Straw or hay????????????

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by gabby3535, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. gabby3535

    gabby3535 Songster

    I've always thought 'hay' was okay as bedding in the coop..........and if the girls actually 'ate' some of it, that was fine.
    But, the other day, a friend who has chickens told me 'she' was told to always use STRAW in the coop....and NEVER hay.....
    that chickens won't eat straw, but might eat the hay, and run the risk of an impacted crop.
    Then someone else said to never use straw, because chickens will eat it!!

    So which is it!?!?
    Or are neither ok around chickens?

  2. ChickieBooBoo

    ChickieBooBoo Cold Canadian Chick

    Dec 2, 2009
    I use straw, never had a problem. And I've seen people with lay, never had a problem. I would use straw though, its cheaper.

    NYREDS Crowing

    Jan 14, 2008
    I use straw & wish it was cheaper here. Straw, as the chickens scratch through it breaks down because it is brittle. Hay, because it is more fiberous does not break down, it tends to mat making cleaning the pens much more difficult.
    As to the risk of impacted crop from eating hay I would rate that as a very unlikely problem.
  4. PepsNick

    PepsNick Back to Business

    May 9, 2010
    Egglanta, GA
    do straw for sefety. i hear hay can also attracts rodents, which are big poultry predators! [​IMG] i use pine straw and it works great. [​IMG]

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 20, 2010

  5. vatterpa

    vatterpa Songster

    May 4, 2010
    Indiana, PA
    most chickens I know dont want to eat hay, only if there isnt anything else availible. I use wood chips. They are fairly inexpensive and last for a long time. My chooks didn't like the hay I had, so wood it is. You can try craigslist for old hay that is less appitizing and cheaper if you can't find straw.
  6. cashdl

    cashdl Songster

    Nov 25, 2008
    I use pine shavings. They are warm, soft, clean, smell good, and compost really fast when moved to the compost pile. Plus it is easy to pick thru the shaving to clean especially in the nest boxs.

  7. southphoenixchick

    southphoenixchick In the Brooder

    Sep 16, 2010
    I've been using hay for about two months. I don't think my girls it the hay at all though. The hay out here is mostly alfalfa though you can really smell it and it is very green. I've used pine shavings too though. Personally my girls don't seem bothered by either. Good luck!

  8. j egger

    j egger Chirping

    Sep 16, 2010
    Georgetown, TX
    I use hay and it's been fine.[​IMG]
  9. joebryant

    joebryant Crowing

    I wouldn't use either. They both cause too many problems. I only use pine shavings and diatomaceous earth.

  10. HeatherFeather

    HeatherFeather Songster

    Feb 16, 2009
    Severn Bridge, ON
    pine shavings are definately my fav. They keep the humidity down and you don't have to clean as much.

    That being said----I use straw.

    Hay mats and rots too fast. I also DID have a chicken with an impacted crop last winter, after using some hay.

    Why do I use straw if pine is better? Straw is cheaper. It also does rot faster on the compost pile than wood, or rather needs less poop (nitrogen) to make the compost reaction occur (wood has more carbon)

    Where I live, people heat with wood, including the sawdust, which is made into pellets for pellet stoves. So that market pays more....making wood shavings more expensive than they used to be.

    Straw is also a better ecological choice, as you aren't relying on the forestry industry, and I've yet to see any shavings marketed as sustainably harvested.

    But yeh, shavings are still better performance wise. Forget hay, it sucks. And it moulds and makes you sneeze/sick (vomit) too if you breathe the mold.

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