Why aren't we supposed to use cedar shavings for litter?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Germaine_11.20, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. Germaine_11.20

    Germaine_11.20 Songster

    Jun 6, 2009
    I have read not to use cedar shaving for the chickens litter, only pine shavings. Why is that?
  2. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

    Jul 17, 2009
    Cedar gives off an oil which can irritate their skin and cause lung problems.
  3. Germaine_11.20

    Germaine_11.20 Songster

    Jun 6, 2009
    Thank you for that quick response! I saw a coop that someone built and it is made of cedar and the huddle boxes too. Will that be an issue for her birds?
  4. emvickrey

    emvickrey ChowDown Silkie Farm

    Mar 5, 2009
    Hornbeak, Tennessee
    I used to use cedar shavings mainly because my brooder is inside the house and it cut down on odor. I read it's bad for them so I stopped but I still have some of those chickens and they never had any ill effects from it. I also read that pine shavings are bad because it would do the same thing. That is what I had switched to and it never did what they said it would either. I stopped using any shavings all together and used paper towels and I went through so many with changing it everyday somtimes twice a day that the cost pushed me back to shavings. I found at TSC a huge bag of just wood shavings that is much smaller than what I was getting at RK. And it costs less and there is alot more in it. It's compressed. Just better all the way around. So i've gone back to shavings. I have yet to use it for chicks becuase I don't have any inside right now but I did lay out fresh shavings in the nesting shelf and on the floor of the sikie pen. It sure made a difference in the smell of those two. And the hens started making different nests instead of using the same one. They must like it too.
  5. crawfordmama

    crawfordmama Songster

    Jun 29, 2010
    The Lakes Region, NH
    Emvickrey - you have a gorgeous roo!
  6. mgw

    mgw Songster

    May 29, 2010
    Eastern Wa.
    cedar wood isnt bad for people or animals. . The shavings have dust that is whats bad. A friend of mines uncle had a cedar mill in the Idaho panhandle he died at 51 yrs old from what they called cedar poisening from breathing cedar dust for to long. he told me that his lungs were 1/3 full of cedar dust. it was very sad.
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Cedar shavings gives off fumes that can damage the chicks respiratory system. It is not that the chick immediately falls over dead the instant it breathes the fumes. It is more of a long term effect and it affects some more than others. It is something like your children drinking water that has been in lead pipes. They can drink a little of the water and it really won't affect them, but if they keep drinking the water with lead in it, lead poisoning will eventually affect them mentally and physically.

    All cedar gives off the fumes but it is the concentration that causes the problems. I would not hesitate to build a coop out of cedar. Cedar lumber does not give off enough fumes to cause a problem, especially if you have decent ventilation. That's because it does not have the same surface area as cedar shavings. If you take a cedar plank, it has a certain surface area. If you then split the plank, you have the same amount of wood but the surface area has increased a bunch. If you keep splitting that cedar plank until you get down to shavings, it has a tremendous amount more surface area to give off fumes.

    Have you ever heard of a cedar chest. It used to be traditional for people to store good clothes in a cedar chest because the cedar fumes kept the moths and other bugs away and protected the clothes. They did not use pine because there is a difference in the fumes pine and cedar give off.

    I don't know what those shavings from Tractor Supply are. They may be pine, aspen or something else. The bag does not say what kind of wood is used. I'm sure the white shavings are not cedar because of the color and the smell. I have seen cedar shavings at Tractor Supply. The bag is more expensive, the shavings are reddish, and it says cedar on the bag.
  8. emvickrey

    emvickrey ChowDown Silkie Farm

    Mar 5, 2009
    Hornbeak, Tennessee
    Quote:Thank you but I need to change that because I just traded him and his hens the other day. Maybe i'll put George up there now.
  9. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    All bags should be marked what they are but they don't have to go in to exact tree species. I try to use "softwood" shavings that are a mix of pine and spruce. I find the spruce gives off a lot less fumes and dries better. I've even gotten some that were so fresh they were still damp and within an hour of dumping them out they had no smell at all. I now hunt down bags marked simply softwood shavings in the hope it has more spruce than pine. Aspen is a hardwood so would not be included if the bag says softwood. I believe cedar are the only colored shavings that are sold. Everything else is white.
  10. Germaine_11.20

    Germaine_11.20 Songster

    Jun 6, 2009
    You are all a wealth of information. That was very helpful and I appreciate your sharing.
    Thank you, because I started to worry about that new coop and now I don't have to worry!

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