Respiratory Problems Associated With Flake Hay?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by corliss, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. corliss

    corliss Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 7, 2010
    Has anyone heard of this? Last year I had a vet who specializes in chickens tell me that flake hay can cause lung problems. At least, I think this is what she told me but she hasn't answered my last email asking for clarification. Has anyone heard of this or experienced it first hand? Or can you think of any reason that flake hay shouldn't be given? My chickens really enjoyed it last winter, especially with all the snow which kept them in their run, and I wanted to use it again this year.
  2. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Hay can contain a lot of dust and mold if not properly cured and baled.

    Just don't breath the dust and it won't be a problem.
  3. Knock Kneed Hen

    Knock Kneed Hen California Dream'in Chickens

    Feb 15, 2010
    So. Cal.
    I gave my chickens alfalfa during the winter last year without any problems. Hay can get moldy. You can smell it and see it. If you feed moldy hay to any animal the animal can get sick, even die. Just break open the flake, do an inspection, if it looks good then throw it in and let them enjoy!
  4. Pony Trotsky

    Pony Trotsky Out Of The Brooder

    May 24, 2011
    Moldy grass hay can be hard to recognize in an unopened bale, but will be immediately obvious once you open the bale and separate it into flakes. The mold usually looks grayish, smells yucky, and the hay itself looks sort of "stuck together." It produces a very fine dust that looks like cigar smoke when the flake is shaken or pulled apart. It's this "smoke" that's dangerous - to chickens, horses and people alike.

    If you're buying hay, avoid bales that seem excessively heavy (this can mean they were baled too wet and/or too tightly) and hay that releases smokey-looking dust when thumped or dropped. Ask for "horse hay," and avoid anything that looks like it got rained on. Absolutely, positively avoid anything labeled "mulch hay" - that stuff is deadly.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by