Sunday, October 16, 2011

When in DROUGHT…

do without-
Hay. That is.
If you watch the evening news at all…then you know that here in Texas we’re seeing one of the worst droughts this state has seen in years…decades even, possibly a century. ????  Honestly, I’m not for sure how long. It really all depends on who listen to. 
Some say “Worst drought on record.”
Others say “worst drought in 44 years.”  Then some say, “worst drought in 50 years.
Well. I’m here to say it is the worst drought in MY lifetime. In all the years I’ve 'cared’ …it is the worst drought. Period.
I’ve seen cattle trailers hauling hay…all my life. But now, you hear people talking and they are hauling hay, great distances.  This hay didn’t come from another county.  NO.  All the hay we see going down the road here is from another state!  It’s costly;
and it’s scarce. So, what is one to do when you’ve newly acquired chickens and you want bedding for them?  Seriously, I wondered, “What is one to do?” I called around- nobody had any hay.
I bought pet bedding. {smile} Can you see my ‘light bulb moment’? 
Cedar chips. I thought it would be perfect.
chickens- ALL 012It turns out – not so great. 
After getting it home and getting it spread around the coop, so my chickens could have a place to be comfortable I decided to do my research.
Note to self:
  • First do research.
  • Second Shop! {wink}
After reading up…I’m understanding that the cedar can create an irritation for the chickens. They aren’t allergic to the cedar, however, the cedar can cause their air ways to become opened up and then make them susceptible to other germs and airborne irritants; then they could become ill.
I had to clean it all out and replace it with bedding hay.
Turns out when calling around asking for hay…you have to specify that you are looking for ‘bedding’ hayThey ‘Feed Store Guys’ aren’t mind readers!
Audrey  …chickens- ALL 006
Jayne…chickens- ALL 008
 chickens- ALL 002
  So now--- I have the place all filled and fluffed with ‘wheat straw’ and it looks pretty dern good!
I’ll take pictures of that later. I’ve got something else to show you.

Do you bed your chickens?  What do you use?  Can you use leaves?
please feel free to comment.  I'm really wanting to know these things. And I learn a great deal from you, my readers!

God bless you and Thanks for reading!
* linking here


Granny said...

I wonder if shredded paper would work for bedding? Straw is good but no doubt expensive in your area. You should only have to put it in the nest boxes shouldn't you?

This is a link to Homesteading Today poultry forum. You should be able to find out there what people use for bedding. I know there are a lot of people from Texas on that forum. You'll need to copy and past the link.

Kristina said...

We use straw. We buy it for $2.00/bale. We found a local farmer who sells to us. We buy organic hay to feed our goats. We also compost the straw and manure in a designated area by itself.

Patricia @ 9th and Denver said...

I was able to get 'wheat straw' ...I WISH $2. a was $6.00 here.
...they're trucking it in from out of state.
So with gas prices...of course it's more.


Terri @ Coulee Creek Florals said...

Pine shavings work great for chickens! Also, barley straw is good for bedding, especially pigs--it doesn't turn their skin yellow. But, it's itchy to we humans! But, pine shavings are the BEST! Sometimes you can get a better deal if you buy a pallet of bales of shavings--go in with some friends. It never hurts to ask.

Anonymous said...

Those 'ladies' sure do look happy and healthy!

I have had 3 chickens for a little over 4 years now (we live in town, and are only allowed 3) and I've used pine chips with no problems. I do the deep layered method and clean out their run twice yearly, and their coop as needed. In the fall, I collect all my yard leaves and use those as needed. I live in a place where we get really cold, so I put the leaves over the snow that accumulates. I put my kitchen compost scraps in their run also, they like it, then they tend to spread around the rest and I have nice compost twice a year!

I do dearly enjoy my chickens, and hope you enjoy yours!

Anonymous said...

I found out 6 years ago that straw is bad to. The strands are hollow and allow a safe harbor for mites. I haven't used straw for 5 years now and I haven't had another problems with mites. I think the birds are glad I changed back to hay too. I use leaves in the fall and sometimes cut grass from the yard.

Kristin_Texas said...

Ahh, they're so cute!

