Using old hay as bedding?

Jrios58

Chirping
May 1, 2020
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What are your thoughts on using old hay for bedding in the coop? I may be getting a round bale of old hay to use as bedding for my goats. Their shed is open on one side so dust/ mold won't be a problem like it might be in the coop.

Currently I'm using straw for the hens. It's too expensive for goat bedding though.
 

Percheron chick

Crowing
Apr 12, 2013
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Boulder, Colorado
Depends. Some year old hay is still excellent if it was put up right. You still don't want musty smelling hay as it is probably loaded with mold spores. If you unwrap a few layers and the bale is fresh and green, the goats will end up eating the bedding. A bale of mature, stemmy hay that smells sweet is your best bet.
Leaves make good free bedding for both chickens and goats.
 
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NatJ

Crowing
Mar 20, 2017
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USA
What are your thoughts on using old hay for bedding in the coop?
Hay is often in long pieces, and sometimes those can mat into a mess in the chicken coop. This applies no matter whether it's old hay or new hay.

Since you are already using straw, then you might not notice any difference in that respect, but it is the first thing that comes to my mind when someone asks about hay as bedding.

If you open the bale of hay and the quality seems OK, then I'd try it and see how it goes.
 

Jrios58

Chirping
May 1, 2020
51
69
61
Depends. Some year old hay is still excellent if it was put up right. You still don't want musty smelling hay as it is probably loaded with mold spores. If you unwrap a few layers and the bale is fresh and green, the goats will end up eating the bedding. A bale of mature, stemmy hay that smells sweet is your best bet.
Leaves make good free bedding for both chickens and goats.
Thanks, this would be one of those giant round bales of cow hay. They weigh maybe a half ton. You peel off the layers maybe a foot down to get to decent hay unless it's too moldy and you can't always tell from the outside. I'm actually fine with the goats eating it altho they are picky, believe it or not! More concerned about how chickens handle mold and dust. We don't have enough leaves to bother raking! (Our place is in N Texas, north of DFW on what used to be a hay field)
 

U_Stormcrow

Songster
Jun 7, 2020
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North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
I use hay currently (not spent) as bedding, which then becomes incorporated with leaf litter into the deep litter system below my coup, where the ducks nest.

Not knowing the condition of the spent hay, I'd be more likely to use it in my run (also deep litter), than in my coup. The biggest considerations for a coup are ventilation and moisture control (which is part of the ventilation equation), so anything that might bring moisture in with it is a no go for me. Dried droppings from other critters would be much less of a concern, in my (not even a little bit expert) opinion, since few diseases cross species like that, and because those things are already generally present in the environment, assuming your chickens are housed not far from your goats.


Just jawboning here, as I don't (yet) have goats on my own property to have direct experience, but those are my inclinations based on my readings and suppositions.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
Sep 13, 2011
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I find baled shavings (or bulk shavings under a tarp) much easier to use as bedding, rather than either straw or hay. We have a few horses and cattle too, and shavings are so much less difficult to clean out!
I agree about the hay quality issues; moldy stuff isn't good for anyone to inhale!
Mary
 

Jrios58

Chirping
May 1, 2020
51
69
61
I use hay currently (not spent) as bedding, which then becomes incorporated with leaf litter into the deep litter system below my coup, where the ducks nest.

Not knowing the condition of the spent hay, I'd be more likely to use it in my run (also deep litter), than in my coup. The biggest considerations for a coup are ventilation and moisture control (which is part of the ventilation equation), so anything that might bring moisture in with it is a no go for me. Dried droppings from other critters would be much less of a concern, in my (not even a little bit expert) opinion, since few diseases cross species like that, and because those things are already generally present in the environment, assuming your chickens are housed not far from your goats.


Just jawboning here, as I don't (yet) have goats on my own property to have direct experience, but those are my inclinations based on my readings and suppositions.
Thanks. By old i mean last year's cutting, which would have been left outside in the weather-it can be used as bedding but doesn't have much nutritional value left. My goats might pick through it but they prefer Sudan grass. I hadn't thought of using hay in the run area for the chickens but after all the mud in there this week it wouldn't be a bad idea! Thanks!
 

Jrios58

Chirping
May 1, 2020
51
69
61
I find baled shavings (or bulk shavings under a tarp) much easier to use as bedding, rather than either straw or hay. We have a few horses and cattle too, and shavings are so much less difficult to clean out!
I agree about the hay quality issues; moldy stuff isn't good for anyone to inhale!
Mary
It's also the cost I'm looking at-- last year (before chickens) i had a small round bale remnant that i just forked into a garden cart and crammed in the goat shed. It's a little work but i didn't have to do it often, we have mild winters
 

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