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#75019 - 05/16/08 10:07 PM Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
Jojuan Offline
Feather

Registered: 05/15/08
Posts: 20
Loc: Oregon
Hi! I'm new to The Coop. I had chickens 20 years ago when it was pretty standard in Eastern Oregon to use deep straw on the coop floor. While composting, straw produces heat for the hens during the winter.

Now, after reading dozens of posts, I see that cedar and pine shavings are the common practice.

I'm open to new ideas, but need to understand. Can anyone tell me the reason for the move away from straw?

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#75020 - 05/16/08 10:30 PM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8483
Loc: Montana
Straw absorbs moisture and stays moist (WET), needs cleaning out quite often. That "heat" is better added to the compost pile! Dry kilned shavings stay dry for weeks/months. They do not absorb and keep moisture--are certainly lighter and much easier to clean out 3 or 4 times a year!

Try them and you will celebrate the difference! CJR

I live on a farm, with barley and/or wheat straw every fall--and it is NOT used in my poultry houses any longer (actually not for years), except to line nest boxes!

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#75021 - 05/16/08 10:57 PM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
Joachim Dippold Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1823
Loc: Austria
Good Morning Jean,

Quote:
Dry kilned shavings stay dry for weeks/months. They do not absorb and keep moisture
Hmmmmm, okay, but then what does this dry shavings do at all? Now you got me confused!LOL! If it doesnīt absorb moisture and poop then whatīs it good for? Could you explain how it works? Iīm only curious, not meant to offend you.

Best greetings,
Joachim

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#75022 - 05/17/08 05:40 AM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
Rhea Dean Carter Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/24/03
Posts: 1379
Loc: Tennessee
Joachim:

It's difficult to explain, but there is a big difference. The shavings absorb moisture, but they don't hold moisture like hay or straw. They tend to dry out rather quickly whereas hay or straw doesn't. I've never used hay or straw in my pens, but I've seen piles of it left over in the fields from feeding cattle, and it's usually damp or even wet down under it--even after it's been laying there for several weeks without any rain. It's not like that with wood shavings, and I, like Jean, think using wood shavings is a much better choice.
_________________________
Rhea Dean

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#75023 - 05/17/08 09:31 AM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
Eric19 Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 07/25/07
Posts: 197
Loc: Michigan
So CJR, you said you only clean your coop 3-4 times a year?!? I guess shavings must really work!!! I personally use straw still and have been for about a year now. And I got to tell you, I really have to change! I clean my coop every 2-4 weeks and it is a pain!lol So I really have to go buy some cedar shavings! Oh yeah, are the cedar shavings the one in the big plastic bag-like things, that they use for rabits and other animals?
Thanks!
Eric

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#75024 - 05/17/08 10:13 AM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
Joachim Dippold Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1823
Loc: Austria
Hello Rhea Dean,

interesting, thanks! From my experience (wood?) shavings indeed react differently to fluid poop: it "sticks" together into big, hard, stinky chunks. Have heard this also from rabbit/cat breeders, it "forms" urine-chunks that stink. Hmmm...;-)

As for the leftover piles of straw and hay: those piles must be wet to rot faster/better, some farmers even sprinkle water onto their piles to accelerate the rotting process. We have several such "piles" also, they "rot" a bit more than half-a-meter per year in our environment/weather. I mean if you build a pile of 1 meter height it "rots" to less than half-a-meter in about a year. Iīm not sure if "rot" is the right term, infact it kinda transforms into good and "rich" soil which is super for plants.

Thatīs a big "con" for shavings and a big "pro" for straw, BTW. Used straw (and hay) can be brougth back onto the fields to enrich the soil, shavings can NOT. Not if you donīt want to "harm" your soil that is. Some befriended farmers have told me this. I think straw (or hay, or hemp, or whatever) makes a more natural "circle" compared to other shavings. Other shavings when used and pooped onto are waste, used/pooped straw is fertilizer. Straw is sustainable.

Just out of curiosity: what happens with all the poop in those shavings? Poop in straw gets "caught/stuck" and is easy to remove, but does poop stick onto those shavings, also?

