me they are low. If the odds were very high, I'd certainly opt to use something else. I'm trying to make the run aesthetically pleasing for the neighbors, and poo crusted on bare earth does not sound appealing to me! What alternatives exist? I only have pines in the yard, no leaves. I could probably "borrow" some! LOL!
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    there's always sand or roadbase. But you know what, if I were in your shoes I would definitely be using the pine needles, at least til I had any sort of problem (and periodically raking the run out for my garden and compost pile! [​IMG]).

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  6. Southern Gardener

    Southern Gardener Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I throw a couple flakes of hay for them to scratch around in - after a week or so or after a rain, I rake it out, put it in the composter and put down fresh.
     
  7. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    The fact that something is not likely to happen doesn't make it the right or wrong approach. IMO the best approach is prevention in raising chickens. You will find that everywhere you go to look for effective management principles.

    This is like saying, do you think a raccoon will go in if I don't close my coop at night. Well, maybe not. But if one does, you're going to regret it. [​IMG] Just food for thought.

    Not everybody cares for their birds the same, so you will find what works best for you and your situation.

    Jody
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:I think an important thing to consider is, what are the likely consequences if something goes wrong.

    Not closing the coop door, the consequences are severe (as severe as can possibly be, in fact).

    But with the pine needles, the worst that happens is you catch a chicken developing foot problems. Which are almost always treatable and fixable, assuming you're paying attention in the first place.


    Pat
     
  9. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Staph infections (which bumble foot is) can be fatal and is also contagious and can infect humans. Impacted crops can also be fatal if the chickens decide to eat the pine needles.

    Have you ever treated a bumble foot infection or opened up an impacted crop? Not fun for them or you. I choose to be proactive rather than reactive. The OP asked for opinions, which is what I provided - I feel they deserve to hear the risks associated with using pine needles. A healthy flock is maintained through proper management methods, not skimping because you "might" get away with it. JMHO

    Jody
     
  10. backintime

    backintime Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I did want lots of opinions, not just someone to agree with me. I appreciate EVERYONE's two cents' worth on this.
     

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