Poisonous CEDAR?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by FlowerFarmer, Apr 4, 2011.

  1. FlowerFarmer

    FlowerFarmer Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 10, 2011
    We just finished the coop! Yay!
    Now I hear that cedar can be poisonous to chickens? what?
    The cedar shake is only on the outside of the coop, are there are cedar deviders in the nesting boxes, but those can be replaced if this is true. They've been outside for 24 hours now and don't seem to mind. Has anyone heard of this? And will they be safe if the cedar is only on the outside of the coop?
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Anything that is highly aromatic like cedar causes respiratory problems in chickens, sorry. Never use cedar shavings.

    If the coop has inner walls of different material, but cedar outside, that would probably be okay, but yup, cedar can be toxic to chickens.
  3. Mmmaddie13

    Mmmaddie13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2011
    Fort Collins, CO
    I'm building most of my chicken coop out of cedar as well, so I'll be following for an answer. [​IMG]
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    This comes up here a couple times a week, seems like. If you want threads discussing it in detail, try 'search', for your reading pleasure [​IMG]

    Readers Digest version: cedar lumber, used even halfway-sensibly, does not cause problems. (I.e. remember you are building a coop *not* a cedar chest to store woollens in; and have plenty of ventilation, no matter WHAT the coop is made of).

    Cedar *shavings* (whcih are made of a different kind of tree than cedar lumber) are what's generally considered a bit iffy. But even with them, so many people have kept chickens on them for so many years without problems that I think the worst you can possibly say is that *in rare circumstances* (e.g. chicks and insufficient ventilation) they may have some risk of causing respiratory issues. With lots of ventilation, and for lots and lots of people, they certainly SEEM to be fine.

    That said, I would not use them myself -- but it is not like cedar shavings are anything like the automatic death sentence that BYCers sometimes treat them as. And I know of absolutely no evidence whatsoever that using cedar WOOD for your coop is a problem, unless you've done something odd.

    JMHO, good luck, have fun,

  5. FlowerFarmer

    FlowerFarmer Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 10, 2011
    Quote:Yes I heard that about the shavings. But the chickens would be walking in and potentially eating the shavings. They're also more aromatic in that form. So I thought maybe the shake siding on the outside would be okay. I'd hate to wait until my chickens had trouble breathing before I knew enough.
    Thanks and I hope to hear more....
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I'd remove the nest dividers since they sit close to those for long periods of time, but the shakes may be okay. There are some things that avian species cannot handle that humans can, like benzocaine/lidocaine anesthetics and many aromatics like citronella.
  7. AtholCoop

    AtholCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 27, 2008
    North Idaho
    As long as you're not talking about the cedar that is generally used for closet lining purposes (which isn't techincally cedar, but juniper), you'll be fine. Anything outside of the structure regardless of what it is will be fine ie shakes trim etc.
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Definitely not "instant death", but just be aware of aromatics causing issues with chickens. I used to put a few handfuls of cedar shavings underneath the straw in the nestboxes to deter bugs and on occasion, a sprinkle under the roost in the pine shavings, but I have great ventilation in my coops and in those tiny amounts, it wouldn't cause much problem.
  9. ThinkingChickens

    ThinkingChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2011
    Not all cedar is treated with oils. We used organic cedar mulch in our coop, as do many people, and it hasn't caused problems. The wood needs to air out but from the dozens and dozens of things I've read, once aired, it's fine.
  10. Gospel_Bird_house

    Gospel_Bird_house Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 14, 2011
    By the advice of some friends I got my cedar siding and some shavings to mix in from a local sawmill that sell unoiled,untreated natural cedar. My friends use it and have never had a problem.

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