Best greetings my Friend!
Joachim

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#75025 - 05/17/08 10:35 AM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8483
Loc: Montana
Poop just dries , and as the chicken scratch, it just dries quickly, and incorporates into the debris, DRY and not sticky, never any generation of ammonia, like smelly, wet straw, (unless you spill a water bucket and do not replace the resulting wet shavings with dry ones!) Addition of some fresh shavings from time to time, refreshes the accumulation, and keeps the Poultry Coop from smelling like POOP! When I clean out a pen--several inches of dry, dirty shavings, I sweep the plywood floor, and it is dry and almost as clean as new. Often it is acclumulation of feathers after molt that generates "cleanout time". Some feather piles can be picked up from the corners, but at real molt time, when its over, it means a nice renewed pen that smells "clean"--not like cedar (that nice odor leaves in a very short time)! And there is no harm from the aroma of cedar! The pieces are larger than baby chicks should be bedded on, otherwise it will not harm them-Pine shavings are finer. And still Pine lasts quite well,(and composts faster), but I just use it for chicks--after about 6 weeks, and for them while growing up.

And as for composting, the shavings, well integrated with the dry poop, makes a wonderful mulch for small fruit, or that composts to excellent growing medium for the garden!It takes longer, of course, but the result is very good.

The forests are healthy and renewed because of the wood product left on the ground, resulting from their age and decay. Modern forestry removes the trees that would add to the fertility and depth of forest soils. It also works well for your own soils. The more moisture added (same as for wetting down straw, grass, etc. compost) the faster the decay. Same for the forests--the coastal forests, where they remain, get a lot more rainfall, grow terrific "understory" of plant life. The dryer, inland regions, have less under growth, and the wood products take longer to "compost" and add to the soil.

DRY Shavings for poultry is superior to straw for the health of the birds, as well as the work of their caretakers.

For the skeptics--try it--the depth of shavings can be by trial. Summer, for my birds, that get out on green grass for part of most days, means just a good floor cover of shavings, and in winter, add depth of several inches--never more than they can move about scratching! (Some people like it really deep, but that can accumulte moisture at the floor, and I do NOT want that)--I want dry floors under the bedding. You just may like it ! And if you do not--just continue with what you like-my back appreciates shavings that a scoop shovel can fill and I can still lift. CJR

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#75026 - 05/17/08 11:59 AM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
Joachim Dippold Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1823
Loc: Austria
Thanks Jean,

for taking the time to explain! Though, a direct comparison with numbers would be great;-) For example how much poop (the amount in kg or lbs) for how much shavings, meaning how much shavings do you have in 1 coop and how many birds do poop how much onto this shavings?

You know itīs funny. Your post sounds like straw stinks in contrary to shavings. But I think this is not the "whole truth"!LOL! You say you renew the used/wet shavings to keep th ecoop from smelling like poop. Well, hmmm, how do I write it? We use straw. I renew the used/pooped straw as well as you replace your shavings, so no difference here. Simply because NEW shavings donīt stink as well as NEW straw doesīnīt stink! Itīs the WET straw that stinks, I agree on this one. But please donīt tell me WET shavings donīt stink, this is simply not true. Wet shavings will stink the same as wet straw will stink or wet hay or wet whatever, see what I mean? There is no difference to me;-)

Of course you are right on composting, I should have written more exact what I mean. I think we can agree on shavings rot WAY slower than straw/hay, right? It takes YEARS for shavings to rot and only MONTHS for straw to rot, I tried both and saw the difference clearly. Shavings can be found "undigested" by the soil 3 or 4 years after deposit - straw is "digested" after 15-20 months. The next "step" would be stones. Stones also "rot" to enrich the soil, but even slower than shavings. Grinded stones are ferilzer as well as shavings or shreddered straw.

Maybe the difference is only the AMOUNT of bedding used? I agree on one needs more straw than shavings to get the same results maybe? But then, straw is way cheaper than shavings. Could you "convert" your usage of shavings to straw? For example we use 1,000 bales of straw per year, so how much shavings would we need if we would want to swithch?

A bale of straw costs around 80 cents to buy and 1,000 kilos used straw costs 25 $ per ton to recycle. 1,000 bales are around 8 tons, so total costs of bedding is 1,000 new bales for 80 cent each plus 250 $ for recycling 10 tons (8 tons straw plus 2 tons poop) used straw makes around 1,000 bucks (1,050 $ to be exact) per year for our bedding.

