Who says cedar is bad for chickens???

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by gumpsgirl, Oct 26, 2008.

  1. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Crowing

    Mar 25, 2008
    Now before I go and get anyone riled up about this question, let me explain. I was at my nephew's birthday party last night and we got to talking about our chickens, dogs, ticks, DE, and so forth. I was trying to give some simple advice to my BIL on how to get rid of ticks on his dogs, since they've had such a bad time with them this year. Well my nephew chimes in and says that cedar works really well to repel ticks. I agreed that it does work well for dogs. Then my nephew says it works great for the chickens and their bugs also. I about fainted! [​IMG] I then told him that cedar was very bad for the chickens and should never be used. He then announced that he'd been using cedar in his coop for over a month now and the chickens haven't had any adverse affects from so he didn't believe me. Well I'm standing there, mouth open and trying to figure out what to say. He then asks where I had heard such a thing. I explained that everything that I had read here on BYC says that it is bad for chickens and could damage their respiratory systems. He then just sneered and went on his merry way. I then felt under educated about this whole cedar thing. I'm just one who reads a lot on how to care for my animals and if I read that it's bad, then I take heed and don't ever do it. What in the world do I say to my nephew? Why else is it bad and has anyone ever experienced why it is bad? Just curious. [​IMG]
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    It's more dangerous to younger birds than older ones. I have been known to add a few handfuls under the roost among the pine shavings to repel bugs and help with odor. As long as they aren't getting a snootful of the aroma and breathing in the oils heavily, as in putting just a small percentage in a well ventilated coop with your pine, it's okay. I put it under the straw in the nests. I would never put it in a brooder or small coop with young chicks, however.
  3. lovemychix

    lovemychix Songster

    Oct 14, 2008
    Moulton Iowa
    Hopefully he'll check into it since you said something!!
  4. kinnip

    kinnip Songster

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    I haven't tried it, but I was thinking about adding some to my coop next summer with the pine shavings. If your coop is well ventilated, I don't see what harm it could do. My birds spend very little time on the floor of the coop and there are vents all the way around the roosting area. I consider it on par with painting indoors.
  5. ILoveJoe

    ILoveJoe Songster

    Jun 28, 2008
    Northern Kentucky
    Quote:I would say " I am your elder, speak to me with respect, you noob!" A little added -finger jabbing the sternum- for emphasis would be appropriate.
    3 people like this.
  6. LittleChickenRacingTeam

    LittleChickenRacingTeam On vacation

    Jan 11, 2007
    Ontario, CANADA
    Pine shavings are just as toxic to chickens. But NO ONE ever points that out. Any aromatic softwood shaving is unhealthy for your chooks.

    There is strong scientific evidence that pine and cedar shavings are harmful to their health. Both these softwood shavings give off aromatic hydrocarbons (phenols) and acids that are toxic. The phenols, which give the shavings their scent, are the reason that cedar repels fleas and moths and why pine-oil is the major ingredient in Pine-sol brand disinfectant. In the laboratory, autoclaved pine and cedar shavings have been shown to inhibit the growth of micro-organisms. When animals are exposed to softwood shavings the aromatic hydrocarbons are absorbed through the respiratory tract and enter the blood.

    The acids given off by pine and cedar shavings are very damaging to the respiratory tract. These acids can actually destroy cells that line the lungs and trachea. For a complete summary of the respiratory toxicity of pine shavings, go to Respiratory toxicity of cedar and pine wood.

    Pine and cedar toxins also affect humans and other animals. People who work in cedar and pine sawmills have a much higher incidence of asthma compared to workers in other dusty environments or those without any dust exposure. Another study found that chickens kept on softwood (pine or cedar) shavings had a higher incidence of respiratory infections.

    Pine and cedar toxins affect more than the respiratory tract. Several studies have shown that rodents kept on softwood beddings have elevated levels of liver enzymes. The liver is the body's detoxification system, and elevated liver enzymes indicate that the body is working harder to eliminate toxins. In mice these enzymes started rising after only 24 hours exposure to cedar shavings and only returned to normal when the mice were away from the shavings for 12 days. If pine or cedar shavings are heat-treated or soaked in a solvent, so that some of the phenols are removed, the effects are not as great, but still occur.

    One study showed that the mortality of rat pups raised on cedar shavings was tremendously high compared to rat pups raised on corn cob or aspen shavings. Of the pups raised on cedar shavings, 56% were dead by 2 weeks of age, while only 0.01% of the pups raised on the other beddings died. The cedar-raised pups also weighed about 23% less than the other pups.

    Exposure to toxins is a stress on the body and constant stress can result in depressed or altered immune function. A study done in 1991 found that mice kept on pine shavings for only a month had a more highly reactive immune response. Mice kept on pine shavings for 8 months developed abnormally enlarged livers. This same study found that mice housed on pine shavings also had a decrease in reproduction rate. When given free choice of beddings, rats and mice reject pine and cedar shavings in favor of any other type of beddings.

    There are also other dangers from softwood shavings. A study found that people in the woodworking industry who are exposed to softwood dust have a higher incidence of squamous cell cancers of the respiratory tract. A German study found that workers exposed to pine dust had more than a three-fold increased risk of glottal cancer.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2008
    ScottandSam and CapricornFarm like this.
  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    I have to say that I have gotten pine shavings that smelled strongly like disinfectant. They were not aged/dried well enough. I would agree that anything that aromatic cant be great to breathe, especially if ventilation is not adequate.
    Not sure what I'd use if I didnt use pine shavings, though. I cant afford to buy hay and straw doesnt absorb a thing or do anything except small bad faster than pine shavings.
    ScottandSam and CapricornFarm like this.
  8. RJ_Hythloday

    RJ_Hythloday In the Brooder

    Aug 27, 2008

    kids these days [​IMG]
    CapricornFarm likes this.
  9. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Crowing

    Mar 25, 2008
    Quote:I would say " I am your elder, speak to me with respect, you noob!" A little added -finger jabbing the sternum- for emphasis would be appropriate.

    [​IMG] Funny! Like that would go over well with his parents... [​IMG] I am the younger one when it comes to me and my sister, kinda like alpha and omega, and it tends to be viewed as a stature things with her kids also. We just smile and deal with it until it gets to the point we can't anymore. We then just try and stay away until things cool off.

    I'm sure a lot of you would understand how the family thing works. [​IMG]

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