straw as bedding?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by figuerjo03, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. figuerjo03

    figuerjo03 New Egg

    Nov 22, 2010
    Kempner, TX
    After using pine shavings in our coop, my husband has decided to try straw. I think it makes sense that it may work, but we're still relatively new at this. Does anyone else use straw as bedding? Is there some health reason NOT to use straw? Thanks.
  2. Sjisty

    Sjisty Scribe of Brahmalot

    May 18, 2009
    I tried straw - it just got wet and moldy, not to mention poopy. The shavings are much easier to manage. We just stir them up once a week to mix in the chicken poo. A little Diatemaceous earth sprinkled on top once a week and some Sweet PDZ if it rains for days and the coop gets wet.

    We did put some hay down last night. We have a couple of guys who don't roost, so hopefully the hay was a little added insulation to keep them warm.
  3. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    People use all sorts of things, including straw. Most have advantages and disadvantages. With straw, once in a while a chicken eats so much of it that she gets an impacted crop, but no more often than I see it mentioned on here, this has to be unusual.

    Whoever cleans the coop will probably prefer the pine shavings for odor and less messiness, too. But it can certainly be done. I used hay for a year or so til I joined BYC and learned about pine shavings. Still use hay occasionally as I can buy it locally and have to drive further to get pine shavings, and I prefer it in the nests. Plugs up drafty holes better, too.
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Straw's okay if you like it. Chopped straw is a lot harder to obtain/make, for most people, but a lot easier to work with than normal long-staple straw right off the bale. The main knock against long-staple straw IMHO is that it is hard to spot-clean... to a considerable degree it's all-or-nothing. If the bales start off with a load of mold spores then it can be more prone to mold over time, but IME in horse barns good bright clean dry mold-free bales do not do anything unsavory when used, unless left sitting there in wet bedding for much too long. Pooey straw composts a little faster than equally-pooey shavings, although some straw fragments remain and the result is not as fine-textured.

    For most people, honestly, I think the choice comes down to price and convenient availability. The people who use straw seem to be primarily people who either live somewhere you can't obtain affordable baled shavings, or have a real cheap source of straw.

    Try it, see how you like it, if you don't like it then you can always switch back [​IMG] I do not recommend mixing shavings and straw, it combines the worst of both worlds and is SUPER hard to spot-clean.

    Good luck, have fun,

  5. jaloola

    jaloola Happy Joyous & Free

    Oct 21, 2010
    I've been putting down a piece of cardboard then shredded paper...I just shred up my junk mail.
    Once a week I pick it all up by rolling everything up in the cardboard.
    My two girls sleep in the nest together so it gets kinda messy. Sure wish they would take to their perch...
  6. Steak and Eggs Farm

    Steak and Eggs Farm Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 1, 2010
    The shavings work like litter does in a cat box. Absorbs moisture and some smells. Put some scratch on it and the chickens will stir it up. the pine shavings will continue to dry the droppings and cleanup is easy with a shovel. I clean out my coop 3 to 4 times a year but continually add more shavings to the nest boxes to keep the eggs clean.
  7. OkChickens

    OkChickens Orpingtons Are Us

    Dec 1, 2010
    Owasso, Oklahoma
    I use straw for the floor of my coop, but I use pine shavings for my nest boxes.

    1. It is much cheaper than pine shavings. I have a very large coop that requires 2-3 bales of Straw which is about $3 a piece here. I change it out about 3-4 times a year in the "coop" I clean up where they roost at night about 1 time a month. (52 chickens makes a lot of poop at night)

    2. I use pine shavings in my nest boxes because I have not seen an egg before and left it in the box. One day I walked out and 1 only 1 RIR chick was running around in my coop! I changed to pine shavings because its easier to see eggs now!

    3. Straw and hay are different, people think its the same but hay is from grass that animals eat and straw is from wheat. Straw makes much better bedding than hay. Straw is much thicker.

    Hope this helps!

    1 person likes this.
  8. crazy4chix

    crazy4chix Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 25, 2010
    Straw is yellow and is cut after the wheat heads have have been harvested. Hay is green and is used to feed horses and cattle. Don't use hay. It molds fast in moisture. I use straw for my 4 hens and a rooster. I have an 8 x 10 coop and I just layer it and change it out every two months or so. It seems to work well.
  9. tedabug

    tedabug Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    The question is, will it be getting wet? I've tried so many different things and have decided a layer of 2" sand topped with straw is my favorite. I have sand and wood chips outside the coop/run and aesthetically, I don't like it when they kick the pine shavings out all over the ground outside through the doorways. I have a long narrow run, so it is hard to get all those shavings out and replaced. With straw, I go out every two weeks and simply leaf rake the straw into the yard debris container, leaving the sand in the bottom, and simply throw more fresh straw in on top. It takes two minutes and doesn't mess up the look of the outside. I have had a couple of leaks and found it moldy, though mine gets changed often enough. If it stays dry, it won't mold so badly. The sand underneath dehydrates the poo as well. i'll post a couple of pics...

    If your strictly talking nesting boxes, I use both. Straw around the outside to form the nest, and shavings filling up the middle, but that's just what works for me...I do use shavings under the roosts so it's easier to sweep them into a dust pan and discard..

    Last edited: Dec 14, 2010
  10. laturcotte1

    laturcotte1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2010
    On the floor I use shavings. Its great for spot cleaning, the poop lands on the shaving which absorb the poop then I go in with gloves on and a trash barrel cover pick up all the pooped in the shavings re-cover the spots I cleaned and we're good to go. Their nesting boxes all have hay in them. I have horses and goats so we get hay and the chickens like to munch on the hay, great for winter when there is no grass to eat. They don't poop in the nesting boxes they lay eggs in so that's good but I have a few boxes they cuddle in to keep warm. I just remove any wet/poop from those areas, replenish and again we're good to go. Empty the cover in the barrell, it takes me 5 minutes to clean everyday. I also sprinkle within the hay a little Sevin. I am able to store everything in the coop under their nesting boxes; a bag of shavings/bale of hay/tupperware container of scratch/tupperware container of shells. Shavings is the way to go for absorption a little Sweet PDZ for freshness. Clean once a day and you'll have eggs all winter.

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