1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Pine needles in with wood shavings

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by OrangeCrushCJ7, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. OrangeCrushCJ7

    OrangeCrushCJ7 Out Of The Brooder

    15
    0
    22
    Apr 18, 2009
    Barre, MA
    I tried searching, but came up primarily with results talking about using them as gardening mulch or compost. I have an abundance of pine needles. I was hoping I could finally have a use for them with the chickens. Can I use them safely in the coop as the litter, or in addition to the pine shaving litter with the deep litter method? I imagine it would work well in nest boxes too.
     
  2. SoJoChickens

    SoJoChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    235
    0
    109
    Mar 9, 2009
    Fountain Green, UT
    I would be wary about using pine needles for litter and/or bedding material. Once they begin breaking down, they could create small, stiff, sharp pieces that could become impacted if your chickens eat them. Also, I'm not sure how much moisture they would absorb. I'm interested in hearing others' opinions on this topic.
     
  3. OrangeCrushCJ7

    OrangeCrushCJ7 Out Of The Brooder

    15
    0
    22
    Apr 18, 2009
    Barre, MA
    well, if that is the case, I'll have problems with them eating the ones that fall all around the yard and into the proposed run. I primarily only have pine trees in my yard, and there are 4 large pines directly around the coop
     
  4. Chicks_N_Horses

    Chicks_N_Horses Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2009
    South Alabama
    I live in the middle of the piney woods lol and there is like 3 inches of pine straw everywhere. I use it in my coops and I have never had a problem. Although I rake it out once a week and add new so I am not sure about them ingesting broken down straw peices. I have free rangers that get out with pine needles. IDK....maybe I am just lucky but I make good use of our pine needles in flower beds, nest boxes, and bedding and I have never had a problem. *knock on wood* [​IMG]
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    78
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Mixing pine straw with shavings will make it harder to clean the coop than if you used either one alone. You might want to just stick with the pine straw for the *run*, where their properties are useful (non absorbant, very slow to break down) and use just shavings for the coop where *their* properties are useful (absorbant, compost pretty well with enough poo mixed in) (of course pine needles will compost too, esp. with enough poo mixed in, but takes longer to get to a fine-textured consistency).

    Some BYCers have suggested pine straw might ought to be a risk factor for bumblefoot, but I'm not aware of there being lots of concrete persuasive evidence either direction.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat, who worked with a lot of pine straw in grad school and has nostalgic feelings about it [​IMG]
     
  6. OrangeCrushCJ7

    OrangeCrushCJ7 Out Of The Brooder

    15
    0
    22
    Apr 18, 2009
    Barre, MA
    nostalgic enough to come rake them up this fall for us?! LOL. I personally despise them.
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    78
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Well I will admit that having bought a house with several pines in the front yard, and having to weed the garden beds under those pines (usually barehanded b/c who ever remembers where the gloves are?), HAS put a BIT of a dent in my warm fuzzy feelings for pine straw [​IMG]

    It composts down into the most wonderful, wonderful mulch or soil amendment, though! Not prickly or long-fibered anymore.

    Pat
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by