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Is eucalyptus shavings/bedding ok for chickens?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by CA Bean, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. CA Bean

    CA Bean Songster

    I don't really think so but hubby wanted me to ask since he has just been cutting a ton of Eucalyptus for fire wood and there is so much long saw dust shavings that could be used for bedding..what do you think? Are the oils in it too toxic??
  2. vfem

    vfem Yoga...The Chicken Pose

    Aug 4, 2008
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Oh may! I don't know? Good question though. I line my flower beds with the stuff and I didn't even think about it. I know the chickens will eventually wonder far enough to get into them.
  3. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    I don't know. Is it pretty aromatic? I wonder if it would be bad for them like cedar is. The fumes from cedar aren't good for them. Hope somebody can help you.
  4. vfem

    vfem Yoga...The Chicken Pose

    Aug 4, 2008
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    I know cedar is bad for most animals... mice, rats, dogs, chickens... it inhibits their air ways and can even cause damage to their lungs over time. Hmmm....
  5. CA Bean

    CA Bean Songster

    Well I know Eucalyptus oil is used for respirtory illnesses in humans like running a diffuser with the essential oils so I don't think that part is bad but I was thinking absorbing oils into skin from feet may be bad.?
  6. I dont know about chickens, but what does Eucalyptus wood smell like when you are burning it in the fireplace? Does it give off its aroma?
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I don't actually *know*, but I would not want to be the first one on my block to find out, either. Aromatics often = not good.

    Good luck,

  8. pkeeler

    pkeeler Songster

    Jul 20, 2008
    Cedar is specifically a pesticide. It is used in closets and such because it offgases a pesticidal vapor. I've never heard of any other wood that does this or can substitute for cedar. Just because something is aromatic doesn't mean it is dangerous. Pine is aromatic. Part of the whole litter thing is overpowering the smell of the droppings.

    While I doubt eucalyptus would hurt chickens by breathing fumes, there are other issues. Hardwood shavings are not used because they can give splinters. I don't know if eucalyptus would be classified as a hardwood. I don't know either whether the chickens would eat it because it smells or tastes good. [​IMG] I don't know if it would be bad if they did either.

    If you are using the deep litter method, I would think you could always put it in as the bottom couple of inches. If it is sawdust, splinters should not be a problem. Maybe put some in there and see if they eat it as a test.
  9. ravenfeathers

    ravenfeathers Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Quote:when people refer to cedar as a dangerous aromatic, they're referring to the intensity and effect of the oils, not the fact that they exist at all, that's true. any plant with an associated aroma could be considered an aromatic. the more aroma, the more the concentration of the plant's essential oils and essential oils should always be used with caution, whether it's something fairly harmless like lavender or something quite dangeous like pennyroyal. when it comes to high intensity EOs like cedar and eucalyptus, you have to exercise caution on two fronts: handling and inhalation.

    the goal of litter should not be to outstink the stink! if your litter has that much essential aroma, don't use it!

    i would not use eucalyptus as a bedding, personally. any tree that can be smelled whole and intact in the air has a healthy dose of EO. also, it's not a great idea to equate medicinal benefits with harmlessness. eucalyptus is a useful natural tool for the respiratory tract, but it has no preventative benefits and shouldn't be used constantly, either by you or your hens. that's like saying that morphine is a useful painkiller, so you should take it daily for routine aches and pains or to prevent such.
  10. tvtaber

    tvtaber Songster

    Aug 2, 2007
    Central CA
    well, bearing in mind that I love reusing materials, I would encourage you to use that stuff as much as possible. A quick google search shows that eucalyptus shavings and sawdust is used in England and Brazil extensively for poultry liotter and is encouraged by researchers and development folks alike. Partly becuase it grows fast and can be replenished easier than other woods and partly becuase it is apparently healthy for the poultry. One interesting side note it the oil is rubbed in coops or added to bedding to curb lice or cure respiratory problems, so the amount of oil released from the shavings is a benefit, not a problem.

    I live in the region you do (Salinas area) and my hens spend so little time in the coop that buying special shavings seems crazy. I have scads of euc leaves all over the yard and am wondering if i shred them if I can use them for bedding...

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