Your bedding opinion


12 Years
Oct 1, 2007
Medina, OH
Right now we are doing the DLM with straw and I was thinking about going to pine shavings. I am leery though because it seems like we'd need to buy alot and would be pricey than a bale would. Also, would it stay dry and absorb the smell better? Is it easier to clean up?

Your opinions please.
I've only used pine shavings and have not had any problems. I just bought some "Top Bedding" yesterday and it costs 6.36. It looks like a small package but when you open it, it is very compressed, no wonder it's heavy.The smell of the pine is great.
It may make all the difference since you live in OH and I live in Colorado but I wouldn't ever use straw here. I love using the pine shavings. They stay dry, there's no smell whatsoever (we have very little humidity here though) and it's going to be easy to shovel them out next month.

I am also using the DLM and am very pleased this first year doing it.

My concerns with straw is that it is hollow, thus you have the potential for more poo and wetness to be held by it and for it to not dry out ... does that make sense?
Straw is more absorbent than shavings (edited to add: well, actually I looked it up and some studies find it somewhat more absorbant while others find it the same or somewhat less. Probably depends on the particular straw and shavings samples, and perhaps on study methods).

HOWEVER, while the ability to soak up water is important in, say, a horse stall or cow barn, I question whether it's the main criterion for chicken bedding. And straw is more obnoxious to work with than shavings if you ask me -- it mats more, it's harder to turn or clean unless you chop it finely first, and it is more inclined to grow mold. Shavings are real easy to work with, and if you keep the chickens riffling thru the bedding or if you rake it around yourself a bit if it starts to mat, the top layer dries back out no problem (assuming you have decent ventilation). Personally I MUCH prefer working with shavings.

I'm not sure it's really much if any more expensive but I guess it depends on your local prices. Here, I'd pay $2.50 for a small square bale of straw or $4.50-5.00 for a bale of shavings, but the shavings are tightly compressed in the bag and expand out to probably 1.5+ straw bales' worth once you shake 'em out. And unchopped straw is a pain in the neck (as is chopping straw - if you buy it chopped and bagged, it gets at least as expensive as shavings, if you can even find it)

That's just my personal opinion, and I know there are those who like straw better.

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Pine shavings is the only thing we use for all our animals. Straw maybe a little cheaper at first but it doesn't last as long before you have to clean it out, it smells more and doesn't absorb anything. That's my opinion.
I've used straw, but but shavings a week ago. With straw ($6 for a standard bale size), I could put my hen house 4 inches deep in the stuff, and repeat that process a couple of more times. With a smaller plastic-wrapped bale of shavings ($10 for 12 cubic ft), I use up the entire bale in my 8x10 hen house, only getting it around 2 inches deep.

I have no trouble scattering straw. I take a hard metal three-pronged garden claw (long handles) and easily push then pull back, thus turning it over. It fluffs up just fine. The negative to straw, as I see, is that a bird poops, and there it sits until you do your fluff up every few days.

The good part about shavings is that the bird poops, and it lands in shavings, which practically embraces the turd. It gets a protective shaving shell on it. The negative, other than it costing me nearly twice as much and getting much less of it, is that it loves to cling to the bottom of my shoes, and I track it all over the place!

Both smell nice. Both compost well, but beware: shavings are acidic.

As for clean up. It's as wash for me. With straw, I easily use to racks to grab large quantities. With shavings, you use a large shovel.

I'm going to return to straw when I buy more. The straw lasted me 5 weeks. The shavings will last around 2 weeks.
I used shavings for my brooder. The girls moved to the coop last nite, so I just took the last of my shavings and put them in the coop. I thought I had to switch to straw. Am I understanding right, that I dont have to? I can continue to use shavings even when they are adults? What about nesting boxes? Do the shavings work in those too? This would be great as I am having a hard time finding the small sqare bales in my area. The only thing available is those huge round bales. What do you think?
I switched from shavings to sand. The girls only sleep and lay in the coop so sand works great for me. I mix it with DE and scoop the poop every few days. The 3 month old chicks are still on shavings because they do not like to roost. I've never tried straw. I also live in Texas, so I don't have to worry about bedding keeping the birds warm.
I use shavings in the coop and nest boxes. I have never used straw. I have never had to completely replace my shavings and I got my first chicken in November! I do clean out the top poop daily. The chickens (now six) do a great job of turning it. The shavings fall out of the coop some into the run. I have shavings and dried oak leaves in the run. They get wet because my run is not covered (yet). They dry out on top very quickly, and with the chickens scratching in them, they eventually all dry out. I add about 10 handfuls a week in the coop to make up for what I remove with the poop daily. I also sprinkle food grade Diatomaceous Earth before refreshing which helps keep everything nice and dry not to mention deterring and killing lice and mites. After a rain, I add about half a bale in the run so it's more pleasant to walk in there to get to the coop. I sprinkle the DE in the run and under the coop the best I can, also. I purchase one bale a month now. I started out with 2 bales a month until I had it deep enough to satisfy my needs in an 8'x8' coop. My hens lay in the shavings just fine, and my broody is setting her eggs in them. I use a child's garden hoe to remove droppings. It's not as heavy and tiresome as the flat blade shovel I was using, and for my height, it's just right!

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