why Pine & not hardwood shavings?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by T-Amy, Dec 3, 2011.

  1. T-Amy

    T-Amy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 16, 2011
    Woodhull, NY
    Is it true that chickens should have pine (or other soft wood) shavings rather than hardwood shavings? if so, why?

    I have access to truckloads of hard wood shavings for $10 each whereas finding pine is harder than losing 20# during Christmas season.

    If hardwoods are toxic, can someone please provide me any more info? I can't seem to find an explanation & I'm struggling with whether to spend $$ at TSC to get the pine when I can get the other stuff in bulk.

    Also, what's the preference between fine sawdust or flakes? Any & all info appreciated!
  2. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    Your biggest concern in wood shaving is dust and CEDAR!! Something in cedar that is toxic to the chickens young and old. Anything that is highly aromatic like cedar causes respiratory problems in chickens, sorry. Never use cedar shavings. If the coop has inner walls of different material, but cedar outside, that would probably be okay, but yup, cedar can be toxic to chickens bc there is oils in the wood chip that remain extremely aromatic and is not good for almost any farm birds respiratory system.
  3. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    Sullivan, IL
    If you have access to a truckload of hardwood shavings for $10, then go for it! Most people use pine because it is cheaper than most other commercially available bedding material. Cedar and other softwoods, including pine, contain phenols which can cause respiratory and liver damage. The amount of phenols in pine shavings is significantly less than in cedar, thus pine is a much safer wood and not usually associated with the same health issues as cedar. But hardwoods do not contain phenols and are actually safer to use than pine, but they come at a higher price which makes them a less viable option for most people. In a properly ventilated coop, pine shavings are safe enough to use for chickens. If you have somewhere where you can open the bag up and let it "air out" so to speak before putting pine shavings in the coop, that would be even better. Usually, the preference is for flakes as they are not as "dusty" as sawdust. The finer particles in the sawdust could cause respiratory issues if kicked up by chickens scratching around in the coop. Also, if using aromatic woods such as cedar (and even pine) the larger flakes will have less total surface area than finer flakes or sawdust, thus the larger flakes will release less of the dangerous phenols.
    1 person likes this.
  4. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    Most people use pine, because that's what's most available commercially for bedding. I'm sensitive to pine, so I use aspen.
  5. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    Quote:I'm just plain sensitive so I use sand.[​IMG] Please don't hurt my feeling. I may weep.[​IMG]
  6. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
  7. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    If they are shavings and not sawdust, they should be fine. You should avoid black walnut shavings though, they can cause skin irritation.
  8. Barred Rocker

    Barred Rocker cracked egg

    Jul 15, 2009
    King and Queen Co, Va
    Hardwoods such as oak or maple should be fine. If you can get it at a cheap price I'd go for it. Cedar is to be avoided because of the aroma. Most place sell pine simply because it's the cheapest wood out there.
  9. buckabucka

    buckabucka Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 13, 2010
    Fairfield, Maine
    My Coop
    I use hardwood shavings without issue. I mix them in with pine I purchase to make them go farther, as I only get the hardwood when DH has a big carpentry project going.
    Someone here on the forum uses coffee chaff. I would love to find a source for that! I love the smell of coffee. [​IMG]
  10. teamsunbelt

    teamsunbelt Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2011
    Midland, NC
    I use mostly pine. On occasion I get a bag of mxed. Mostly for in the runs.

    A breeder I just purchased some hens from uses it all. He gets it free from a wood working shop. He said that he has never had an issue with any of the shavings he gets. He was currently using Mahogany in his brooders. He said he gets oak, pine, cedar and walnut as well with no problems.

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