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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone know if chopped up corn stalks make good bedding material? We use the deep bedding method and have been using pine shavings which are rather expensive and we would like to find an aternative to either replace or at least supplement the shavings.
 

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Plentiful;

I have given corn stalks some thought since they are plentiful. Due to the drought this year some of the fields near us were chopped into silage as feed for livestock. "Dry" the chopped stalks resemble a mulch.

I think as long as the stalks were kept dry they would be fine. We use straw which is easy come by so far this year. We purchased enough to last a couple of years. But, we have a place to store it inside. I think the stalks would have to be kept dry too.

We found a small electric powered Craftsman shredder/chipper at a garage sale and have been experimenting with it. We have been chopping up small sticks, cobs, and acorns. We use it also to chop and shred our prunings. Keeping things dry is the key I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. We do have a chipper and will chip any small sticks, but it wasn't going to be nearly enough for the whole winter.
 

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I have been getting chippings from a tree surgeon - I now have a floor that is about a foot deep in something that is warm, not mucky, will compost the poop for me. its great and it only cost me the delivery charge - he didnt charge for the chippings. maybe you could contact your local tree surgeon. I got enough to cover 9 sq metres at about 30cm deep. Took me two hours to move it, but it was only £10 GBP, lovely smell too, eucalyptus tree. the ducks are happy too, as they are digging nests in it. I put sawdust/shavings in their coops. If it gets dusty I spray a little water on it. They dont mind. Its easy to clean. The poop gets "wrapped" so its easier to deal with. The shavings compost down quickly. This is also free, from a local carpenter/joiner. Find one! Chickens cost enough without the added extras.
 

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Sand and mulch;

We used to have sand in our large barn stall. Mostly for the horse and or pony. Our hen house has concrete while the barn was dirt. I like the idea of sand but it's hard to get to the barn in bulk. Not as young as we used to be. We use straw right now. When we did have the horse or pony the chickens would keep the bedding stirred up and it was very easy to keep the stall clean. As the straw compresses in our hen house we can shove it out the back of the hen house with a large ice scraper. We have a clean out door in the back of the hen house along the bottom back wall. Then we can move it with a pitch fork.

There is a landscape recycling sight not too far from us. They take recyclable landscaping materials in various forms and grind it or chop into different grades. We use hardwood mulch around our trees for example. I may try some next spring for the hen house. They have very fine compost up to the more coarse mulch.

Another thing we are trying is acorns. We raked our acorns and stored them loosely in large galvanized water tanks. At first we just began to grind them up in a shredder out in the pasture. Our birds rushed over as soon as we shut the machine off and began to eat the nut from the acorns. They picked through the hulls and chopped sticks for the nut bits and cleaned the nut-meat up. I have since moved the grinding into the barn stall and let it fall into the bedding straw. The chickens now scratch through the grindings inside and the hulls and sticks add to the bedding. While this appears okay for the barn stall I would not do it the hen house.
We only grind a couple of shovels full of acorns at a time. Seems to act as a treat for the birds.
 
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