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#1 2017-03-31 15:31:49

niglefritz
Moderator
From: western MB
Registered: 2012-02-21
Posts: 1064

Coop bedding comparisions

I found this interesting: https://zacsgarden.com/chicken-husbandr … -reviewed/

I am still working on trying to find hemp bedding and the best pricing. I could source the straw here probably quite inexpensively as farmers here just burn it. My problem is preparing it for proper use in a coop.

I have contacted a few different companies, and have started hearing back from some.


FOCUS: blue JG FUN: RIR, copper marans, silkies, guinea, muscovy, IR
WTB: SP SUSSEX; IR: Black, white, & fawn & white hens; Guinea: pearl hens, Cayuga
My Daughter's Shop: feathers & more create beautiful accessories: www.etsy.com/shop/DreamOfMustangsMB ;horse;

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#2 2017-03-31 15:43:31

Back2roots
Growing Member
Registered: 2015-07-16
Posts: 109

Re: Coop bedding comparisions

Flax bedding is similar to hemp, and maybe you'll have better luck sourcing it where you are. I have been using flax bedding for 3 years now and I've never looked back.

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#3 2017-03-31 16:06:18

niglefritz
Moderator
From: western MB
Registered: 2012-02-21
Posts: 1064

Re: Coop bedding comparisions

Hemp is supposed to keep bugs at bay. How have you found flax to perform in that way? That and the warmth factor, easy decomposition, & the pesticide free aspect appeals to me.

In my experience, flax (in bale form) decomposes very slowly and would be harsh, not soft. Do you get it chopped fine? Would that make any difference? How is it dust-wise?

Flax certainly would be easy to source as guys just burn that too, however it would have more of a pesticide content than hemp. Do you just use it straight from the field (regular bales), or chopped smaller and bagged from a store?

With cleaning out the spring coops finally able to happen, I would like to make the switch to something other than barley/wheat straw.


FOCUS: blue JG FUN: RIR, copper marans, silkies, guinea, muscovy, IR
WTB: SP SUSSEX; IR: Black, white, & fawn & white hens; Guinea: pearl hens, Cayuga
My Daughter's Shop: feathers & more create beautiful accessories: www.etsy.com/shop/DreamOfMustangsMB ;horse;

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#4 2017-03-31 17:02:30

shaneb99
A.C.E. Addicted
From: Strathmore
Registered: 2012-08-28
Posts: 1432

Re: Coop bedding comparisions

I use wheat straw.  It's readily available and about 1/2 the price of pine shavings.  I disagree with the article that you need to clean it every week.  About 2x per year I fork out mats that the ducks create.  They tend to sit in one spot all the time and don't turn the straw like the chickens do.  In my houses that don't have ducks I only clean right under the roost in the spring or not at all.  In my Cochin house I only take some out when I want to put it on the garden as they make nice friable compost.


Feather Feet - Light, Dark, Buff & Blue Brahmas, Black, Blue & Silver Laced Cochins, Black Copper, Blue Copper,  Blue & Wheaten Marans, Silkies & an ever changing flock of Call & Silver Appleyard Ducks, Geese, Muscovies, Turkeys, Guineas and Peafowl.  2 Akbash Maremma guardians keep watch and a very patient wife who tries to keep me grounded.

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#5 2017-03-31 17:18:10

Journey's End
Moderator
From: PEI
Registered: 2009-08-03
Posts: 2118

Re: Coop bedding comparisions

I can't see sand as practical since it's so heavy, and straw mats. I have enough trouble cleaning the goat pen with straw and hay, I won't do it for the chickens too. We use peat and shavings. Peat first, on the clean floor. It's super absorbant. Then shavings in the nest boxes and when I clean the nest boxes the shavings get dumped on the floor and mixed in. Works for us.


Homesteading, homeschooling, hillbilly mama of three.

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#6 2017-03-31 17:59:31

uno
I Love A.C.E.
From: Enderby, BC
Registered: 2009-02-22
Posts: 5229
Website

Re: Coop bedding comparisions

I use CEDAR  :shock:.  From birth to death my birds are on the evil cedar. Which is not evil. But cedar is supposed to have the most effective bug control properties and I am here to tell you that NOTHING has bug controlling properties. Volatile oils evaporate off very quickly when fibres are broken into smaller pieces by shaving or chopping. Maybe a whole hemp plant has bug repelling qualities but those qualities diminish rapidly the more that fibre is processed and exposed to air. So do NOT base your bedding choice on the appealing (but false) idea that any of them are going to keep bugs off your birds.

I think a key consideration is eventual re-use of the poopy bedding after it is taken out of the hen house. I would research what various fibres add to the soil as they compost or if they remove stuff from the soil (some do!) I use cedar because it is free and easy to get. But it has limited garden  use in my situation.

