Styrofoam with chickens?

Kajoda929

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Apr 27, 2020
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Sooo...I am on a local chicken page and someone brought this up with many confirming it as "good practice" from hatch to run...According to these people, they put Styrofoam in their brooders and runs to keep their chickens from pecking each other and feather picking. Now past the claim that the Styrofoam won't hurt them, I got griped out at one point for giving what some deemed to be "too young" chickens greens...I'm just curious how Styrofoam could be ok from day one, but natural greens and crushed insects are not. I never had a huge issue with this as the main reason for this is boredom and when I saw they were getting bored, I got cat toys and tree branches and they were fine...

Anyway, I kind of wanted to know for my own peace of mind for the most part
 
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Wyorp Rock

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I think you need to stay off the local chicken page :lol:

Chickens love styrofoam, but personally I do everything I can to keep mine from eating it. If chicks are feather picking one another, then very likely the brooder space is too small. Heat may need to be adjusted as well.

Personally, I have never thought chicks "too young" to have access to a small amount of greens, fruit, etc. while in a brooder. Chick grit is the first thing I serve incubated and broodered chicks. They also get a pan of dirt to dig in.

This past year was the first time I had broody raised chicks (American Gamefowl hen with chicks). This mob ran all over the backyard and woods - I never once heard that hen tell her chicks not to eat a bug she found under the leaves nor did she say they couldn't eat tender young shoots of grass.

Brooder raised chicks do seem more bored than those with a hen, but styrofoam, imho, is not a solution - while a small amount may not hurt them, it's really something they should not be given as a distraction. You did what was needed and provided them with a perch and other things to focus on. Personally, I hope to never raise chicks in a brooder again and let a hen take care of it from now on:)

Just my 2¢
 

Kajoda929

Songster
Apr 27, 2020
173
263
141
Central California
I think you need to stay off the local chicken page :lol:

Chickens love styrofoam, but personally I do everything I can to keep mine from eating it. If chicks are feather picking one another, then very likely the brooder space is too small. Heat may need to be adjusted as well.

Personally, I have never thought chicks "too young" to have access to a small amount of greens, fruit, etc. while in a brooder. Chick grit is the first thing I serve incubated and broodered chicks. They also get a pan of dirt to dig in.

This past year was the first time I had broody raised chicks (American Gamefowl hen with chicks). This mob ran all over the backyard and woods - I never once heard that hen tell her chicks not to eat a bug she found under the leaves nor did she say they couldn't eat tender young shoots of grass.

Brooder raised chicks do seem more bored than those with a hen, but styrofoam, imho, is not a solution - while a small amount may not hurt them, it's really something they should not be given as a distraction. You did what was needed and provided them with a perch and other things to focus on. Personally, I hope to never raise chicks in a brooder again and let a hen take care of it from now on:)

Just my 2¢


I agree 100% with you. Chicks not getting insects or greens was actually from this site. I got quite a bit of misinformation that time, but I figured out what was actually wrong with them myself and they were fine. I just couldn't see that many people recommending something that could make any of us sick to feed their chickens on a regular basis. One of the videos attached showed a good 20 chicks in a very small space with the heat lamp low, so it's possible they're just overdoing it all around and figure that's the best solution...I just don't like the idea for myself, let alone to recommend it to others.
 

Wyorp Rock

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I agree 100% with you. Chicks not getting insects or greens was actually from this site. I got quite a bit of misinformation that time, but I figured out what was actually wrong with them myself and they were fine. I just couldn't see that many people recommending something that could make any of us sick to feed their chickens on a regular basis. One of the videos attached showed a good 20 chicks in a very small space with the heat lamp low, so it's possible they're just overdoing it all around and figure that's the best solution...I just don't like the idea for myself, let alone to recommend it to others.
I'm not surprised that you say that here on BYC. There's a wide variety of views (opinions!) and practices. No one does the same thing and what works for one may not for another.

Find what works for your set-up and situation and stick with it.
 

ChassiNoir

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May 21, 2017
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I heard that styrofoam is really unable to pass well through the digestive system; this isn’t even mentioning that it’s not a very safe substance (tell a human doctor that it’s safe to eat styrofoam and they might up your crazy meds). It doesn’t decompose or do so quickly and really it’s an environmental problem already (in my opinion).

That being said, our communal homestead chickens would rather dive head first into styrofoam than any finest feed or scratch you could buy. So much that a huge stack my friend’s mum had saved for insulation was decimated before anyone knew what the chickens were doing.

Also, the person who posted about chicks and styrofoam need to take their crazy meds or have the dosage upped.
 

IamRainey

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Why on earth would you want chicks ingesting styrofoam? Whether or not they can pass it, it has no nutritional value and could keep them from getting the feed that will help them get good starts and grow.

As for bullying, I think the best remedy for that is the same one for the coop and run: let them have enough space.

I don't see styrofoam adding anything at all to a chick's prospects.
 

aart

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According to these people, they put Styrofoam in their brooders and runs to keep their chickens from pecking each other and feather picking
I read that here on BYC the other day, first time in 7 years on multiple chicken forums I've ever seen it.
Not a good idea.
Other things to peck on and climb on and under is good tho.
Adequate space is most important.
 

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