shavings, or hay, or straw?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by tknjk, Dec 19, 2008.

  1. tknjk

    tknjk Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 28, 2007
    Abilene, TX
    Right now I am using aspen shavings in my coop, but I was thinking about going with hay, or straw, because it is really a lot cheaper. Would there be a problem with that, and if I used the hay, or straw can I compost it afterwords?
    What would be the disadvantages of using hay, or straw?
  2. redoak

    redoak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2008
    Russia, NY
    I like shavings best, but I use dried grass clippings in the summer and dried leaves in the fall. Hay just doesn't absorb moisture like shavings do. Also I find hay is tougher to clean out of a coop unless you put it in a bedding chopper. Straw is similar to hay but I've read the hollow spaces in the straw are good places for mites to live.
  3. crazyhen

    crazyhen Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 26, 2008
    mtns of ,NC.
    I have heard that hay molds bad. That is bad for hens and people. Jean
  4. redoak

    redoak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2008
    Russia, NY
    I've never had a problem with haying getting moldy if used as bedding. Hay will get moldy if it's baled while it's wet/damp. Last year was a really wet summer and some of our hay was moldy from being baled wet/damp.
  5. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    We use hay only becuase it's free (we make it). Straw is very viable and cheaper. The biggest issue is that it 'layers' in straw|poop|straw|poop and doesn't break down very quickly. You'll end up mucking a lot out to the compost heap at the end of winter.
  6. mcg30_40

    mcg30_40 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 2, 2008
    I use pine stray in my nest. Hay and stray can be used as compost afterwards (since it's just dried grass). You do have to add some Sevin dust or similar to keep the mites out though. I use sevin dust since it isn't harmful to them or humans.
  7. waynesgarden

    waynesgarden Feathers of Steel

    Mar 30, 2008
    Oxford County
    Used 'em all. Keep the litter dry and mold should not be an issue. Shavings are the easiest to shovel out when cleaning the barn, chickens delight in dust-bathing in it and also mucking up the waterer with. Hay is the cheapest to produce yourself if you have a scythe and some overgrown lawn, shavings if you have a planer in your wood shop, straw if you have a grain mill handy. (Straw is about 8 bucks a bale here and not even worth considering buying.)

    Use whatever is cheapest. Your chickens won't care.

    That sevin dust it isn't harmful to them or humans is only a matter of opinion. I differ but that is not what you asked about.

    Last edited: Dec 19, 2008
  8. sunnydee

    sunnydee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 17, 2008
    Doesn't staw and hay cause impacted crops?
  9. bearz

    bearz Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2008
    We have tons of straw, but I'd love to find a grain mill. Where would I get one? I'm using plain old bailed straw now and I find it very annoying when I try to walk thru the coop because the long pieces stick to my shoes and drag along.

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