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Straw or Hay for Chickens

Deering, NH(Zone 5a)

Ok, I want to know straw or hay for chickens and why?

Bessemer, AL(Zone 8b)

rhodie, hay is best, as it don't prick thier butt like straw. my girls don't like either, so i put pine bedding in thier nest.
hope this helps

Deering, NH(Zone 5a)

What is pine bedding??

Bessemer, AL(Zone 8b)

it's pine shaving. i get it at feed stores in bales.

(Zone 7b)

jordan mine are right the opposite they won't use their nest if i put shaveings in they prefer the straw.
I use Burmuda and i put a nice bed of it in my rabbits hutch they have a nice warm bed they can eat LOL.
If your speaking of the floor use shaveing the hay when wet can get moldy.

Bessemer, AL(Zone 8b)

mine don't like hay or straw anywhere. they want the shavings. they are just a bit spoiled!

Deering, NH(Zone 5a)

OK, which is easier for the chickens, straw or hay? I know that other animals eat hay, is it safe for the chickens to eat? They basically eat anything that goes in the coop.

Bessemer, AL(Zone 8b)

hay s safe.

(Zone 7b)

Yes Mine enjoy the seed heads and will break off little pieces it's perfectly safe.

Deering, NH(Zone 5a)

Thanks.

Elbridge, NY(Zone 5a)

Yup, I use hay. They love spreading it around and eating the seeds.
JKJ, you spoiled them girls! hehehe

Belchertown, MA

shavings here - I was told that straw/hay was bad because they could injest the whole piece and it would cause problems - ......just going by what I was told - no evidence.
??

Deering, NH(Zone 5a)

The reason why I am trying to find out is because DH did some research and found out that hay could do some damage to chickens. He's going to find that out for me so that I know what's up.

(Zone 7b)

Hmmmmm don't understand the warning about hay/straw i personaly don't like straw because it's hard and very stiff. The burmuda i use is very soft and makes good dove and pigeon nest and i put it in the hen nest. I use it on some of the cage wire floors to block out the wind on my young birds.

Maybe could it cause crop impaction when they swallow the long pieces whole?? I'm sure with their gizzard to grind the small pieces it would pass through thier system.

Sue, RI(Zone 6a)

I use pine shavings in their nest boxes and hay on the coop floor.

Kingman, AZ(Zone 7a)

I use the droppings from my alfalfa that collect on the pallets where I store my hay for my horses. When I get new hay, I rake up the stuff that has fallen and throw it in there..

Bridgewater, ME

I use pine shavings also and straw in the nesting boxes,I tried to switch last week to all shavings and they started laying on the floor so went back to straw in the nesting boxes,I think it must be whatever you start them out with is what they like best.

Brookville, PA(Zone 5a)

i use bales of wood shavings that i get at TSC. and i change under the roosts about every 2 weeks, then i can just rake and fluff the rest of the coop..i love it and the cleanings make wonderful fertilizer..just let it "age" for a season, and its ready to use..i love the easy way..

Corning, CA

pine bedding is OK I guess - however one needs to be cautious when young chicks are around (if it is too heavily scented it can - and has - killed them). i personally use hay/straw for all of my flocks - including brooders - during Winter. Aside from the cost factor, which for thousands of birds, can really get expensive.....however the main reason is that (during Winter) hay/straw actually lowers my heat bill - by SEVERAL hundred dollars each month....that simply doesn't happen with peat or pine bedding.

Foley, MO

I use straw for their nesting boxes and a combination of pine chips and straw for their floor. They seem to like it and it works pretty good with keeping down the smell and moisture.

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8a)

Anyone know why I would have read on BYC someone saying not to ever put hay in with chickens???? I have it in the girls run right now to cut down on the mud -- well that was before it started snowing... any knowledge to share?

Elbridge, NY(Zone 5a)

I use hay in the coop, in the nesting boxes, in the run as well. In the run it keeps down the mud a bit. They love it. They eat the seeds out of it and have a field day. I think they may be referring to moldy hay. It can cause blindness in rabbits and may cause certain respitory illness if it carries a certain mold. I am not sure though. If someone knows something I donít let me know. My hay in the coop does not get wet. The coop is insulated and dry. No way for it to get moldy.

Clarkson, KY

Can't imagine any concern but mold from old hay, but surely someone has something? There was a recent discussion about it somewhere...


