Today's Quote

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cheap Bedding for the Critters

Ok, folks, you know I am cheap and always looking for ways in which to provide our own needs rather than purchase what I need from someone else. Well, I have in the past used wood shavings (gotten free for the hauling from a local carpenter) and straw purchased from a local farm. Well, our truck is broken down and so hauling the wood shavings is out since they have to be dumped into my truck from an overhead bin. If my station wagon had a sunroof, it is possible that I would attempt that but it is probably a good thing that it doesn't. I can't imagine what it would be like to drive home sitting in a huge pile of wood shavings. As to the straw, well I wanted something a little on the cheaper end and again don't really want to haul that much straw in my station wagon. So.....The chickens are bedded with a combination of pine straw and oak leaves. The seem very happy and I imagine by the end of winter I will have a nice compost from the combination to go in the garden, pasture or wherever I decide to use it. I through some grain out daily (not much as they still graze and get kitchen scraps)so that they will scratch around in their leaves. The goats now have winter bedding as well in the form guessed it pine straw and leaves. This will be tossed around in their one stall that they all sleep in and then changed once monthly where it will all go in the compost pile next to the barn. I add more leaves and straw after I toss it, so that older stuff is tossed to the bottom. This will give them some warmth during the winter and will speed the composting process although not on the same level as the chickens. The horses come in and out of the barns at will and so we don't really need bedding for them as they simply don't stay in the barn much. We do have some wheat straw on hand if the nights get so very cold that we must put them inside. However, even the old man of the herd doesn't like to be cooped up in the barn and hollers to be let out. So get out there and check out what you could possibly use to bed down your critters for the winter. It is easier than you think, just make sure that it isn't something that will make them sick if they eat it. Oak leaves and pine straw are perfectly safe in the even that my goats decide to taste some of it. I don't think I have to worry about the chickens, but that combination is not something I would use for the rabbits. So they simply get hay that was cut from my mother's pasture/yard this summer and we dried it, raked it and saved it. Hope this helps you keep your critters warm and toasty this winter.


Snowbound Farms said...

That's such a good idea. I would never have thought of leaves. Ever since I moved hear to Maine I've read so many interesting uses for leaves... mulch, weed control in the garden, now bedding. Figures that now I have a use for them besides paying the local landscaper to move them I live in an area mainly populated with evergreens and fur trees. Isn't that all ways the way.

Kat said...

Pine straw is also wonderful bedding, in fact I rake up the pine straw fright along with the leaves. The fir trees might not be so comfortable, a little prickly. I love finding ways to save money around here! God bless