Straw or Alfalfa?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Anna_MN, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. Anna_MN

    Anna_MN Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 4, 2011
    Princeton, MN
    I have been using straw for the nest boxes and on the floor of the coop for my 3 ladies. They seemed to like it. However, I am getting to the end of my straw bale and I have a friend who will give me a free alfalfa bale for a dozen eggs. I have a few questions-

    1.) Is alfalfa even good for my girls?

    2.) If alfalfa is okay for them, would it be better to use straw or alfalfa?

    3.) What kind of bedding do you use? Why?

    Thank you so much for the help! Here is a picture of my girls in their new coop. You may notice that there are 4 girls in the picture- sadly my huge Gold Star, Reba, died a couple days ago [​IMG]

  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    A bale of alfalfa for a dozen eggs is a GREAT barter. The hens will love the alfalfa. They'll likely pick the leaves and enjoy it very much. I don't know if the stems of alfalfa will provide you the bedding qualities you've enjoyed with straw, so I'd buy enough straw bale, but I'd sure toss them a slice of alfalfa once in a while for them to enjoy. Since winter is upon us, the green nutrients and protein of alfalfa would provide them a nice change.
  3. stone_family3

    stone_family3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2011
    My girls like Alfalfa better than stray, they like straw better than shavings. I found out the hard way [​IMG]

    On my floors I have all three, in their nesting boxes I have alfalfa. I buy it because I have rabbits, but use it for my girls because it's cheap.
  4. binders

    binders Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2011
    Had straw as a bedding and then tried shavings and love the shavings. Won't go back to straw. I give them alfalfa as a treat to eat and they love the green during the winter. They eat the leaves and leave the stem which then cover the ground.
    I like the shavings because they are easy to fluff up and stir around and the chickens seem much more interested in stirring it around and mixing it themselves. The straw wasn't very absorbent and just got nasty after a while.
  5. cjexotic

    cjexotic Cj's Mandarin Ducks

    Mar 11, 2008
    Central PA
    Quote:Plus I think straw is harder to clean out when its time for coop cleaning compared to shavings.
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Quote:Plus I think straw is harder to clean out when its time for coop cleaning compared to shavings.

    No pitchfork? [​IMG]
  7. ParadiseFoundFarm

    ParadiseFoundFarm Goddess of Good Things

    Jul 6, 2010
    Joliet, IL
    My nest boxes have shredded newspaper. It's warm free and plentiful.
    The coop area gets alfalfa/grass mix. Like said earlier, the kids love to peck at it and it stays fluffier. Part of my open coop area is exposed to the elements. Straw is hardest to remove and replace with fresh after it gets wet and/or frozen. I like the mix bales and they work best for us.
  8. trailchick

    trailchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yes, what binder said about giving them the alfalfa for a treat ....
    I have alfalfa bc it is grown around here, and it will have I think, about a 12% protein,
    if not more if you have a very leafy bale. Guess you could look online to see what else is in it,
    like calcium, and more micronutrients. But I use it for greens only and have not tried in the nest boxes,
    since they like to eat the green leaf, & not much green around here right now.
    Straw is easier to find here for nestboxes, and shavings harder to find bc there are not many forest growth where I am at...
    So it all depends on your particular circumstances!
  9. LoveNewChicks

    LoveNewChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 30, 2011
    I don't know,
    My Coop
    I use a mix of alfalfa and straw, don't know what is better.
  10. Anna_MN

    Anna_MN Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 4, 2011
    Princeton, MN
    I got the alfalfa bale for the girls today and they pigged out on the small handful I put in there. Maybe i'll keep the straw in the boxes and a small layer on the floor and give the alfalfa as a treat- I think they would explode if I put it everywhere [​IMG]

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