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pine needles for bedding??

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by nhchickmom, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. nhchickmom

    nhchickmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 6, 2008
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    Hi All,

    Yesterday I went out to refil the nesting boxes with wood shavings and realized I was out, but had a hen who needed to lay an egg right then so I scooped up a bunch of pine needles and filled in the nesting box with them. The hens use these needles to make a nest in their nsting box that is right outside the coop.

    So I guess my question is: WE have an abundance of soft pine needles at our house and could I just bag them up now and use them as bedding instead of buying $6 bags of shavings?? Can anyone see a problem with this? Also I use the deep litter method in our very chilly NH winters. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
     
  2. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, it could get messy, because often the bases of the needles have that sappy stuff on them. Also, the good thing about shavings is that they are kiln-dried, with very little moisture in them. Pine needles would have MUCH more moisture, and if you bag them, particularly, they'd mold. Moisture is a foe, not a friend, to chooks. I'd stick with the shavings. Maybe call around to see if you can find a decent brand that's less? Or, if you have room, call ahead and speak with the manager - often, if you speak directly to them, they'll let you purchase 20 bags or so and give you a price break. I buy them by the pallet to save $.
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    There are people who use pine needles (especially longleaf pinestraw) and have not had problems. Historically wehn this topic is brought up on BYC some people worry that the pointy bits could cause a greater rate of bumblefoot (Staph infections of the chickens' feet) but I do not know whether or not there is any evidence for this actually happening, although the possibility does seem to exist.

    So I think it's like, you think about it and you make your choice [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  4. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    I think it sounds like a wonderful idea! My first thought was as previous poster said about the pointy ends, but if they are walking on them all day outside anyway I don't see how it could hurt.
     
  5. nhchickmom

    nhchickmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 6, 2008
    Thornton, NH
    Hmmm... I would have to think about the mold issue....these are dried fallen needles, brown not green ones, I guess I can give bagging them up a try and if it doesn't seem to work go back to shavings. Thanks to all who added their input!
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Pine needles do not mold readily, because of the resins and such in them. Unless you used very old weathered pinestraw, or piled it in deep piles of already-damp material, that would not be a big concern IMO. Just get it reasonably dry before putting in the coop, is all.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  7. shotgunner78

    shotgunner78 New Egg

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    Sep 23, 2009
    Ball Ground,GA
    I know this post is a little old but I'd like to add my 2cents.I use pine straw exclusively.My chickens have never had any problem at all with it.I also read somewhere that the acidity helps keep down the louse(lice) and mites.Not sure if it's true but have never had a problem.I hope it works as well for you as it has for me.[​IMG]
     
  8. ozchookgirl

    ozchookgirl New Egg

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    Feb 6, 2013
    Hi,
    I have used dry pine needles for nesting box material without issue. The 'pine resin fragrance' helps keep the lice down. It acts as an insect/mite repellent and also makes a clean soft nesting material.It would, I think also act as a mould retardent provided the needles were dry (brown not green) to start with.
     
    carla olson likes this.
  9. Joy P

    Joy P Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 18, 2015
    It has been a few years on this post. Has anyone had any problems using dried pine needles for their bedding? I have had them in the coop for a couple of months. I don't see any problems. Any thing new to add?
     
    carla olson likes this.
  10. henless

    henless Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've been doing deep litter for almost 2 years now. I use pine straw, leaves, pine cones, sticks, grass clippings and garden leftovers in my coops and runs. Never had any problem with any of it. Besides, free is always better!

    I do put shavings in my nests. I usually change them out every 2-3 weeks depending on if they are dirty or not.
     
    carla olson likes this.

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