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Do any of you have experience with using straw(or hay) as floor covering in the loft? If so, how often do you change it? Is there any thing you feel I should be aware of using it.

I've been scraping it twice daily for years and got the bright idea that perhaps straw would make a good floor cover in the colder months with less scraping daily. My loft is elevated off the ground. The floor is plywood. The roof is sound, no moisture gets in. I haven't had any problem with insects other than a couple of spiders in the summer and an outbreak of feather lice now and again. No rodents at all. I have 28 birds in an 8x16 x8 space.

Margaret

PS I went to the search, but didn't find anything about this material for the loft other than one reference to it's holding moisture..
 

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I would avoid straw. One of my pigeon books tells of how 24 out of 27pigeons died after a new bail of straw was opened in their loft, the straw proved to have a variety of fungal growths.

Even good straw can develop fungal growths once it is damp with droppings.

We have tried sawdust, which got too damp and finally setteld for wood chips, which we are comfortable with.

Cynthia
 

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I am using sand. Have read that straw harbors insects and fungus, and wood chips & sawdust have moisture retention issues as well as harmful dust.

While sand does have some dust, it does not retain moisture. I sift through it regularly with a colander to remove spilled seed and droppings. Never need to scrape the floor because the droppings sort of "clump" in the sand and I sift them out or sweep them away.
 

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Do any of you have experience with using straw(or hay) as floor covering in the loft? If so, how often do you change it? Is there any thing you feel I should be aware of using it.

I've been scraping it twice daily for years and got the bright idea that perhaps straw would make a good floor cover in the colder months with less scraping daily. My loft is elevated off the ground. The floor is plywood. The roof is sound, no moisture gets in. I haven't had any problem with insects other than a couple of spiders in the summer and an outbreak of feather lice now and again. No rodents at all. I have 28 birds in an 8x16 x8 space.

Margaret

PS I went to the search, but didn't find anything about this material for the loft other than one reference to it's holding moisture..
I don't use it because of some of the precieved problems stated here in other post, but there are a number of Champion pigeon racers in Europe that do use it. So if you do decide to use it, you will be in the company of some great pigeon guys who do. Maybe they know something I don't ?
 

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Your loft sounds just the size and population of mine...

I started using a pelleted shavings for the floor from the feed store. You spread it out a few inches thick then wet it down with a hose. The pellets expand and turn into a dustless sawdust. Then you rake it with a fine rake and the poop and feathers etc. get raked up weekly. No scraping. It has been a few months and so far so good.

The problem with straw is its size and lack of absorbtion. You can't pick through it. You'd have to replace the whole floor often and probably still scrape because poops would filter through to the floor. We've tried it for other animals and unless you are up to removing it wholesale fairly often,(which we do for the donkeys) I'd use something else in a loft.
 

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I've used straw before, it does need to be changed often, it doesn't look nice either and it makes you sneeze alot!.

I used to line nest boxes with newspaper and them put nesting material on top, it was so simple to clean, just pick it up and replace, no scraping involved, not too sure why I stopped that.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everyone for your input.
Well I bought a bale of the stuff and put it down to try. The birds love it. They have scratched around in it and hauled it to nests. A couple of hens look like the princess and the pea their nest bowls are so piled with straw. I didn't think of fungus, but can see why that could be. Well, the deed is done. The straw was totally dry, but could have fungus contamination. I can still use the stuff for mulch in the yard so am not out more than a couple of bucks. Guess I'll go back to scraping twice a day. :p It does make the loft warm and cozy at night though. And smells good.

Margaret
 

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Margaret, have you tried cedar shavings? It is similar to sawdust. Not recommended for indoor areas or animals, but works great out in an open area with plenty of ventilation. I have used it for years with no ill effects whatsoever. I do spread out the new bag in a plastic kiddie pool and let some of the dust get out before I spread it in the aviaries. It smells nice, looks nice, and keeps it warmer and dry, I've found. It is also quite clean and soft, no sharp pieces or bits of wood. I use the 12 cubic foot bags that are about six dollars a bag, and they cover both aviaries. I completely scrape and change all of it once a week, scraping surfaces usually daily. I do sometimes get a "slice" of straw and put in for them to use as nesting material, but have been using alfalfa instead as I heard the same about mold in the straw causing ill health for the pigeons. I hope this helps and you don't have to go back to scraping twice a day! :p
 

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Well, heck, I like hay, but I do remember those bio experiments where we would add drops of water to some hay and then in a few days get some interesting creatures from the "hay infusion" :rolleyes: ! Almost enough to make me believe in spontaneous generation LOL!

The ladies sound like they enjoy the hay so maybe you can keep some in there for nesting and snuggling purposes. :)
 

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Thanks everyone for your input.
Well I bought a bale of the stuff and put it down to try. The birds love it. They have scratched around in it and hauled it to nests. A couple of hens look like the princess and the pea their nest bowls are so piled with straw. I didn't think of fungus, but can see why that could be. Well, the deed is done. The straw was totally dry, but could have fungus contamination. I can still use the stuff for mulch in the yard so am not out more than a couple of bucks. Guess I'll go back to scraping twice a day. :p It does make the loft warm and cozy at night though. And smells good.

Margaret
I used straw (not hay) for two years while we were in MI. I never had a problem with it. I did change it out about once a week and every other day would spread a little more on top of what was down already. We of course had a MUCH smaller loft then (8X10) so it was easy to do. I couldn't use it in my loft now, not on the floor anyway. I've also used straw for nesting material and again, didn't have a problem. I now use pine needles though. I also have a wood frame with wire on top that is about 4 X 4, that I put down for my babies every year before they start using the perches and are still "cuddling" in the floor. I have covered that with straw and pine needles. Again, I change it at least once a week. I don't think that straw is that big of a problem unless you just throw it down and leave it for weeks on end.
PS: The reason I don't use Hay is because I bought some last year and the birds wouldn't build nests with it. They prefer longer things like straw OR long pine needles. They also won't use the short pine needles.:rolleyes:
 

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Okay might as well chip in, I am using straw on the floor, a thin layer. I'm careful to check the bale over when I buy it for signs of mildew. I store it indoors to keep it dry, and change it often. The birds love it for picking in, making nests, and it's warm, I think. I have been told it's not the best and there are risks, so I am open to trying other things. I use some aspen shavings in the nest boxes, this is like pine or cedar shavings without the oils which some say are risky. I have a friend who's kept racing birds all his life and always used cedar shavings with no ill effects. I also used the pelleted material mentioned here by Kippermom, and LOVED it. It was so easy to clean, and really made a nice floor covering. However, I knew the birds were picking in it and eating some, and that's the reason I switched to a thing layer of straw on the floor insted of the pelleted shavings, because I wasn't sure it was safe. It is made of pine. I guess we all have different experience, evident by this thread :)
 
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