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Los Angeles Urban Chicken Enthusiasts Message Board › Bedding --- hay vs. straw

Bedding --- hay vs. straw

Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 265
Hi Nora - I agree with Brandi. There's a difference between meeting the bare-bones "needs" of any animal, versus providing whatever you feel is the best you can offer. Many of us have taken on chicken-keeping as a response to the way chickens are kept in the factory-farming model, where only their barest physical needs are met, in order to maximize production while minimizing costs. Do my hens need grated carrots and chopped broccoli every day? Plus sunflower seeds, scraps and bugs? Maybe, maybe not. But their mental health is as important to me as their physical health, and I want them to live long, healthy lives. I firmly believe that better nutrition is a key to any creature's health and longevity, so I spoil all my critters as much as I can with nutrient-dense foods (and the mental stimulation they provide as a bonus). Health and happiness both start in the gut wink I'm not convinced that any particular "complete" feed can possibly provide the same complete nutrition that animals will find on their own, foraging amongst all their options, when left to their own devices. I certainly wouldn't want to live on Cheerios!
Roberta K.
user 10948851
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 376
Is the feed medicated? I would avoid daily use of antibiotics as it can be excreted in the droppings and if you are trying to grow a garden, you want a good deal of bacteria, Also i've seen a couple of coops that are just dirt floors and the become muddy and stinky. If you give them litter to walk in they will scratch the bedding and droppings together and the droppings will almost disappear. If you go to the back of Wes' where he keeps some chickens, you'll see how much "chicken" smell you can get with just dirt on the ground. I highly suggest some sort of bedding.

I haven't figured out what to do with the run though. I think i'll do straw. I wish i could do pine shavings but it will get to wet in the run. I wonder if I can do it during the summer...
Laura B.
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 78
I love straw. It is cheap and chickens love scratching through it. The last batch I got had a lot of chaff and oat heads in it, so the girls went nuts scratching for the oats. I just toss a couple of flakes into the run and let them distributed. If it gets compacted, I scatter scratch or meal worms around and they will have it fluffy and well turned by the next day. Plus, it is a lot of brown to offset the green going into the compost pile.

Regarding what chickens "need," some will argue that battery hens in factory farms have their needs met. I do not agree, and that is a huge part of why I got back into chickens. I want my chickens to live chickeny lives, not to be the cogs turning the wheels of an egg producing machine. Chickens love scratching, eating bugs, sunbathing and squabbling over who gets the best roosting place, and I love seeing them do just that and eating their eggs.

BTW, Roberta, Peewee's girls just started laying last week. I love those tiny pullet eggs! Our little girls are growing up!
Roberta K.
user 10948851
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 378
I love when they grow up. One of our game hens hatched two and luckily they are both girls. Takes the pain away of having 4/4 silkies and 14/15 frizzles turning out to be boys. Last of them announcing himself this morning. Your message helped ease the rooster pain.
A former member
Post #: 96
The one thing I don't recommend is alfafa hay - I used some earlier this winter instead of straw, and when it rained all the nice fluffy alfafa in the run compacted down into a hard gummy mess that they couldn't scratch through at all. The straw was much better, but the thing I've used in the run that they liked most of all was mulch from the LADWP free mulch giveaway :)
user 12397577
Monterey Park, CA
Post #: 21
thanks for all your replies. think i'll go w straw for their run; maybe leaves, hay, for nesting boxes. no medicated feed for me. like idea of feed, scratch and calcium plus human food now and again. they seem to like grains i cook for myself. also yogurt and buttermilk. of 3 i have , 2 laying eggs now.
A former member
Post #: 355
just got off the phone with someone at wes' in elmonte

he said they dont' need hay / straw. dirt is fine . ain't that something

also he says he sells stargrow medicine feel 1.50 a lb and that is all they need. don't need scrathc, calcuim, nada. feed sells there meets all their nutritional needs . ? ! ? !

very interesting compared to all discussions on this board , what do you all think ?

Personally it is not my cup of tea, but if you are going for the lowest cost regardless of animal welfare--think factory farming--then Wes's Pets & Feeds are right.
A former member
Post #: 365
Praxxus55712 on YouTube uses leaves shredded with a lawn mower, 8" deep.

Chillin with the Chickens '­

Pete K.
user 54883572
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 24

Personally it is not my cup of tea, but if you are going for the lowest cost regardless of animal welfare--think factory farming--then Wes's Pets & Feeds are right.

Really? 1.50 per lb? That price is laughable. The Modesto Milling organic layer mash is like 50 cents per lb. You can go a little cheaper if you buy the cheapest feed, but not as much as you'd think.

No matter what you do buying crap factory eggs at the store will be cheaper and easier than raising your own. But, cheaper and easier isn't always better.
A former member
Post #: 369
I was referring to the overall idea of no bedding and one-side-fits-all food. There may have been miscommunication between Nora and the store, just like there may be some here.

"stargrow medicine feel 1.50 a lb and that is all they need" = Start Grow scratch for the first few days, or up to two weeks of a chick's life, sold by the pound. Unless they are broilers they will eat very little of it. It is medicated to give them a better chance at survival.
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