Northerner's Straw or Pine Shavings?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Relheok, Apr 2, 2011.

  1. Relheok

    Relheok Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 29, 2011
    Northeast Kingdom, VT
    I live in an area that reaches negative -25 in winter a few times a winter. Do you find straw is better in winter at keeping the birds warm? Is it easier or harder to keep clean. The deep litter method sounds like the way to go. Any benefits to one over the other with that method? Thanks.
     
  2. GreenGables

    GreenGables Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use pine shavings. They are great for deep liter method and very easy to clean. I have never used straw but heard it can bring some unwanted bugs. I also keep a heat tile in the coop which turns on when the coop temp goes below a certain degree and turns off when it reaches a certain degree. With this tile you can decide when you want it to go on and off. It is attached to the wall of our hen house. [​IMG]
     
  3. damselfish

    damselfish Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You could use pine as the main bedding and then you will find on cold snowy days that a flake or two of straw thrown in there will entertain the chickens for hours. They love to tear thru straw looking for the seeds.

    Poop does tend to stick the straw together in big nasty clumps. I don't use it as anything other than entertainment for that reason . We scoop rather than doing deep litter but it seems like those clumps would still be annoying in deep litter as you're waiting for it all to break down.
     
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    They both work. I personally prefer straw, most of the time. True, clean, yellow straw.
    It composts faster on the garden too.

    Shavings are OK, but only the huge flakes. The smaller stuff is more like sawdust and I dislike it very much.
    The straw seems to stay loose, while the chips tend to moisture fill and then freeze solid.

    I do like shavings in the next box. They actually leave it alone. Straw they drag out in a day. Silly chickens.
     
  5. Relheok

    Relheok Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 29, 2011
    Northeast Kingdom, VT
    I should have added that I will have the coop a long ways from electrical power so more then likely, they will NOT have a heater for winter. I guess I will have to experiment next winter. My chicks are only 2 weeks old so we have a ways to go. I am starting the coop build next week on my days off.
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Shavings -- GOOD shavings, like premium horse-bedding quality, the big flat flakes with very little dust -- are better than straw IMHO for cold winters and deep litter mgmt. Straw is real hard to turn or fluff, so you end up with it packing into big poo-soaked 'plates', and it is not as warm for hens to nestle into if they are feeling seriously cold as a fluffy deep pile of shavings is. But, either one will work. CHopped straw would be about equivalent to shavings, if you can get/produce it, and it does compost a bit faster. A lot depends on what you can get cheapest, of course -- if you have free straw, I'd say by all means use straw LOL

    Whichever one you use, make it DEEP, so it insulates their feeties agaisnt cold ground and so if they are feeling chilly some day they can make a sort of nest down into it. Doesn't necessarily have to start out deep, fo course, but by the time your weather gets really cold, deep is good.

    Bear in mind there is no such thing as "the" deep litter method. There are all sorts of different ways of doing that sort of thing, each with its own pros and cons, only some of which will be suited to your particular setup. I would suggest that rather than planning on following "a" method, you expect to experiment and fiddle around trying different things til you find what works best for you.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  7. Relheok

    Relheok Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 29, 2011
    Northeast Kingdom, VT
    Thanks. Now for the nesting boxes, Straw?
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Doesn't really matter. Some people have personal preferences but there seem to be about as many in the one camp as in the other. You will just have to find out what you personally think [​IMG] I would suggest starting out with the same material you're using on the floor. If you get aggravated with it for some reason, try something else -- but if it works fine for you, why complicate things?

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  9. Talihofarms

    Talihofarms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pine shaving is what has worked for us the best.
    Deep litter method for winter.
    We use straw for the nest boxes and garden.
    Both break down for the field or garden.
    Cost wise, straw has been cheaper, but we prefer pine bedding over all.

    We are on the N. IL/Wis border and that has been what has worked the best for us.

    Just my .02
     
  10. Relheok

    Relheok Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 29, 2011
    Northeast Kingdom, VT
    Thanks guys.
     

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