Straw or Wood Shavings?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ssteiner, Nov 25, 2008.

  1. ssteiner

    ssteiner Songster

    Nov 24, 2008
    Orange, CA
    My "coop" is a former doghouse which I've filled with wood shavings. The nesting box is a shoe box, similarly filled. It's attached to a 2X6 foot enclosed run. Any opinions, however on whether straw or wood shavings are better? Thanks.
  2. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    Wood shavings are easier to clean, but my preference is straw in the nest boxes. It seems to conform better to the nest shape, and keep the girls snuggly! Really helps out if you get a broody.
  3. RIVERA69R

    RIVERA69R Songster

    Jun 9, 2008
    This is an ongoing topic and like i was told people who use straw (hay) and have not had a problem say its safe but people who have used hay and the chickens had there crop blocked up with it say to use shavings so its a live and learn deal but if you want to be totally safe use shavings and the deep litter method i hear works great. My chicks are coming end of december and i will use hay for the nesting boxes and the deep litter method with pine shavings for the floor, hope this helps
  4. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    There is a big difference between straw and hay. Hay is something I feed my rabbits and horses, straw is something for them to poop on. If people are having problems with hay, maybe they should give more grit. But if you don't want your hens eating all their nest bedding, I would not use hay.
  5. There are alot of other threads regarding this topic and I have seen in several of them that straw can aid bug infestations.
    Apparently since its basically hollow it gives mites and other creepy crawlies a place to live.
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I don't think I can recall anyone posting about problems with an impacted crop from STRAW, just hay (they are considerably different things).

    I use shavings just b/c it's what I use for bedding too, but if I had straw around for another reason I might use it in nest boxes. I am not at all certain it makes much difference one way or the other, frankly.

    Good luck, have fun,

  7. freemotion

    freemotion Songster

    Nov 10, 2008
    Western MA
    Hay is grass that is cut and dried when it is still green, and is used as food for animals that eat grass.

    Straw is the mature stems of grasses that are grown as grains, such as oats, barley, wheat. It is what is left over after harvesting the grains. It is very tough and has almost no food value, so it is primarily used as bedding or mulch (since the seeds are removed.)

    Think of a bamboo stake, then think of the bamboo shoots in your chinese food. Same basic plant species, different age and use and variety. Close, but not interchangeable.

    Same with straw and hay, but slightly more interchangeable....
  8. RIVERA69R

    RIVERA69R Songster

    Jun 9, 2008
    Just looked it up on google search hay vs straw now i clearly know the difference there is my new knowledge of the day. Straw is dried stalks of wheat, barley, cereal grains, etc. haw is mowed grasses and such thanks for the red flag
  9. Kitchenella

    Kitchenella In the Brooder

    Oct 11, 2008
    Beitar Illit, Israel
    Hi, I'm also fairly new here. Sound like you have a small flock. I have 4 hens . My coop is 3ftX2.5ftx3 ft high. It is raised on 3ft legs. The run is 2.5 ft by 9 ft and includes the part under the coop. I don't have storage space and don't even know where to get shavings or straw and don't have a car so I was at a loss for bedding. I took a suggestion from the forum and am using shredded newspaper. I use it in the coop and in the nesting box. The run is dirt now but I will add sand on top when I find a source. I shred the paper myself with my paper cutter. Just tear the newspaper into wide strips and cut strips about 1-2" wide. I keep it in a garbage bag. I use about 1/3 bag when I clean out the coop. (About every 3-4 weeks depending on how much time they spend in there. I am starting a small compost pile in the corner behind the coop and plan to add worms when it gets going.

    So far it works fine. The floor of the coop stays very clean and the coop doesn't smell bad.

    Its cheap and easy. (I know the cutting paper sounds time consuming but I do it once a week when I'm listening to the radio in the evening. Takes about 10 min to do 1/3 bag.

    Have fun,

  10. Chicken Woman

    Chicken Woman Incredible Egg

    Oct 16, 2008
    I found that when I had shavings in the boxes my girls wanted to sleep there and poop !!! YUKKY !! [​IMG]
    When I changed to straw they lay in there fine but don't sleep there. [​IMG]

    I also find in this dry climate shavings in the coop causes alot of dust flying around. I just use straw and sprinkle a little DE for any bugs etc. i change it out almost every week.

    My girls mostly poop on the 20 inch wide poop board under the roosts so I do sprinkle some shavings on the poop board and change out the trays every week. Otherwise they are in the run and poop out there. My coop's floor stays pretty clean that way.[​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2008

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