what to use for litter in coop-highly allergic to hay and shavings

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by pastrymama, May 18, 2010.

  1. pastrymama

    pastrymama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 30, 2010
    Phoenix
    Ugh, so everytime I go out to that coop and clean it out, which is like 3 times this week alone(they are in lockdown for 2 weeks, just went outside last week and they are poping up a storm) i come back in and i am itchy all over, my eyes are swelled up, the next morning they are completely blood shot and i am coughing like crazy. i have had whooping cough since last sptember so all the dust of the hay doesn't help, but i have been wearing a mask when i clean the coop and throw out new hay and i have tried pine shavings with the same results, but a litle less severe. i put in the DE, but not too much, still wearing my mask, i have been using less hay that i was previously and a few days ago i started letting them out of their coop to free range in the fenced off portion of the yard. there are only 6 of them. that yard itself is dirt, was gravel up until a few days ago. we had it taken out. we live in phoenix where it gets to 120 easily in the summer and having rock is a terrible idea. i see that some of you use sand in your coops and runs, that won't work here either. it's too bloody hot. any other ideas? leave their fence space dirt, their coop floor is cement, but the attached pen is a dirt floor.

    they have been outside for 9 days and my eyes have swelled 3 times, turned bloodshot twice and i can't stop sneezing. advice please. and no, i can't take allergy pills, i am allergic to those to. and no, hubby won't clean the coop for me and my kiddies are too little. please, only nice helpful comments. this was something i really wanted to do for a long time. who the heck knew that i would be allergic to hay and shavings? thank you. noel
     
  2. Stina

    Stina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Allentown, PA
    you could try to locate a garden store that has or will order you coconut coir (usually used as a replacement for peat...coconut is WAY better than peat)....I am going to be putting it in my coop (have peat in there now b/c I couldn't find large quantities of coconut) and I have used it for my pet mice and rats....MUCH better odor control than shavings or hay...doesn't need to be cleaned as often...naturally has some antibacterial properties....I love the stuff.
     
  3. BeccaOH

    BeccaOH Morning Gem Farm

    Oct 3, 2008
    east central Ohio
    You could try chopped up corn cobs. That is sold in small bags for rabbit pens, but you might find it in bulk from a farmer.

    You could try shredded paper.

    I think someone somewhere had pine needles. Or was it chopped pine cones? [​IMG]

    What about a dirt floor with sand? I'd think inside the coop that sandy dirt would actually hold the cooler temps even in summer.
     
  4. Stina

    Stina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I probably wouldnt use corn cob in a chicken coop.....it molds VERY easily if it gets moist.
     
  5. gjpaddles

    gjpaddles Out Of The Brooder

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    Whatever you end up using I'd still wear the mask, long sleeves and cover your eyes with some goggles too (plain glasses or sunglasses dont keep the dust from going into your eyes). Dont wear the clothes your wear outside in the coop/garden into your home either. Sorry about your allergies, nettie pot works great before bed, rinse out your sinuses with warm salt water too. I have allergies also and I have chickens and I love to garden. I do all of these things to keep from having to take medications for allergies too. Good luck! I hope you feel better.

    I'd use sand or dirt in the run and make sure they have lots of shade in the summer. They'll dig to find a cool spot. I live in Southern CA and that what I do.
     
  6. Hillsvale

    Hillsvale Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hillsvale, Nova Scotia
    Quote:Could you be allergic to the dander off the chickens... more likely than the shavings in my opinion?... if it is the bedding you could try wood stove pellets...
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2010
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    I will bet you dollars to donuts it is the CHICKENS you are allergic to, not the bedding, unfortunately. (I say this because in several decades of working in all sorts of horse barns, I have yet to meet anyone actually allergic to pine shavings... it is probably *possible*, but by far not likely, whereas chicken dander is a pretty common allergy).

    Not sure what to tell you, other than reorganize the coop so it is as open as possible and requires as little cleaning as possible, and put up lots more shade so that you *can* use sand?

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  8. MotherJean

    MotherJean Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'd definitely put sand in the coop. Since it's shaded there, the sand won't get too hot for little chicken feet. Use "Play Sand" because it's been washed and will be less dusty. To clean, use as big a kitty litter scoop as you can find. If you go gently, you can scoop the poo without kicking up a bunch of dust and dander. If you're still having trouble with dust/dander with the sand, you can give it a light mist of water from the garden hose to settle it all down. Then go in with the scoop. With your fine weather in Phoenix, the sand will be dry again in 20 minutes. In your climate, I'd leave the run just plain dirt. No need for hay or shavings in there. I feel for you [​IMG] I have nasal allergies, too, and it's no darn fun. I use sand in my coop and it's working much better for me.
     
  9. pastrymama

    pastrymama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 30, 2010
    Phoenix
    thanks everyone, i will be switching to sand in the coop. but what do i put on the drop boards? they are not removable. put sand on those or leave them with nothing on them? and i can't understand why i didn't have this problem with the chicks when we first got them if it's them that i am allergic to. i have had them
    5 1/2 weeks and no problems until they went outside. hum.
     
  10. MotherJean

    MotherJean Chillin' With My Peeps

    How about newspaper on the poop boards? Roll em up and compost em every few days.
     

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