As constantly as chickens scratch around everywhere I can't imagine mold having much of a chance unless it was in the hay before it was put down...

This message was edited Dec 27, 2008 10:16 AM

Elbridge, NY(Zone 5a)

Ya, thats what I was thinking Grow. I dunno!

Clarkson, KY

We're gonna blow 'em away with all this profound thought -lol!!

Elbridge, NY(Zone 5a)

Brain cramp! ouch!

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8a)

Thanks gals! That's what I was thinking. Now, forgive me DH isn't here to correct me, but whats the difference between hay and straw and is STRAW bad for chickens?

(Tia) Norman, OK(Zone 7a)

My hubby said Straw is wheat. I wouldnt think it would be bad for chickens. On a side note straw hay is very very good for tomato planting.

Most times mold on hay/straw is because when it was bailed it was wet. From what I know around here what they do is cut it then let it lay for a few days to dry out then they bail it up. While it is laying on the ground cut, the farmers pray for no rain or morning dew.

Clarkson, KY

Hay is edible grasses, stem, seed and all. Straw is what's left after the seed has been cut off the top -typical of wheat or other post harvest grain. Since the grain is left to dry while the hay is cut green, straw ends up much stiffer and is almost useless nutritionally...

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8a)

Thank you! That helps immensely!

Clarkson, KY

(I asked the very same question about 3 years ago, equally puzzled;-)

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8a)

Glad I'm not the only one to not know then! :-D

Elbridge, NY(Zone 5a)

Oh no, I just learned it this year when I was trying to decide weather to use hay or wood shavings. We all had to learn at some point, and I bet many will find out right here! hehehe

(Zone 7b)

My son works on a hay farm and they call it all hay only by different names Alfalfa,Burmuda,Timothy and they have orchard grass it is all edible. The orchard grass is what i call straw very tuff and thick. The others are gathered seed heads and all i don't really know which but some of these is better for horses.
It also is in different price ranges i buy Burmuda hay and use that it's $8 Bale.
If anyone wants to know the nutrition i can ask my son.

Sugar Valley, GA(Zone 7b)

Alfalfa Hay, then Timothy then Bermuda is best in that order for horses depending on what other supplements you feed.. Straw is the bottom stalks left after the wheat is harvested...Then they go back and mow off those about 12 inch tall stalks and bale it...It is of no nutritional value whatsoever...It was/is used in cattle and horse barns etc to help collect the manure... It makes a great compost....Our chickens free ranged and used the cow and horse barns to get what they wanted and lay their eggs...Shavings are modern day mans invention to cleanliness and ease of cleaning...Not that many of us, in my day, had access to a sawmill to get shavings or sawdust...GrandFather used straw on the floor and in the nest boxes, however he did clip it in half for the boxes so it was easier for the hens to move they way they wanted it...
I agree..it is all in how you raise your chicks as to what they prefer...
Straw here is $2.50 a bale and Hay is $3.75 a square bale...


(Zone 7b)

Thank You General and no pun intended but now that the dust has settled over here i hope to see more of you♥

Sugar Valley, GA(Zone 7b)

Thank you Harmony... Now that the dust has settled over here after my latest household move, also no pun intended... I hope to be able to spend more time here as well...It was a very fast move, due to the weather and availability of my son and friends to come from MI to move me...Little was packed, so it was a throw together job, and I am still hunting down missing items....You would think with all of my years in the military I would have it down pat by now... LOL But I didnt have a hubby and all his workshop and 5 dogs to worry about either... LOL

(Zone 7b)

Nice to hear from you and hope you find everything i've moved a few time's and each time something just disappeared.
Never could figure that out i lost a quilt and a bread pan never to this day know where they went.

Deering, NH(Zone 5a)

Hi All,
Well don't ask how I became a subscriber, that was thanks to a very dear friend. Over the weekend I put a bag of shavings in both parts of the chicken coup and the chickens love it. They been staying in there longer than being out in the fence area. We will be buiying straw and more shavings to help them out. DH also wants to buy a reflector to give them some extra needed light. Just not too much.

Elbridge, NY(Zone 5a)

Welcome back!!! Its great to see you!
How is the weather there now??? I know you had a stretch of really bad stuff and no power for 9 days or more! I sure hope all is well!!!
I have never used wood shavings but I bet they have fun in them.
jeanmarie ♥

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