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Straw or hay?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by coltsrox, Jun 21, 2008.

  1. coltsrox

    coltsrox Songster

    Mar 24, 2008
    Maggie Valley, NC
    i got some free straw and they said it would be fine for bedding for chicks which is better pine or straw? i'd rather use hay or maybe switch on and off. is straw ok?
  2. FarmGirl01

    FarmGirl01 Songster

    Feb 5, 2008
    I have been using straw for years. I use it for bedding in the goat/hen barn. Straw dries faster then hay. Hay tends to get heavy and wet when used for bedding. I would think the best thing for chicks is pine shavings. Lets see what someone else thinks. Could get some good advice.
  3. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    I like pine shavings on the floor and straw in the nest box. Nest box straw ends up on the floor anyway when I clean the poo out of the boxes.

    Straw will be kinda slippery for the little chicks and they aren't quite big enough to do a good job of scratching in it.

    I understand straw to be basically the dry cut stalks from wheat. Hay is often a mix of grasses and whatever else is growing with it like alfalfa and clover. I think it is cut green and cures a bit before being baled. It might tend to mold easier than straw.

    Farmers and hay folks please chime in and correct me if I'm wrong.

    I put pine shavings in the nest boxes and the hens didn't like it so straw went back on top.
  4. Suess hens

    Suess hens Songster

    May 4, 2008
    Altadena, CA
    I used alfalfa (the sweepings from our neighbor's storage actually). the chicks like it because they eat the "flowers" off of it. I noticed it flattened faster. Currently in my coop I have pine shavings down with some alfalfa scattered around. But even horse people will tell you if your hay gets wet that there is a risk in feeding it to your horse because of mold that grows on it.
  5. Straw is good. I would use straw for the first 2 weeks, then move to pine shavings, because they absorb more. Dont use shavings for chicks under 2 weeks, as they may try to eat the shavings and get bound up.
  6. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    I used pine shavings in the brooder with no problems. Maybe I was lucky.
  7. jdr250

    jdr250 In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2008
    I read somewhere, that if you are using the deep litter method in your coop you should stick to pine as the straw tends to solidify and get stuck together making it very hard to clean. I am new to chickens but I have been using pine in the coop since they went out and it seems to work very well. Once a week when I go out to wipe down the coop I use a pitch fork and turn the pine then add some fresh. There is virtually no smell in the coop. I really like the pine.
  8. ChinaChicks1

    ChinaChicks1 Songster

    Jan 30, 2007
    NE Oklahoma
    one thing about straw that you should keep in mind is that it is hollow and harbors mites..so actually grass hay is better..jmho.
  9. montcapu

    montcapu Songster

    Apr 22, 2008
    laingsburg, MI
    good info here... thanks
  10. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    If you plan to compost your pine shavings you'll need to add some commercial lime to the compost pile to prevent it from being too acidic.

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