Pellets vs. Pine Shavings?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Peeplperson, May 13, 2009.

  1. Peeplperson

    Peeplperson Songster

    Apr 15, 2009
    We're using pine shavings (mostly since that's what they loaded into my car at the feed store). Anybody have a pro/con list for the pellets? Where do you get them?

    Also, can they safely go into the composting pile? What I like about the shavings is that they go right into my compost pile for next year's garden.

    Can you do the deep composting method in the coop with the pellets?

    Thanks for any input.
  2. FlashPointFarm

    FlashPointFarm Songster

    Jan 24, 2009
    Pellets are designed to get soaked with water and turn into dust, litterally. I'd say since pine shavings are dusty as it is, if you used pellets, it would be worse. I usually get the coarsest shavings I can find.
  3. bmrin1

    bmrin1 In the Brooder

    Oct 5, 2008
    North Manchester, IN
    I have not used the pellets but would think they would be fine. As someone with pellet making experience (animal feed and soybean hulls) they are made with sawdust steam and high pressure. I can not see why they would not go into compost, sawdust is used regularly in composting manure and animals.

  4. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Crowing

    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    I used pellets for the first time in the coop this winter and they worked great! I seem to get condensation from underneath the wood floor in the winter and the pellets kept my coop a lot less smelly & wet. I did mix 2 40 lb bags of pellets to one bag of Aspen shavings (not sure why), as Aspen is less dusty than pine. Then I added at least 2 more bags of pellets and 1 of aspen as the winter went on. They break down to shreds and dust, but the coop had less dust on things than in previous years. They are all wood and are supposed to break down faster in compost. I know regular wood chips take forever to break down, but will see how the compost is after a few months. I am not using them this summer, as I have less moisture, but I am already thinking I should have. I did not wet them first as some do, but they all still broke down over the months except for a few. I am going to use them for some bantam chicks I'm getting next week.
  5. sangel4you

    sangel4you Songster

    Apr 11, 2009
    Halifax, Pennsylvania
    wait now I am confused...I thought I read somewhere on here a few days ago pellets are LESS dusty...even went and got some and planned on putting them under my birds today... :-( Now I am scared too!
  6. andrea98

    andrea98 Songster

    Apr 10, 2009
    in my barnyard....ohio
    what would happen if they ate the pellets ??? do you think this would be a problem?
  7. Schroeder

    Schroeder Songster

    Nov 9, 2008
    Central Indiana
    My Coop
    Pellets worked great for me in the brooder, but the cost is too high for me to use them as deep litter in the coop. Otherwise, I probably would.
  8. sangel4you

    sangel4you Songster

    Apr 11, 2009
    Halifax, Pennsylvania
    deep litter in the coop was originally my plan...on top of my cement floor and probably a layer of hay as well...I figured I wouldnt need to do much but after the initial time add a bag of pellets each week or so... and it should break down into the hay right? Then just changing it out completely every three to four months? Newbie sorry...
  9. BeccaOH

    BeccaOH Morning Gem Farm

    Oct 3, 2008
    east central Ohio
    I use deep litter shavings in my main coop, which has worked well. It is very dusty, though.

    I'm using equine pine pellets in my brooders for chicks and ducklings. I'm still not sure how I like it with the chicks. They aren't as wet as the ducks, so the pellets need watered to start the break down, but the dust doesn't seem as bad as with using pine shavings. Dust is mainly from feather dander.

    I love the pellets with the ducks. The pellets get wet and mat into a solid layer that I scoop off, then I stir what is still dry and add fresh pellets. So I'm only really cleaning my duck brooder about every 4 days instead of the daily mess I had on pine shavings and puppy pads back when I started with my goslings. I still keep the waterers sitting in a tray with 1.5 inch lip and the food in another tray away from the water to help manage waste and dampness.

    Baby ducks may try to eat pellets at first, so cover them with something like the puppy pads their first couple of days until they learn where to get food. I doubt a chick could eat the pellet, but they may pick at the sawdust they make. Both will pick at the pine shavings, but I think they soon realize it isn't food.

    ETA: I get the Equine Pine pellets from Tractor Supply. I think my Agland also has a version of it.
    Last edited: May 14, 2009
  10. BethESH

    BethESH Songster

    I started my babies on the pellets covered with paper towels. It was getting expensive, so I switched over to shavings two days ago. I actually like the shavings better - when the pellets got wet, they turned into a clump. (Think clumping cat litter.)

    I prefer the shavings - so far. I'm a newbie and my change my mind again sometime...

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