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Natural Bedding for Chicks  RSS feed

 
John Natoli
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Any suggestions on natural bedding for chicks, preferably something that I might have around the house or can gather from my property or locally in this season (in NJ)?

I've used shredded paper bags in the past but they got pretty soggy and gross quickly. I'm thinking maybe dried leaves, cut grass.
 
Chris Sargent
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Location: SE Alaska
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Sawdust, wood shaving, and wood chips work well.  I collect a lot of the small chips from the chainsaw created when cutting up our firewood.  Sawdust if you work with wood or knows anyone who does.  Just be careful that if didn't come from any type of treated wood. 

Dried leaves are good.  Dried lawn/grass clippings are ok mixed with other material but seem to mat down a lot on their own. 

I haven't personally tried it but have though about keeping them on sand. 

 
John Natoli
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Chris Sargent wrote:Sawdust, wood shaving, and wood chips work well.  I collect a lot of the small chips from the chainsaw created when cutting up our firewood.  Sawdust if you work with wood or knows anyone who does.  Just be careful that if didn't come from any type of treated wood. 

Dried leaves are good.  Dried lawn/grass clippings are ok mixed with other material but seem to mat down a lot on their own. 

I haven't personally tried it but have though about keeping them on sand. 



Thanks Chris, great to hear from someone with first-hand experience with these.
 
Todd Parr
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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I use pine shavings, hay, or wood chips.  I personally don't like sawdust because it's so dusty.  Hay doesn't absorb as well, but there are lots of seeds and things for the chicks to pick at and I think it gives them a good start on foraging. 
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I end up giving my chicks so much garden soil to help them learn to forage that their bedding sort of turns into a compost heap.  So, I would say, add a little of everything as long as it isn't wet, and they should be fine.
 
John Natoli
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Todd Parr wrote:I use pine shavings, hay, or wood chips.  I personally don't like sawdust because it's so dusty.  Hay doesn't absorb as well, but there are lots of seeds and things for the chicks to pick at and I think it gives them a good start on foraging. 


Good point about the foraging, thanks.
 
William Bronson
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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I alternate layers if autumn leaves with random bits if soil and used rabbit bedding-timothy or orchard grass.
Seems to work,no stink and they like to dig in it.
Strait leaves didn't seem to please them at all,they wouldn't scratch!
That's why I started adding soil. It is more like what they want to scratch in, and it adds breakdown of the leaves, rabbit turds,hay, and spilt food.
 
John Natoli
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Tyler and William thanks very much. It hadn't even occurred to me to include soil but that makes perfect sense.
 
Susan Pruitt
Posts: 61
Location: North Carolina, USA Zone 7b
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I became a new chicken keeper last year and tried a few of the above materials.  I haven't found a source for sawdust, so when they were still in the brooder I put leaves and woodchips on one end of the box, pine shavings in another corner and half-dried hay in the opposite corner.     They enjoyed the woodchips for foraging but didn't sleep there.  The woodchips also retain moisture so it got kinda stainky.     They always slept on the hay, and didn't seem to want to spend time on the shavings.    When I moved them out to the coop I tried hay alternating with dry straw.    I think again, they prefer the hay (it's softer and more pliable)  but I've noticed it does not dry out the poops and eliminate odors as quickly as straw.   Hay is cheaper and since I'm not doing deep mulch (only 6 hens in a moderate climate),   I'm using hay in the nesting boxes and a thin layer on the floor under the roost, which is easy to sweep out every couple days and replenish without wasting a lot of material, while keeping everything fresh.  
 
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