Wood chips for bedding?

Chicken poppy

Crowing
May 9, 2021
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Connecticut
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.
Then the itchy straw! we got some stacks of hay because of the cool look and such to decorate about, and ouch, got it in my shirt and it was everywhere. My hair, shirt, i dont know how. i just carried the stacks of hay!
 

Happy hen lover

Crowing
Jan 14, 2021
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I was wondering how many people actually use wood chips in there chicken coop, and their opinion of how well it works.
I've been using them since my chickens moved in to the coop and haven't had any problems, but I heard they can give your chickens splinters, or can be too damp. I live where it can get really cold sometimes in winter, like below zero (not a lot, but it does happen) and I'm a little worried about the humidity, since high humidity in the coop can cause frostbite.

Does anyone have these problems with wood chips? What are the pros and cons?
I use mini pine shavings in coop never had a problem . I use deep litter method which adds insulation in winter. Has worked for me for a year now.
 

HollowOfWisps

Previously AstroDuck
Aug 28, 2020
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Then the itchy straw! we got some stacks of hay because of the cool look and such to decorate about, and ouch, got it in my shirt and it was everywhere. My hair, shirt, i dont know how. i just carried the stacks of hay!
It can be terribly itchy. I have always hated baling hay not because of the work, but because the scratches almost burn, the splinters are worse than wood splinters and how itchy you get when it ends up in your clothes.
 
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NorthwoodsChick

Songster
May 16, 2021
250
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UP Michigan
.....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
Do you use them in the coop, run or both?
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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Do you use them in the coop, run or both?
Just in the run.

What kind of bedding you use may depend on how you manage the manure.
This is about cleaning, but covers my big picture

-I use poop boards under roosts with thin(<1/2") layer of sand/PDZ mix, sifted daily(takes 5-10mins) into bucket going to friends compost.
-Scrape big or wet poops off roost and ramps as needed.
-Large flake pine shavings on coop floor, add some occasionally, totally changed out once or twice a year, old shavings added to run.
- My runs have semi-deep litter(cold composting), never clean anything out, just add smaller dry materials on occasion, add larger wood chippings as needed.
Aged ramial wood chippings are best IMO.
-Nests are bedded with straw, add some occasionally, change out if needed(broken egg).

There is no odor, unless a fresh cecal has been dropped and when I open the bucket to add more poop.

That's how I keep it 'clean', have not found any reason to clean 'deeper' in 8 years.
 
Sep 13, 2021
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Central Arkansas
I prefer hay for chickens. It is easier for the hens to make nests. The pullets with wood shavings have not started laying though. I will say for chicks shavings are better. For mine, they have shavings in their tote, then when they move outside they get hay. It also keeps them warm if they need it. If it gets packed down I just fluff it up.
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
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maybe avoid hay in a coop, i beileve it adds humidity and may mold.

Hay ought to be just as dry as straw or shavings -- if it's not dry it will mold and that would ruin it's value as feed, which is it's primary purpose in agriculture.

IMO, the problem with hay as bedding is that it's a compost "green" rather than a compost "brown" and therefore does not have the necessary carbon to react with the poop during the breakdown process.
 

Pippin quail

Songster
Aug 19, 2020
298
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Central Alberta, Edmonton area
A tip: maybe avoid hay in a coop, i beileve it adds humidity and may mold. Or we personally anyway dont use it.:) (random but i thought i should say it sense some people are using it where we live. Im not sure if its for everybody, but thats what ive heard and we dislike using it)
I can attest to the moldy hay problem. We had a farmer cut the hay in our back field this summer and he left us one bale to use for the chicken coop. It was really great at first... And then it got wet. Clearly we should have tarped it but I always see hay bales out in the open in fields, and those will be used to feed animals so you'd think mold would be bad. 🤷‍♀️

Anyway, about a week ago i ran out of the bags of leaves I had collected in the fall for bedding and moved on to the hay bale again. As I was pulling it apart there were clouds of dust and mold sort of billowing out in certain spots...I thought I was being careful to avoid breathing it in, but afterwards blew my nose/spat in the sink for 5 minutes and everything was coming out black. 😳 It was disgusting! Needless to say, I avoid using it in the coop now but will still throw down small amounts over the snow in the run if needed. I had to actually go out and buy pine shavings and straw bales and I am loving the pine shavings best, it smells so fresh. Bigger wood mulch I used in the run before my pile was buried in snow. The chickens loved it; it was already composted down a lot so full of bugs and rich wood dirt.

Now it's winter and it sucks. 😂
 

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