No real experience here...this is my first time, too, but I just "borrowed" some of my horses' bermuda hay and put it in a tub for my 2 girls yesterday. They played around in it, so we'll see what happens!
I have used both in my hen house and coop. I have found that wood shavings seem to work best for me. Easier to clean out, and a lot less messy. Plus they smell nicer with wood shavings. Try to find a wood mill or wood cutting place in your area. This way it keeps cost down. I get a pickup truck load for 5.00. That lasts around 8 months. Make sure you use around 3 inches in depth for best results. Remove soiled areas with dust pan. Scoop them out and replace with equal amount of shavings. Try some DE also. Sprinkle lightly over the wood shavings to cut down odor and mites. Good luck !!!
Hay is not a good material to use. It isn't as absorbent as pine shavings, it tends to mold and it will retain moisture. Pine shavings are a much better choice. Sawdust isn't as good to use as shavings. Too dusty. Most farm supply & feed stores carry baled shavings. Even Walmart carries it. Don't however, buy cedar shavings, the tannic acid in it isn't good for birds.
Quote:in my experience, hay in the nest boxes doesn't get damp and doesn't need to absorb moisture. i've had the same hay in my nest box for the last three months. i check it regularly to make sure it isn't moldy or poopy. if it's poopy, i replace it. i've yet to find mold.
I just mowed the lawn and decided that maybe the grass cuttings would be a nice treat. I threw a LOT in the coop and run. I find them sleeping on a pile this morning and it smells nice and grass fresh. I mixed in some fresh straw with it since they love that. Everyone tells me pine shavings, I'm a straw girl....
(I throw the old straw out in the lawn... poo and all, then run it over with the lawn mower and shred it right back into the lawn... so far so good, much easier clean up.)
Quote:When we were growing up we were never allowed to give the animals any grass clippings mowed from a gas lawnmower. Was told they were toxic. My Grandpa went out and bought an electric mower. What's the scoop on this?
I put alfalfa hay in my nests and the hens eat it and then won't lay eggs there, they lay in the horses feed bin with just a smooth plastic bottom.