Wood chips for bedding?

3KillerBs

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
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North Carolina Sandhills
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If the coop stays dry dampness should not be an issue. Since my chips are stored in a pile directly on the ground they're always a little moist when I put them in the coop, but they dry out pretty quickly and so the moisture isn't an issue after a few days.

Splinters could be an issue, I suppose, but all the birds I have with bumblefoot are heavier birds so I think it's more the impact coming off the roost onto the bedding that causes issues. If your roosts are high that could be something to think about.


OP asked about wood chips, you're mentioning shavings.

If you're using wood chips, use whatever mix you have available. My chips are a mix of cedar, hemlock, fir, and... anything else that got in the way. Black walnut and Eastern red cedar are probably the only two that I'd recommend caution on (black walnut is dangerous to horses and can kill other plants if used as mulch, Eastern red cedar is highly aromatic so would need to be aged thoroughly before using).

As far as cedar in general, you'll get mixed responses. I feel very comfortable about using it in my set up. We have Western cedar which is lower aroma than Eastern red cedar.

I would probably avoid using all cedar, or fresh cedar (well, fresh anything really... pine sap is awful!), or cedar in closed-in environments (i.e. indoor brooder, coop lacking in ventilation). My coop is well over recommended ventilation plus has a high ceiling for added air volume.

Many coop builds have cedar and I don't think people ever consider that. My current coop has cedar trim, my old one (which is now a chick brooder) is 100% cedar.

Obviously if you're not comfortable with it, don't use it, but I've been mixing in cedar for the last few years and there's been no sign of respiratory issues in my flock.

IMO, the Eastern vs Western cedar is an important distinction.
 

NorthwoodsChick

Songster
May 16, 2021
250
807
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UP Michigan
I invested in a descent wood chipper. I have 55 acres of pine and second growth aspen that chips small when seasoned, usually I let then lay for a few months.

Getting chips from a commercial tree service will give you free material but, as a former tree trimmer outfit, I find the chips to be large and shreds because they are chipped green. If commercial chips are used, my advice to help prevent issues like bumblefoot would be to let them season spread out then run them through a small yard sized chipper, if cost feasible, to get smaller size.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
101,565
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SW Michigan
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Getting chips from a commercial tree service will give you free material but, as a former tree trimmer outfit, I find the chips to be large and shreds because they are chipped green.
.....and sometimes you find lunch wrappers, including plastic bottle chips, in there.

These are the chips I use, never had any wounds from them.
full
 

Chicken poppy

Crowing
May 9, 2021
1,446
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Connecticut
If the coop stays dry dampness should not be an issue. Since my chips are stored in a pile directly on the ground they're always a little moist when I put them in the coop, but they dry out pretty quickly and so the moisture isn't an issue after a few days.

Splinters could be an issue, I suppose, but all the birds I have with bumblefoot are heavier birds so I think it's more the impact coming off the roost onto the bedding that causes issues. If your roosts are high that could be something to think about.


OP asked about wood chips, you're mentioning shavings.

If you're using wood chips, use whatever mix you have available. My chips are a mix of cedar, hemlock, fir, and... anything else that got in the way. Black walnut and Eastern red cedar are probably the only two that I'd recommend caution on (black walnut is dangerous to horses and can kill other plants if used as mulch, Eastern red cedar is highly aromatic so would need to be aged thoroughly before using).

As far as cedar in general, you'll get mixed responses. I feel very comfortable about using it in my set up. We have Western cedar which is lower aroma than Eastern red cedar.

I would probably avoid using all cedar, or fresh cedar (well, fresh anything really... pine sap is awful!), or cedar in closed-in environments (i.e. indoor brooder, coop lacking in ventilation). My coop is well over recommended ventilation plus has a high ceiling for added air volume.

Many coop builds have cedar and I don't think people ever consider that. My current coop has cedar trim, my old one (which is now a chick brooder) is 100% cedar.

Obviously if you're not comfortable with it, don't use it, but I've been mixing in cedar for the last few years and there's been no sign of respiratory issues in my flock.
Sorry, that was a typo. i heard many people saying it was good, others saying it was bad, i stay away from it, so that was my thought on it,
 

HollowOfWisps

Previously AstroDuck
Aug 28, 2020
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Iowa
I use a layer of pine pellets topped with pine shavings for both my duck and chicken pens (inside a barn). The pine pellets especially are great for absorbing moisture (particularly with the ducks). As far as splinters go I mean yes it's possible, but it's also possible to get a splinter from any other wood surface your chickens are exposed to. As a kid we use to run everywhere barefoot which included jumping in the shaving piles and the horse stalls covered in shavings. What a lot of people don't know is that you can get splinters from both straw and hay fairly easily. I would take walking across wood shavings vs. a poky bed of straw or hay any day.
 

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