And I hear ya about this drought. Thank goodness, we FINALLY received rain twice recently. I'm sure we need a lot more, but it was heavenly while it lasted. The birds outside were singing so happily in the rain and flying around in it.

I love your blog title, by the way. Cute!


Intentional Living Homestead said...

I hardly ever watch the news...and living in Canada I don't watch our local news either. Maybe should be better informed:-)

So sorry you guys are having drought. I feel so bad for the farmers who are trying to make a living like everyone else and having to haul hay from so far away.

Thank you for the info on chicken bedding.


The Polka Dot Closet said...

How crazy, some parts of the country are to wet! I have no idea what to use for the chickens...Hum, maybe down comforters, see, I told you I had no idea! LOL


Lisa said...

Thanks for posting that about the pet bedding. Will keep that in mind when I get my chickens one day! So sorry about your drought. We had a very hot and dry summer too.


Boho Farm and Home said...

Congrats on your girls! I use pine shavings in my coop. They compost well too...

Unknown said...

I use sugarcane mulch - but I live in Australia so it works here. I've tried shredded paper but that seems to blow around the garden too much. Straw and hay is okay - but I find that it's bulky at times and hard to put into my small coop. Pine shavings is good but I don't have a good supplier of bulk shavings so it can be expensive. Sugarcane mulch works best for me. It's chopped up finer than straw but not as fine as shavings. Holds up well and has a nice earthy smell to it. We had drought a few years ago and it's only been last year that the drought broke. Hope that happens in your nick of the woods soon.

michelle said...

I can't believe what you guys have suffered through this summer, I really pray that it rains soon. You sound like me, I do then research. :) I am so impatient. :) Audrey and Jane look very happy.

Have a good week!

Heather said...

I'm so glad of all the pine shavings comments! We have a lot of access to pine in Maine :-) Not that I have chickens yet...but this will definitely be stored in my "for future reference" folder :-)

Mary Jane said...

We live about 40 or so miles from you in Navarro County. (I know Lezlee at Prior very well.) We have used pine shavings for many years for our chickens, and it has never, ever been a problem. We spread DE on the floor to keep fire ants out, then put a bag or two of pine shavings over it. The chickens keep it turned, and it composts nicely to put on the garden or into the compost pile. We use cut,dry grass in the nests.

Patricia @ 9th and Denver said...

Just to clarify?

You all mean 'pine shavings' not pine needles...right? And where would you get these if you don't have a tree shredder?
** Mary Jane... thanks for the DE comment regarding fire ants. I was having a problem with ants in the coop and in the garden. Just this morning I was wondering what I could do for it. Your timing is great!

Dry grass sounds easy enough too. Thanks all!

The Boston Lady said...

The girls look really happy and I must say I've never bedded a chicken in my life! Ann

Anonymous said...

I awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award....come check it out at Mel's Designs from the Cabin.

Love seeing your new chickens!

Mary Jane said...

The pine shavings are available in a big compressed bag/cube at the feed store. They are fairly inexpensive and when the bag is opened, it fluffs up a lot. It is not pine needles. The DE is also available at the feed store, and you can get a 50 lb. bag that will last for a long, long time. It is ineffective when it gets wet, but as soon as it dries back out, it works again. It is good to feed animals, since it kills internal parasites. We know a big sheep, cow, and goat farmer who feeds DE mixed with the feed he gives his animals, and he never has to worm them. I use it under the dog food pans and inside the garbage can where I store their food, plus I mix some into their food. No more ants! They are free of ticks and fleas, as well. I was fighting fleas outside for a while, but I sprinkled DE heavily in the hole where the dogs lie, and it ended the problem. It is safe and natural, the prehistoric skeletons of ancient sea creatures, dug out of the ground in the western states. Just try not to inhale it, because it is as fine as talcum powder. It will dry out your skin, so wear gloves or wash immediately. I hope this helps.

Janet said...

We use rice hulls that we get free for the taking. We also use them for our turkeys and cows. It keeps the floor where I milk very clean and smelling nice. Then we compost it along with all the animals manure. Do they grow rice in Texas? It does take a lot of water. Your girls do look very healthy! Praying your drought ends soon.