Pine Shavings vs Straw


Dances with Chickens
14 Years
Feb 24, 2009
Strasburg Ohio
I've been using pine shavings forever in the coop and nesting boxes, but I am thinking about using straw for the winter months. I'm wondering what you members like using the best for your coop floor and nesting boxes

Can you share your opinions?

Thank you,
I use pine shavings on the coop floor. With the deep litter method the shavings do give off some heat in the wintertime. I have always used hay in the nestboxes. It's inexpensive and easy to come by here. Straw is hard to come by.

I have a hen that takes spells of wanting to sleep in a nestbox. After fighting with her for 3 years on the issue, I decided to fill the nestbox with pine shavings. I figured the shavings would be easier to clean each morning than the hay is. Once I filled the box with shavings the hen never tried to sleep in it again.

Chickens are very much creatures of habit and dislike any change.
Do you do deep litter, or have a solid floor, or wire? I used straw last winter and it was DISGUSTING, it got wet and gross and clumpy, it just doesn't air out like pine shavings do. I found it got packed down and stuck together and I didn't like it one bit.
I have a small animal barn (or big shed, if you wanna call it that) LOL

Anyhow, there is a wooden floor, and it's built on skids so it's off the ground and doesn't get wet. Maybe I'll just keep the pine shavings for the floor, and use some hay in the nesting boxes.

I do have a hen or hens that have decided to poop in the nesting boxes, and it's driving me nuts! I might just spy on them tonight and see who the culprit is! Maybe I can relocate her to a roost in the dark. Poo in the nesting box is just icky! I have four, nice big nesting boxes, and you know what, they only use one of the nesting boxes! And somebody is pooping in the others....GRRRR!

Is there anybody that likes straw better than wood shavings?
I use hay, in the coop, in the run and in the nests. We cut and bale our own. I've not had trouble with it getting wet and I use deep liter method. I change it out in the spring, when I clean the coop and pens.
I also use hay. Bermuda Grass hay in the coop. My girls took to eating shavings early on in life and they have never lost the taste for them!! When they were old enough to go out to the coop, I used pine shavings. And I did enjoy how much smell they tend to soak up. However the shavings eating continued and I got tired of it. I was reluctant to switch to hay because I too was worried about the smell and wetness. But I have not noticed any smells in the mornings and even on the wet rainy nights with the humidity up way high, I haven't noticed any wet conditions in the coop. I use the deep litter method with the hay, however I do clean out the poo first thing in the morning when the girls leave for the day. Good luck!
I don't remember why we chose straw; it must have been a good idea at the time. At any rate, it works fine. We change it once a month and the straw and poop go into a pile and eventually into the compost or mulch for fruit trees. Pardon my ignorance, what is the difference between straw and hay? Maybe we're using hay. May the flock be with you.
I use either depending on which I lay up in the loft. I don't really find a HUGE preference either way. The yellow, quality straw is outstanding, but the chips are fine too.
A bale of clean, yellow straw is $4 and a bale of shavings is a touch more, so price isn't a huge factor.
The straw decomposes a little better in the garden. The chips are not my favorite because of that reason. If you end game is compost for the garden, the straw fits the bill a little better.
I use hay, my floor is the ground. I just keep adding to it and rake it out about once a year. No smell. My 'shed' is pretty 'airy' . It was an old boat shed made from scraps and the top doesnt meet the walls, so vented all way around with one end open.
I used pine in the brooder box.

pam in TX

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