Rice Hulls Bedding is Magic

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by theRazorBlade, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. theRazorBlade

    theRazorBlade Out Of The Brooder

    10
    2
    24
    Jan 1, 2010
    Los Gatos, CA
    I haven't seen rice hulls mentioned much so I've decided to draw people's attention to it as a great material for bedding. I have been using it for over a year for both chickens and ducks with great success. It is amazing how much better results I get with the ducks over pine shavings.

    The main advantages of using rice hulls are:

    1. Does not absorbs water

    While clumps of rice hulls can retain water in large quantities, overall the material has no capacity to retain water which means most liquids quickly sink to the bottom. If you have a well drained floor (or using rice hulls over a think weed cloth over a metal mesh), the bedding will stay mostly dry. This is especially great with ducks and ducklings as they are messy with their water. In the duck brood I just move the bedding around the waterer under the heat lamp once ever few days and it keeps the brood dry and mostly odor free (wood shaving tend to stink up the place in under two days and must be replaced as they take a long time to dry).

    2. Produces useful dust

    Dust can be a problem for chickens and ducks but I never had any problem from rice hulls dust. On the other hand, the dusk is extremely useful when using the deep litter system. Any poop falling on the bedding gets immediately covered in a thin layer of dust and hulls, making it non-sticky and it dries much faster. I have 24 hens in a 6 x 12 coop, and I don't bother removing any bedding or poop anywhere for a whole year. The only smell inside is the feed. This is mostly because the poop (both on the bedding and under the roost) dries up extremely fast thanks to the rice hulls.

    3. Cheap

    At the local feed stores in Northern California, rice hulls are about 30-40% cheaper than shavings.

    4. Easy to work with

    Easy to spread, mix, level, and remove.

    5. Has no odor

    Wood shavings, especially pine, have a very strong scent which together with urine can be very intense and offensive to both fowl and people. Rice hulls have no smell at all.

    6. Lasts forever

    Because it doesn't retain moisture, it doesn't grow mold or any other bacteria like wet shavings. I have stored opened bags for over a year and it stayed in the same condition.


    I still don't know how well it decomposes once removed but I will find out soon enough when I clean the coop and compost the mix.

    What is your experience like?

    EHL
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2010
    1 person likes this.
  2. bakindance

    bakindance Out Of The Brooder

    38
    0
    32
    Oct 1, 2010
    Ontario Canada
    I am facinated!!! I have never heard of this before! Does anyone know if you can buy them in Canada?[​IMG]
     
  3. Cindiloohoo

    Cindiloohoo Quiet as a Church Mouse

    7,470
    14
    253
    Dec 19, 2009
    Southwest TN
    Sounds like a great alternative to shavings!
     
  4. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,450
    16
    171
    Jun 15, 2008
    Yup, rice hulls are majic alright... when I used them in my horse stalls, they disapeared from the stalls and were mysterously seen everywhere else without any of my help.
     
  5. theRazorBlade

    theRazorBlade Out Of The Brooder

    10
    2
    24
    Jan 1, 2010
    Los Gatos, CA
    I wouldn't use it in a high traffic area or space that cannot contain them without spilling over.
     
  6. Chicky Tocks

    Chicky Tocks [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2666.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG] Ru

    Oct 20, 2008
    Benton, Arkansas
    I used them once when my co-op was out of shavings. I'm not beyond using them again, but for now I have a deep litter bed of shavings that I don't plan to change out until spring.
     
  7. LMEggs

    LMEggs Show Me Feathers Poultry CO

    474
    4
    151
    May 4, 2008
    I LOVE rice hulls!!! They are amazing and the chickens and other birds love them! and theres tiny bits of rice in them sometimes and they pick it out (Not enough to hurt them but it adds chicken scratching enjoyment) My grandma used to work for riceland and we get extras! they are great for deep litter methods! and your right no molding! no standing mud holes or water puddles! NO MUD! Using them in horse stalls is not good however horses can colic on rice hulls. They do not have the system of a chicken or pigs. THEY WORK AWESOME IN PIG HOUSES AND PENS!!!
     
  8. Carols Clucks

    Carols Clucks Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,790
    21
    153
    Oct 13, 2010
    Do you have any feed stores that you can list in CA that sell the hulls?

    I am not having much luck with googling for them.

    Thanks
     
  9. theRazorBlade

    theRazorBlade Out Of The Brooder

    10
    2
    24
    Jan 1, 2010
    Los Gatos, CA
    Quote:I get all my supplies from Mountain Feed & Farm Supply in Ben Lomond in the Santa Cruz Mountains, but I have found rice hulls in most feed stores in this area. The all see rice halls from Mallard Creek:

    http://www.mallardcreekinc.com/shavings.html
     
  10. The Sheriff

    The Sheriff Overrun With Chickens

    11,140
    145
    321
    Jun 17, 2009
    Northern CA
    I have been using rice hulls in my brooders for about a year and love it. I used it only once in the main coop over a vinyl floor. I found the rice hulls to be too slippery for the big birds. When they hop down off the roost they would slide across the floor. Maybe I just didn't have a deep enough layer. My board that keeps the shavings in is about four inches tall and they threw a lot of rice hulls over that and into the yard. They LOVE to dig in the rice hulls.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by