EDIT:
As for the converting: 1 bale of straw = 0.09 cubic meters = 3.25 cubic feet = 8 kg = 17 lbs. Thatīs around half as heavy as 1 pack of shavings = 3.25 cu ft = 38 lbs = 17 kg. So 1 pack of shavings is around twice as heavy as 1 bale of the same sized (meaning the cubic meters) straw. I did a search and found this:

http://www.hayexchange.com/bedding/search_bedding.php

They sell 3.25 cu ft shavings for around 4 $, so 1,000 packs of shavings would be, errrrm, 4,000 bucks!!! Well, thatīs a difference, uh? But maybe because itīs twice as heave it also absorbs twice as good and so one needs only half as much? But this still would be 2,000 bucks only for buying the shavings. What does recycling the shavings cost over there per ton? Eitherway only the buing is twice as expensive as straw, so if we add the recycling costs it sure is way more expensive than straw, right? Or does one need even less packs? Again, my initial question was how many packs of shavings can one substitute for 1,000 bales of straw? This would sure be an interesting clculation, donīt you also think so?;-)

Best greetings,
Joachim

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#75027 - 05/17/08 01:31 PM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8483
Loc: Montana
Let's go back to wet shavings. My example was IF I SPILLED a BUCKET of WATER? I have done this several times in 15 years. The wet shavings were removed immediately! (and spread out, allowed to dry out on the Shop floor, to be used again, when dry!) My pens have NO WET SHAVINGS, hence no "chicken-poopy" smell--!!

The considerable amount of droppings in the cedar shavings, dry and powdery, provide the extra nitrogen, to hasten the compost process--more so than wet straw. Straw compost tends to harden because of its finer texture and is not as easy to cultivate or must be well worked into native soil. The remainder of some larger pieces in the Shavings compost adds to texture of the compost, good for plants.

I shall say no more. We live in different climates, different soils,different trees for shavings--and I find Cedar Shavings (at our cost) to be well worth it for the health and ease of care of my bantams. I am also a Gardener, Flowers, Landscape, Vegetables, Fruits, small fruits and trees as many kinds as our COLD climate permits, and I have shared my experiences of many years--we each have our own! CJR

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#75028 - 05/17/08 02:31 PM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
Joachim Dippold Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1823
Loc: Austria
Hehehe,

I donīt want to quarrel Jean! So what is "your cost" of cedar shavings? Is this a secret?LOL! To stay fair and able to compare we need NUMBERS;-)

Oh, before I forget: letīs stay realistic. Of course neither wet straw nor wet shavings does smell like chicken poop. So please explain to us why wet straw should smell like poop and wet shavings should not? Sounds like wishful thinking to me;-) As you might know birds "produce" moisture, so why should this "wet" straw smell like poop at all??? I still canīt follow your logic why shavings should be "better" at all, sorry!;-)

EDIT:
From our own experience: we have only raised chicks twice without a cluckie hen. So we had to build a large "housing" for them and used 2 different beddings to compare. We used shavings once and straw the other time. I needed about the SAME AMOUNT of bedding each time. The 1 pack of shavings did cost well over 8 bucks and lasted exactly as long as the 1 bale of straw - which did cost 80 cents...

Oh, last thing before I go to sleep:
Quote:
My pens have NO WET SHAVINGS, hence no "chicken-poopy" smell--!!
Hehehe! Same here: My pens have no wet straw, hence also no poop smell!;-) Sorry Jean to be repetitive, but where is the difference (except for the price)???

Another last thing;-) While visiting a breeder I noticed he had shavings for his bantams and straw for his Brahmas and Austrolorps(sp?). So maybe the heavy birds "sink into" the shavings too much, straw is more "solid", right?

Best greetings,
Joachim

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#75029 - 05/17/08 03:00 PM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
Foehn Offline
Administrator
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1968
Loc: New Zealand
I think the point here on wet straw or shavings is not the smell of poop, but rather the smell of ammonia, which is detrimental to the chooks delicate respitory system.
I use a fine sawdust/shaving/floss that comes off the the rather large bandsaw we use for cutting firewood. Most of this wood is macrocarpa, so it has a slightly "turpentine" smell about it. I don't find the fineness of it a problem because my hens use a ramp to walk up to their roosts (They're spoilt) so, no flapping equates to no desturbed dust, and that applies equally to dander, floating in the air.

Whether you compost in a heap or bin, or trench in the ground, you can speed up the decay of shavings and poop, or straw and poop very easily by the addition of EM (Effective Micro-organisms) and your soil no matter what type, or where you live, will love you for it. You should get a rich organic mulch within a few months, full of earthworms, and it's great for your plants.

