Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Using Straw in the Chicken Yard

DON'T DO IT!!  There, I said it, again.  About 2 or 3 years ago I vowed never to put straw down in my chicken runs.  I had used it over the winter to protect their feet from the snow and cold and it worked great at the time.  UNTIL . . . the snow melted, lots of poop, then lots of rain which then turned into LOTS of STINK!!  YUK!  It was a horrid mess and a LOT of work to clean up.  I vowed, never again!  Well, this past winter for some reason our local farm store was having trouble keeping shavings in stock and I went back to putting straw down in the runs after we had a couple of near blizzard type snowfalls.

I am now again reminded of and regretting my decision.  I hauled 6 full wheelbarrow loads of yucky straw and poop from one of my smaller runs. On top of that, I'm pretty sure one of my hens now has a crop blockage (hopefully not impacted) she is dealing with.  She most likely got it from eating the straw, ughh!  I'm treating her but might end up deciding to just cull her.  Yes, some of the chickens are pets but their purpose on our homestead is food so the majority of my current stock is expendable.  Those we have tagged as our pets will stay with us till they pass but freezer camp is the option for the rest as the time arises.

I still have another run to clean out and part of my main coop run too.  Work I would not have to be performing had I just put extra shavings down instead.  I hope I don't forget this again.  It is just so not worth all the extra work to have to haul it away.  Add to that a sick hen who is most likely not laying right now due to her illness.  I hope she pulls out of it.  She is a pretty good layer (Copper Marans) who is just now about 1 1/2 years old.

Straw might work for some, but for me it does not.  Do you use straw in your coop and/or runs?  I just personally prefer pine shavings all around.  It has always done me well and kept my hens and roosters happy and healthy.

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