Last edited by uno (2017-03-31 18:00:04)

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#7 2017-03-31 18:24:14

OC
Growing Member
From: Ontario
Registered: 2014-08-12
Posts: 31

Re: Coop bedding comparisions

I use straw in the winter for deep bedding, works very well, "fluffed" on regular bases lets the heavier droppings fall try and surface stays dry and offers very good insulation.
Cleaned out in the spring, goes on the compost pile and is replaced by wood-shavings for the summer for cooler pens.
By fall start to add straw and let build up in the winter..and so on.....
I use flax bedding for chicks, much less dust then wood shavings if they have to spend few days in the house.
I didn't like it in the barn as much, it tends to clamp so doesn't offer as much insulation value.
Much will depend on management techniques and type of housing.

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#8 2017-03-31 21:03:51

lornem
Growing Member
From: Drayton, ON.
Registered: 2016-02-21
Posts: 65

Re: Coop bedding comparisions

Breed of chicken can also affect your choice.
Some breeds are constantly scratching and turning it up while other breeds just walk on it and scratch very little.
My Stardard Cornish have totally mashed my wheatstraw into little bits while my Malines just pack the whole straw down. I think most feathered leg birds tend to scratch less.


Better to be dumb as a stump and learn as you go,...than to be a know it all and get stumped:
Live and learn while thinking outside the box.

Standard White Cornish, In development - Crazy-crosses Meat line:...........2017 project...Catalanas

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#9 2017-04-01 21:53:00

Back2roots
Growing Member
Registered: 2015-07-16
Posts: 109

Re: Coop bedding comparisions

niglefritz wrote:

Hemp is supposed to keep bugs at bay. How have you found flax to perform in that way? That and the warmth factor, easy decomposition, & the pesticide free aspect appeals to me.

In my experience, flax (in bale form) decomposes very slowly and would be harsh, not soft. Do you get it chopped fine? Would that make any difference? How is it dust-wise?

Flax certainly would be easy to source as guys just burn that too, however it would have more of a pesticide content than hemp. Do you just use it straight from the field (regular bales), or chopped smaller and bagged from a store?

With cleaning out the spring coops finally able to happen, I would like to make the switch to something other than barley/wheat straw.

I don't know about the bug deterrent capabilities of flax. All I can attest to is its moisture absorbency and its minimal dust benefits. I am not a "real" poultry keeper by a lot of people's standards:  I am a backyard-er with a half acre of "free-ranging" property. I have a small coop/run for 5 hens (used to be six) and I "free-range" in the warmer months when I'm home. In the winter I just scoop out the obvious poop on a weekly basis. I also have a poop board that I clean out every morning. I throw down extra flax on the coop floor in the winter, and this winter I mixed it with wood shavings because I had a difficulty sourcing flax. I have since found out that my original source has found flax bedding from flaxfarm.ca.
I don't find that flax decomposes more slowly than wood shavings.
For more info: www.flaxfarm.ca 416.519.7876

Last edited by Back2roots (2017-04-03 12:24:51)

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#10 2017-04-02 04:54:37

GalaBoys
I Love A.C.E.
From: Alberta
Registered: 2014-01-14
Posts: 1985
Website

Re: Coop bedding comparisions

Long straw sucks for bedding. Chopped straw is a little better. I use straw in my duck coop and shavings in my chicken coop.


Gala Partridge Chanteclers   www.partridgechanteclers.com
Maker of chicken saddles, fan of evidence-based poultry keeping.
Vermilion Fair APA Poultry Show: July 29, 2017 - visit www.vermilionag.ca to enter
2018 St. Paul Critter Market - May 19, 2018 - www.lakelandchickengroup.com

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#11 2017-04-02 10:30:30

Martin Grove Farm
Administrator
From: Waterloo/St. Jacobs, Ontario
Registered: 2009-11-02
Posts: 19062

Re: Coop bedding comparisions

We use wood shavings and peat moss.  Half of the barn just got a whole clean out last week.  I would like to do a complete clean out on the other half as well.  This is the first whole clean out in few years.  We usually just scoop out the nasty bits and add more shavings and peat moss.  The chickens do a great job spreading it.  The litter is nice and deep at this point.


"I never learned from a man who agreed with me".~~Robert A. Heinlein.
“Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who'll argue with you.” - John Wooden
May every word that we speak, and every word that we type, be words that lift up and never words that tear down

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#12 2017-04-02 19:47:24

niglefritz
Moderator
From: western MB
Registered: 2012-02-21
Posts: 1064

Re: Coop bedding comparisions

Thanks, Back2roots and everyone else. It is interesting what people choose & why.


FOCUS: blue JG FUN: RIR, copper marans, silkies, guinea, muscovy, IR
WTB: SP SUSSEX; IR: Black, white, & fawn & white hens; Guinea: pearl hens, Cayuga
My Daughter's Shop: feathers & more create beautiful accessories: www.etsy.com/shop/DreamOfMustangsMB ;horse;

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