Shavings will not be hanging round in the soil for 3-4 years if you do it this way (EM)Add a little lime to your heap as well, and not only will it smell sweeter, but the worms will be happier to oblige with the process of digestion. Shavings might not add much nutritionally to the soil, but they do add fibre, which is important if the soil you have is heavy clay.

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#75030 - 05/17/08 09:57 PM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
Malena Offline
Chick

Registered: 05/02/08
Posts: 19
Loc: Belgium
Now days I only have small housing for my chicks since we don't have cold winters here in Belgium and no predators to watch out for. I use to live in Sweden and keep all my chicks locked up over the winter in a bigger housing though. On the floors I always used sand -the cleaned sand you can by where they sell building material.
I cleaned every wekend but it took me ten minutes with a light rake and a shovel. The chickens loved it and you can sell the pure manure since it really is pure. I gave it to my mother and she boild it and poured it on the ground around her roses and she had the most beatiful roses in the area. It also keeps the chickens clean and mite free and it is good for their feet. I still use sand if I have small chickens. It keeps the warmt very well and a small area is easy to clean with the kind of spade you use to clean a cat's box. I use hay in their nests.

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#75031 - 05/17/08 11:11 PM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
Joachim Dippold Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1823
Loc: Austria
Thanks Foehn for your input!

Yep, ammonia, I see, thanks! Sure, I agree. But I hope you agree on ammonia does not build in DRY straw, right? So you see, the question remains: whereīs the difference?

Best greetings,
Joachim

PS: No need to answer, just wanted to repeat the question!;-)

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#75032 - 05/18/08 06:12 PM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
RuffEnuff Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 01/27/06
Posts: 1148
Loc: Australia
i live in a warm wet climate and find molds also grow in hay. mold spores and ammonia encourage respiratory disease and eye problems.

since i have moved to shavings i found i have far less problems. also shavings are better for the feather footed birds who cannot dig so well in hay but can in the shavings which tends to mix the droppings through the media and not accumulate on top and stick to the footings.

i buy the shavings by the trailer load from our local saw mill however i have to be quick to try and get dry shavings due to our very wet climate (like having to have a few dry days that don't happen on the week end). i do resort to damp shavings at times which do dry well and are not so bad if the weather is fine and the shed well ventilated. some of the training pens i don't have to clean...the chooks shovel it out and i just shovel more in.
k

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#75033 - 05/20/08 10:48 PM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
Chicken Wired Offline
Bantam

Registered: 08/23/07
Posts: 51
Loc: California
Oh My Goodness. Malena, I would like to hear more about boiling poop and using it as fertilizer for roses. Did your mother use fresh poop or "seasoned"? (By that I mean chalky and hard.) And how often did she use it? I've been having some fun experimenting with my chicken's poop and combining it with different elements--lime, yard clippings, peat moss, etc, but I never thought to boil it. What a concept! Please tell me more so I can have prettier, brighter roses, too.

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#75034 - 05/21/08 04:15 AM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
Sue NH Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 11/15/04
Posts: 182
Loc: New Hampshire
Cost is a consideration too. Straw is expensive here in NH. I can get sawdust by the truckload for free at the mill around the corner. $5 if you want them to fire up the loader and fill your pickup.

Last time I checked at the feed store a bale of straw was nearly $10. I can buy feed hay for $3. I do mix some feed hay in the winter into the coop. Since I go for the free but finer sawdust rather than shavings the hay helps keep it from matting down too tight.

The only people who buy straw here are using them in birthing barns and stalls. It just got too expensive.

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#75035 - 05/21/08 11:59 AM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
Jojuan Offline
Feather

Registered: 05/15/08
Posts: 20
Loc: Oregon
Finally, I found a moment to sit and read the great replies. I'm so torn...attributes to both straw and shavings...and now there's sand to consider!

Garden-wise, shavings gobble up valuable nitrogen during their slow decomposition...the very thing I want my plants to get. Straw doesn't hog nitrogen, but I really value easy cleaning and healthy air in the coop.

* * * * RECIPE: Manure "Tea"
I've read that steeping a burlap bag of it in a barrel of water for a week, then diluting the tea by half (1:1) with water is a perfect and gentle fertilizer for any flower or vegetable.

Chickens just give and give and give! ;^)

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#75036 - 05/21/08 01:00 PM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
Uno Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 1280
Loc: Canada
To further muddy the waters...

