when do you switch bedding to hay/straw

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by the simple life, May 18, 2008.

  1. My chicks are still on pine shavings, how long do you use them before switching to hay or straw.Or can you use it indefinitely? If you do switch what would be better,hay or straw?
  2. Dawn419

    Dawn419 Lost in the Woods

    Apr 16, 2007
    Evening Shade, AR
    I keep our chicks on pine shavings, in their brooder, and never use hay or straw.

    Once they get moved out to the coops, I still use pine shavings as the coop floor litter and only use hay in the nest boxes.

    Hope this helps!

  3. Sherry

    Sherry Songster

    Apr 8, 2007
    Southern WV
    I use pine shavings for all...brooder, coop and nests.
  4. NoSpringChick

    NoSpringChick Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    SE PA
    I use hay for my coop floor, but only because I have a ton of it in the barn....however, if you do use hay....only use a small amount because it tends to compact and hold moisture....it's best to break it into small pieces.

    I also throw in some scratch in the afternoon for the chickens to stir up.
  5. stilwellchick

    stilwellchick Songster

    Jun 16, 2007
    Stilwell, KS
    I don't like straw, it is hollow and holds moisture and bacteria more. I use timothy hay in the nests and pine shavings everywhere else. Straw can pack down and get kind of mouldy too.
  6. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps AutumnBreezeChickens.com

    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    Oh great...I just bought a bunch of straw lol It seems the cheapest way to go. The pine shavings are outrageous in the store AND you only get enough for one change if that in the square bail bag. And bails of straw are only 2 bucks. Does anyone use straw and LIKE it??
  7. JackieK318

    JackieK318 Songster

    Apr 29, 2007
    I don't mind straw, but I do change my coop more often than most. I usually change my 8x10 coop every month with only having 3 hens. In the summer, I use straw since I keep the coop open (windows and door with an exhaust fan). They like the straw to scratch in, but now that I have more in the group, I might switch to pine shavings. In the winter, I only use pine shavings since the coop is closed up for the most part.

    If you bought a whole bunch of straw, you can use it in the garden, in compost, over grass seed patches, as insulation for coop walls or donate it to your local rescue ranch.
  8. NS2A

    NS2A Songster

    Jun 11, 2007
    I like straw. It's cheap, works pretty well and is useful for other things.

    Pine shavings are nice, I use them for chicks, but expensive. Don't overthink this stuff.[​IMG]

    What did your gradnparents use?
  9. GallowayFarms

    GallowayFarms Songster

    May 19, 2008
    First a couple questions:

    How many chicks/chickens are we talking here?
    How big of an area?

    My tips on coop management. In my hen house I don't change the bedding/flooring but once a year. I have about 20 hens in it right now, and they also spend alot of time outdoors. I have about 4 to 6 inches of pine shavings on the floor. You want a lot of bedding so the chickens can turn it over so it won't get matted down as easy. Also pick up some hydrated lime. Spinkle it over the bedding and stir it in to keep down the ammonia smell. Unless the bedding is getting wet and matted or there is a build up of droppings you shouldn't have to change it that often.

    Also, price pine shavings at different places. My local co-op is cheaper on shavings then the pet stores near where I work. Also call local saw mills. Sometimes they will let you come shovel up some of the stuff they have laying around.
  10. swampducks

    swampducks Overrun With Guineas

    Feb 29, 2008
    Barton City, MI
    Quote:I use straw in the duck pen in my garage, I just add more on top as it gets nasty then rake it out after 7-10 days and put down fresh. I got a ton of straw from my FIL's farm for free though.

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