Wood Chips


5 Years
Sep 10, 2014
I am new to this site, although we have been raising chickens for two years now. We have 14 Black Australorps that are free ranged included one huge mean rooster named BBQ and the other rooster is Jacob.
On occasion tree companies are looking for homes/properties to dump their wood chips. I know that cedar and oak chips/shavings give off toxic fumes dangerous to small animals. But the local tree companies dump mostly poplar and pine chips. I thought getting these chips for my chicken house would be a great way to save money and to recycle chicken wood chips mix for mulching and gardens.
So my question is, should I avoid using chips/shavings from tree companies for my chicken house?
Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

The two things you need to be sure of is that the chips have not been treated with any chemicals and that they aren't cedar. Otherwise it should be fine to use. I used to get pine shavings from a woodmill until it flooded. But it was a great way to get lots of bedding for free.

Good luck!
Welcome to BYC. Would you be able to recognize what types of trees, they have dumped ,just by seeing the chips? I've seen the garbage our village dumps and talked to the public works guys. They said anything could be on a truck, diseased trees, termite infested and so on. He said the really good stuff is sold to another suburb for their use.

If you rooster is that bad, he should be sent to freezer camp. There are a glut of roosters looking for homes - many nice ones, sometimes even show or breeding stock either free or low cost. There is never a good reason to keep a bad rooster.
Hi again,
Some of the points were made that I hadn't considered and thanks!
We live on 3 acres and although were a bit isolated, still people coming around to sell stuff we don't need. Thus this is the reason for keeping BBQ to keep these solictors off our property. BBQ isn't an attack rooster but will defend his flock and territory. My son named him BBQ because he thinks thats is where the mean rooster should go.
Thanks again.
Neither fresh chips nor sawdust make very good bedding. The shavings you buy are kiln-dried, low dust,and absorbent. Fresh chips are wet, contain sap, and can be dusty. Sawdust can likewise be wet, and is too fine and dusty to use indoors - chickens have very sensitive respiratory tracts and are prone to issues with dust and strong ammonia fumes.
Hello there and welcome to BYC!

I agree with 1Muttsfan here. Chips and sawdust are just not good bedding. Not only can they be sappy, but they are not absorbent enough. Especially chips. They will soak up some moisture, stay wet and cause bacteria, fungus and parasites to grow. So you really need to stay away from these materials. I am a huge fan of sand. Love it, love it, love it! Best bedding on the planet!

Good luck and welcome to our flock!
New guy here hoping to glean from your thoughts to this post. If wood chips (defined as green wood / leaves chipped up together from a local arborist) were used OUTSIDE of the coop in the run to provide interest for the chickens (something to root around in / find bugs etc), would this be a problem? I think I get your concern with using wood chips INSIDE the coop, but would the same concerns apply if the chips were outside? The reason I ask is that I am a big fan of providing ample organic material / carbon sources to help rebuild the soil. Wood chips are a great, free source of organic material, and from what I understand, chicken manure is high in nitrogen - the thing wood chips require in the greatest quantities to catalyze the break down process. Is my thinking off here, or could lining a large penned area / run with 4" or so of wood chips be a reasonable idea for building up the soil?

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