Why must bedding be soft wood shavings?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by newchik, May 28, 2008.

  1. newchik

    newchik In the Brooder

    Jul 12, 2007
    I am just wondering, because my FIL does a lot of woodwork and has PILES of shavings (not chips) from different woods - some hard, some soft, none of it treated. They are these little curlies of shavings, and feel very soft, there are no sharp edges like in the chips that I buy in the bag. Why am I not supposed to use these?

    Thanks for your advice.
  2. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    you can if you want to, the only specification is not to use cedar. Cedar has oils in it that can irritate your chickens' nostrils. I've used the large chunks of shavings, and haven't had any problems. one chick, my feathered footed one, had a feather pulled out, but that was it, and I don't know if that was because of the shavings or from another chicken.
  3. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    My neighbor is the Yardwork King and shreds everything in his chipper. The resulting mulch makes good bedding, once allowed to dry.

    Shavings from a woodworking shop would be fine. Thats what pine shavings are - the "mulch" from lumber finishing operation.

    as cjeanan says - no cedar.
  4. GallowayFarms

    GallowayFarms Songster

    May 19, 2008
    Don't use cedar and you will be fine.

    When chicks are small they might mistake some small wood bits as feed to I cover my bedding with burlap for the first week I have them to make sure they know what the food looks like vs. the little wood chips.

    I like to use planer shavings the best.

    Cheers and good luck

  5. newchik

    newchik In the Brooder

    Jul 12, 2007
    Thank yoU!

    It's nice to know, because I have an endless supply of these planer shavings. I had been told it had to be soft wood, but never knew the reason. To my knowledge, he hasn't used cedar, so I should be fine.

  6. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    I think the reason for soft wood (pines) rather than hardwood (oaks, etc.) might have to do with tendency to grow mold. I read somewhere in BYC that hardwood is more conducive to growing mold. I have some hardwood bedding that I accidently purchased and even though I'm using it (sparingly) I don't really like it. It isn't like the pine planer shavings, it is more like sawdust/chips from a mill. I have noticed that if you let the stuff sit in water overnight the water turns brown, probably from tannic acid. Tannic acid might be a problem. Anyone know about tannic acid being a problem?
  7. GallowayFarms

    GallowayFarms Songster

    May 19, 2008
    hardwood doesn't absorb water as fast as your softer woods do, but once it is wet you can't get the stuff dry. That is the reason it molds more than your pine shavings etc.

    And you are right, with hard woods you don't really get shavings you get little chunks.

    Good Luck

  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    AFAIK the mold issue is the main/only thing.

    Personally I would not use shavings with any meaningful amount of hardwood in 'em, but it depends somewhat on your setup (e.g. would be less of a risk in a dry climate with the waterer out in teh run and where you remove all the shavings every week from the coop) and personal risk-tolerance.

    The problem is that any respiratory problems as a result of mold will sneak up on you and you won't know there's anything wrong until some possibly-irreversible damage has been done -- we're not talking big wads of obvious mold, we're talking subtle stuff.

  9. Lobzi

    Lobzi Crowing

    I have had luck so far with Eucalyptus chips. I hear this will keep the mites and other parasites away too.
  10. hensonly

    hensonly Songster

    May 15, 2008
    upstate NY
    Quote:My other half also does woodworking for a hobby...I used the small shavings that you are talking about and had no trouble - except I went through the ones he had saved for me in no time, and the planer is on the back porch, about 3 feet from the brooder. I was afraid we'd terrify the babies if we tried to plane more boards for shavings (and mostly he does his woodworking in the winter, so he didn't have any boards he needed to plane right then). So I bought a bag from the local feed store for $5. The smaller shavings do mat down quicker than the larger ones, but also break down faster if you're using them in a compost pile as I am. So it's a tossup - free is better than cheap!

    However - here's a question for everyone - he's finishing a project now where he's hand-planing some black walnut boards. Has anyone ever heard of problems with walnut like you get with cedar? I know walnut puts out some chemical that keeps other trees from growing well near it, but I don't know whether that's anything that might hurt the chicks... anyone?

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