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knittingmama

Is play bark really that bad??

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I am tearing my hair out trying to source hardwood wood chip locally for our chicken run. We have a small space, only 1.5m x 5m, for them to hang out in, and everything I've read says that 'bark is bad, wood chip is good'. To start out with I had them on bare earth with some random bark mixture on top, just what I had already, but have found that a.) it's very muddy and b.) everyone on the internet says not to use bark. So I've finally moved them, am putting down some heavy duty weed barrier and some chicken wire, with the aim of putting a thick layer of woodchip on the top. (As per this website's suggestion for mudproofing: http://www.newlandgrange.com/CHICKEN-RUN-MUD-MANAGEMENT(1720020).htm

 

So the problem comes when I try to get wood chip. I have found suppliers online but they want like £40 for delivery (plus it costs £10 a bag and I need 7 - 8 bags), or they only deliver a massive amount which I won't be able to move from my drive. And of course there's the issue of not being home when they deliver. Normally I have stuff delivered to work for this reason. Not sure if using wood chip from the tree surgeon is a good idea, either, because of the mixture of materials.

 

So I'm back to wondering if I ought to just use play bark because I can get it easily (locally) and in smaller amounts.

 

Sorry for the long post, just completely frustrated with trying to settle my ladies. Need to move them back to their permanent home soon as they've already dug holes in the lawn after only 2 days! :wall:

 

Thanks very much

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I started out with play bark. It got very smelly very quickly. Also when you have to dig it out its a pain. Any tree surgeons near you? Might be worth giving them a call :)

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Try an Equine supplier. I use horse bedding for the runs as I too struggle to get domestic sized portions of wood chip.

 

Usually sold in manageable bales, I change about every 3 months on the outdoor and indoor runs with a good raking of Nettex Ground Sanitiser every now and again.

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Our chickens are on play bark and they absolutely love it. We also love it as it stays clean for long periods and is so easy to clean out. If there are any reasons its a bad idea then ive not come across any so far.

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in my enclosure I use Auboise raked over and mixed with wood chips, I found a farm shop that sells the chips for 3.00 a large bag, that stops it flying away but helps with the moisture control too

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I use Aubois and the girls are in a WIR with a coregated plastic roof .It does not blow away and it is really good at soaking up every thing .

I rake it over with a kiddies rake every so often and sprinkle stalosan over and rake in ..I have tried all sorts and it is the best for me . I also bring wood chippings back from our allotment that a tree surgeon dumps there .That works well and smells good .

The now have the added bonus of dry autumn leaves .Dump a load of them in there and they love it and it all rots down in the end

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I have had the same problem trying to find some suitable wood chips. Delivery costs are understandably very high, and local tree surgeons will only deliver amounts that I could sink my whole garden in. It would be composting away by the time I used the second half of it.

 

Mine have aubiose in the roofed run on slabs, but that won't work at all well if uncovered or on wet / muddy ground. It would be a stinky mess in no time. For my outside run, I have to admit that I use various frowned upon versions of bark chips / softwood chips from B&Q. They had used it for years before I first heard mention of it being a problem. If I could find harwood wood chips I would prefer to use those instead though.

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I liked softwood chips but I put a cover over my cube run to keep it fairly dry, it lasted months :D

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Woodchips from the tree surgeon are fine :D I've used them for years with no trouble.

 

I don't know about play bark, but I've bought bark from the garden centre before. All the bags were mouldy when I opened them! :shock: Suffice to say they went back and I've never gone near bark again.

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Thanks for all the replies.

 

After posting here and venting to friends on Facebook, I've come up with a couple of options... The local tree surgeon offered to 'dump a load of chip' on my drive for £35; I found another company who will deliver a builders bag of softwood chip for £30; and I found an Easibed stockist only 10 minutes from my house who sells a bale for £7. Think I'm going to try the Easibed first as it seems the most simple solution- prepacked bedding that I don't have to wheel through my house one wheelbarrow-full at a time!

 

Going to go over and start a new thread about Easibed now... Ooh how I love this forum. :dance:

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Aubiose / Hemcore soaks up water nicely but where bark chippings get muddly/slimy when soaked, horse bedding starts to ferment with prolonged rain (and it pongs when it does...)

 

That said, my little bantam, Houdini was suffering from breathing issues a year ago - we took her to the vet and it turned out not to be an infection but spores. The spores seemed to come from the bark chippings (as they always do with bark chippings bought from a certain well-known DIY store who keep their chippings out in the rain).

 

I switched to horse bedding and the result was pretty much instant.

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I have used Newland Poultry's mud management method and it's been amazing! I did it in two smaller runs before getting the WIR and also did the same in the WIR as it was too good not to put down when everything was built. I also used the method on a previous free range area to stop the girls getting too muddy and it makes cleaning the woodchip much easier with powders as it doesn't become muddy and is simple to hose down every so often.

 

My girls don't mind it at all and I was worried about the turf protector hurting their feet/nails when they dig but this doesn't happen (or hasn't for me in several months!) So, I highly recommend it! :dance:

 

There may be a small hole here and there in the fabric sheeting after a while, so a small amount of mud may come through, but compared to how it could previously get for me I don't complain at all :D

 

Good luck with everything coming together!

 

x

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