The action of composting DOES gobble up nutrients, and thus should not happen IN the garden, but at a separate location. Any manure / bedding added to the garden should never be added fresh! Only after it has sat and aged in its own pile for a year or better.

The only shavings that get truly wet( in my hen house) are under the roost. That area is separated off by a board. They do not scratch the poopy shaving out much since they are contained. When I clean my hen house, I usually only shovel out the poo pit. I then scrape the less poopy and DRY shavings from the surrounding floor and throw that into the poo pit. Then I top up the floor area with more fresh shavings. Shavings in my hen house have a two stage life. First on the floor where they get mildy poopy but stay dry, then into the poo pit where they get all the roost droppings and get shovelled out when they are good and wet. But the rest of my floor is always dry.

I have used straw, I have used shavings. Straw weighs more when it's wet and harder to work with a shovel. I think straw requires a pitchfork when it is matted with poop. The shavings do form a rather solid chunk when thick with poop, but like cutting a waffle, I can slice it into chunks of any size I want with my shovel very easily. I find shoving a pitchfork into a mass of sticky straw and you end up lifting an area the size of a kichen table. This is awkward since my poo pit is under a fixed roost so I am shoveling underneath something, like trying to shovel out under a stairway. Shavings are more physically manageable for me.

I also use shavings since hubby works in cedar mill and they are in constant supply, often they arrive wet, as in the wood that made them was wet, but they dry rather quickly as the hens kick it around.

The main point is this..find out for yourself what works for you. Experiment. Section off the are under the roost so the poopiest bedding stays put and does not get all mixed around. This keeps the dirtiest bedding in one place, keeping the rest of your floor area drier and somewhat cleaner. As for chicken manure in the garden, I have great piles of it, years old, all fluffy with cedar shaving and I DO NOT put it in my garden! FOr that I have old horse manure that has no straw or hay or shavings in it at all. Just pure poop.

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#75037 - 05/21/08 05:55 PM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
Jojuan Offline
Feather

Registered: 05/15/08
Posts: 20
Loc: Oregon
Good point, Uno. Experiment. Who knows what will work best here in the Willamette Valley. You've given me the idea to try shavings in the poo pit and straw on the floor; although, your two-stage plan for shavings is brilliant.

Now, finding straw that hasn't been sprayed with a herbicide may be a challenge, but after a year in the compost pile, the straw mix will turn to "black gold" for my garden...whereas, the shavings mixture couldn't be used for years...not unless I want to add EXTRA nitrogen, and since it's a petroleum product, who knows what that might cost!

Thanks again. This thread has been most helpful.

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#75038 - 05/29/08 09:47 PM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
Gertie Bird Offline
New Egg

Registered: 11/28/06
Posts: 3
Loc: Oregon
sounds like things are getting heated up - just wanted to throw in the idea that we've been using peat moss as bedding in our coop and in our henhouse, after using both straw and wood shavings for several years (we got them free from a builder friend), and we've found that that the peat moss keeps the run tidier and way less stinky. we do throw in some straw - because the birds love to kick it around - but we'll never go back to straw or shavings if we can help it. peat moss works great!

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#75039 - 05/30/08 05:36 AM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
Upback Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Maine
Hey guys. This is a great thread. I just wanted to add my 2 cents.

Fresh, uncomposted shavings and poop work great as a mulch around trees, if one does not want to add them all to the compost pile for the garden. We are currently using all the fresh, dirty litter from our duck brooders in large, deep circles around our newly planted fruit trees, starting well away from the trunk ( it works for roses and all variety of shrubs, too ). It can decompose where it is, does not burn since it is atop thick grass that is is smothering, and the worms come up like mad to hasten the decomposition. We won't be eating fruit from these trees for a few years yet, so we are not worried about pathogens.

I agree with Uno - what ever works. We use shavings, straw, dry oak, maple and pine occasionally. Whatever is readily available and inexpensive or better yet, free. We do have a few peat bogs back in the woods that we've used to mulch blueberries with. Now I'm thinking I may harvest some and dry it for nest boxes. Great idea gertiebird.

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#75040 - 06/02/08 10:04 PM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
Jojuan Offline
Feather

Registered: 05/15/08
Posts: 20
Loc: Oregon
Gertiebird, how thick do you lay the peat moss down? How long does it last? Since you and I are in the same weather "zone" here in the rainy Willamette Valley, I'm thinking I'll try the peat moss, too, when I get the coop up. Thanks for the great tip!

