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lavender for nestboxes?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Babsadon, Oct 28, 2008.

  1. Babsadon

    Babsadon Chirping

    Jul 28, 2008
    Glendale, California
    I have lots of lavender growing in my yard. Can I use dried lavender for nestboxes instead of hay? I also have rosemary, but some sources say that some varieties of rosemary are poisonous to birds.

    What other materials do people use to line nestboxes? I want to avoid buying a bale of hay or anything else I didn't grow. I am a little suspicious about pesticides, or bacteria or whatever. Has anyone ever had problems with store-bought hay?


  2. tvtaber

    tvtaber Songster

    Aug 2, 2007
    Central CA
    I line mine with shavings, but lavendar would be heavenly! You might try one box with the lavendar and one with whatever you currently use and see if there is a preference over time.
  3. hcammack

    hcammack Crowing

    Oct 5, 2007
    I did this once I am not sure if they liked it but my mom and I defenetly thought it smelled better [​IMG]
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Get your hay from a reputable source, like, a good hay guy, and you will be FINE. Bacteria is a total non-issue (except that anytime you find animal parts in a bale, which you will sometimes even in the very best hay because that's just the nature of the cutting and baling process, you should discard that flake and the immediately adjacent ones). Pesticides etc are not an issue if it is good field-grown livestock-quality hay (I would not feed roadside hay unless you have no alternative).

    The biggest thing to watch out for in hay is simply mold, the spores of which are not good for any animal's respiratory system. Hay can be moldy from being baled too wet, or from being allowed to get wet (from humidity or from rain or from a roof leak) in storage. If you open a bale and it smells kind of weirdly musty and mildewy and fungusy, I would not personally use it for chickens. Finding a good supplier and storing your hay properly will avoid much of that, though.

    Frankly I just use shavings in my nestboxes, same as bedding.

    You can cut and dry and store your own 'hay' if you have meadowy long grass and a weed-whacker... but you will find that getting it dry enough (throughout) to store well is not as easy as you might think.

    Honestly, I'd worry about using great wads of aromatic plants like lavender. Aromatic compounds are generally not great for respiratory health in high concentrations (many of 'em anyhow). Why risk it. You are not trying to create an aromatherapy spa for the chickens [​IMG], just something soft and clean. Also you will have to replace the nestbox filler on a regular basis (it will get a bit pooey or just 'old' despite your best efforts) and it would take a whole LOT of lavendar to get you through the year.

    Good luck, have fun,

  5. Chicabee19

    Chicabee19 Songster

    Aug 8, 2008
    I grow lavender too, and plan to use it around the coop so it will smell nice. It's a good anti-bacterial too.
  6. mo

    mo In the Brooder

    Oct 28, 2008
    twin cities
    I'm currently using leaves. I have a LOT of them this time of year. piles and piles.

    after halloween, I reckon I can score some straw free.
  7. Babsadon

    Babsadon Chirping

    Jul 28, 2008
    Glendale, California
    Thanks everybody for your great suggestions.

  8. CityChook

    CityChook Songster

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    I found that lavender was ONE of the things my chickens didn't devour out of my garden this summer... It might be nice mixed in to your nest box material - certainly would smell nice!

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