Wood Shavings for Hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SophieLain127, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. SophieLain127

    SophieLain127 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have heard that Cedar is bad for Chickens. Is this true?

    I've been looking for any wood workers in my area that are giving away or selling shavings cheap. I've noticed that most are using mixed wood mostly pine but a small amount of cedar will this hurt my chickens.

    Does anyone have any advice on an inexpensive way to get wood shavings?

    Thanks
     
  2. CARS

    CARS Chillin' With My Peeps

    I guess that would depend on how much of the mix is cedar and if the wood was kiln dried. I would think that raw, chipped cedar would give off more sent than dried cedar.

    I have accidentally received the wrong bag of shavings and used it with my older birds. I don't think I would use any cedar with chick cause they just don't know when to walk away from something that can harm them. Or maybe the older birds don't walk away, just scratch it into the rest of the mess and tame the scent down.

    Wonder what walnut, maple, and oak are like in a pen. That is what most woodworkers use isn't it?
     
  3. SophieLain127

    SophieLain127 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I put a post up on craigslist but am still looking for deals.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    There is reasonable cause to believe that cedar shavings sometimes cause problems with chicks and small pets. OTOH many people have used them for years with no problems. It probably depends partly on the exact nature of the shavings, and partly on your ventilation and such. I would not personally use cedar for my chickens but it is not a *guaranteed* death sentence in any way as some here would have you believe. Dunno how much I'd sweat a small proportion of cedar.

    Pine/fir/spruce shavngs are generally the best.

    Hardwoods are generally a little iffier because of their greater tendency to mold. Not to say they can't be used, just have to be more careful.

    You can try woodworkers, sawmills, etcetera... but it may be real hard to find a source of suitable (and reliable) GOOD QUALITY shavings... not too coarse (nonabsorbant), too fine (dusty), etc. Really, a $5 bag from the feedstore goes a looooong way when properly managed, and it is usually (not always, but usually) good quality stuff.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  5. CARS

    CARS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Well Pat, that really depends on how big your coop is. It take me 12 "bales" or "bags" of shavings to change my "coop" out. Of course my 35'X60' divided into pens of 30 birds each is hardly considered a coop [​IMG].

    But it's all I have to work with [​IMG]

    Now what to do with the loft.........
     
  6. SophieLain127

    SophieLain127 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm only looking at a coop that is 6ft x 6ft x 7ft/5ft high (it has a slanted roof)

    I'm only planning on 4-6 Hubbard Golden Comet Pullets. I've heard one piece of vinyl flooring covered in wood shavings is great for cleaning and the wood shavings are great cushion and anti slippage material.
     
  7. CARS

    CARS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Then Pat is correct. Spend the 5 or 6 dollars and get "the good stuff". You'll do fine. Not worth the risk in my opinion with unknown species of wood.
     
  8. SophieLain127

    SophieLain127 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Now I was wondering if you can just shovel out the old shavings and put it in the compost pile or should I just bag it up and dispose of it? How often should I do a clean out?
     
  9. CARS

    CARS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I compost mine or use it at the end of the gardening season as a "kill" to keep weeds down. When I have too much I offer it on Freecycle or Craigslist for free.
     
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    yeah yeah, ok CARS, we all admire the great size of your mighty coop... LOL [​IMG]

    For a 6x6 coop managed intelligently, shavings are not going to be a major expense -- obviously if you can find GOOD ones for free then go for it, but I'm not sure how much it's worth compromising on. One thing that will reduce shavings use is a droppings board under the roost, scraped clean into a bucket every morning with the poo removed from coop. That'll reduce the poo going into the bedding by nearly 50%, right there, in literally 10 seconds or less of work.

    Regarding the fate of used bedding, what CARS said. (I also use some in March to insulate a solid path of frozen ground for the horses to get past the muddy part of the paddock when things start to thaw, but that is probably not relevant to most peoples' lives [​IMG])

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     

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