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#75041 - 06/03/08 06:41 AM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
Dee Dee Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 11/19/02
Posts: 174
Loc: Maryland
Gertiebird, the peatmoss sounds like a great idea, like Jojuan would like to know how thick you lay it down and how you manage it, i.e. do you add on like a deep litter system or completely change it out periodically? Have several bales that have been sitting and would like to try it out myself...

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#75042 - 06/03/08 10:50 AM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
P. Smith1340 Offline
Chicken

Registered: 02/28/08
Posts: 94
Loc: Oregon
I third that request, as peat moss would break down the fastest out of all the beddings listed here and provide nutrients for the garden very quickly! I mixed some in this year to provide drainage, never thought about putting some in the coop.

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#75043 - 06/03/08 11:48 AM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8483
Loc: Montana
My sister-in-law actually raked Sphagnum Moss from a nearby bog in summer, to bed her poultry house. It was clean and worked very well.

With Peat Moss, white chickens??? No harm, just dusty white. CJR

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#75044 - 06/10/08 04:38 PM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
Jojuan Offline
Feather

Registered: 05/15/08
Posts: 20
Loc: Oregon
Well, time to celebrate! I took the plunge - in more ways than one. Last Thursday, I finally purchased 8-day-old and 14-day-old chicks - my first! After 5 days, now, on paper towels, they started shredding and eating them. Knowing it couldn't be healthy, I replaced the PT with about an inch of dry peat moss.

Oh, then the antics began! Two immediately went into dusting frenzies that lasted well over 10 minutes. The rest just gawked or beaked through the curious fluff and scratched like their lives depended on it.

Also, over the weekend, I cut a thick branch to fit as a low perch. They went nuts over it! Even when I remove it for cleaning they refuse to get off...then when I'm returning it, a couple of the chicks hop on board even before I have it lowered in place.

The downside so far is that the "dusting" throws moss into the water, but that doesn't seem to stop them from drinking. Better, I think, than eating paper towel. All seem to be thriving and enjoying the heat from the 100-watt bulb.

If I learn anything more about using peat moss, I'll share my observations.

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#75045 - 06/12/08 06:41 PM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
P. Smith1340 Offline
Chicken

Registered: 02/28/08
Posts: 94
Loc: Oregon
Chicks dusting is definitely a fun activity to watch. My boyfriend (city boy that he is) called me to tell me they were having seizures the first time ours did that. LOL

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#75046 - 06/12/08 09:50 PM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
Foehn Offline
Administrator
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1968
Loc: New Zealand
I can't see how anyone who is not very familiar with chickens would think that! :p :rolleyes:

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#75047 - 06/13/08 08:58 PM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
P. Smith1340 Offline
Chicken

Registered: 02/28/08
Posts: 94
Loc: Oregon
Yea I know me neither wink

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#75048 - 06/16/08 04:14 PM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
Chris2001 Offline
Chick

Registered: 06/09/08
Posts: 14
Loc: Alabama
In the summer when I cut my grass I use it in the coop and in the winter I go out to my pine trees and rake up straw. It dont cost anything and my garden seem to like it when I clean the coop out once a month

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#75049 - 06/16/08 05:04 PM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
Kbaiko Offline
Chicken

Registered: 05/24/08
Posts: 98
Loc: Arizona
I feed my horses bermuda hay. I use all the leftovers from the feed room floor in the nest boxes and on the coop floor. The hay is in small pieces that the horses will not eat. It's free, the chickens like it and when their done with it, it goes into the compost pile for the garden.

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#75050 - 06/18/08 04:38 PM Re: Straw vs. Shavings: Why the switch?
Jojuan Offline
Feather

Registered: 05/15/08
Posts: 20
Loc: Oregon
UPDATE: Using Peat Moss in the Brooder Box

Chicks have been on peat moss for 8 days, now. I started with a half-inch layer and added gradually as seemed necessary. Today, I removed it all (bagged for compost pile) and started with a fresh layer in the box.

PRO: very absorbant, doesn't pack down, virtually no odors in the box
CON: fine brown particles fly into the air at the slightest movement - everything within 10 feet cloaked in dust - including me!

I'm looking forward to getting the chicks into the ark so I can clean my basement. Then, I'll give pine shavings a try so I can compare the two.

Anybody else "out there" try it?

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