Is Cedar a Suitable Chicken Coop Building Material

There has been a lot of discussion lately about cedar and chickens. We have searched to find chicken and cedar studies by universities or other authorities but have been unable to find any. For years our literature has recommended not using cedar chips as bedding, as the volatiles given off from the cedar oil  can put your birds off feed and  may be toxic in a confined area.

We have found a document produced by the US Department of Agriculture that shows that cedar oil is toxic to insects but weathered cedar looses it oil and is no longer toxic to insects (see bottom of page 60). I cannot say for certain but I believe the same would be true for chickens.

We will be doing more research so watch our blog for an article on Chickens and Cedar. We want to do a complete and accurate article so it may take us a few weeks to get it posted.

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3 Responses to Is Cedar a Suitable Chicken Coop Building Material

  1. Ann says:

    I’ve also used cedar shaving mixed into the pine. Never been big on the deep pile method as to me it just smells plain bad. Adding a new bag of pine doesn’t cover up the smell. To me it just smells like pine and chicken poop. I would rather scrub out the coop and start over every few weeks to a month depending on the coop and amount of birds in it.

    My granfather used to put blocks of cedar and even cut down trees to use as perches. He said it kept the lice and mites off the hens. My parents used cedar blocks and moth balls to keep insects and mice away. I think if you have plenty of good ventilation it may be ok. But then the key to a good coop is good ventilation isn’t it. Will look forward to your findings.

  2. Cyndi McClain says:

    Before I saw postings pro/con on cedar I had mixed some cedar shavings in with the regular pine shavings in my chicken coop. No one seemed to have any ill effects but I am glad you are researching this further.

    • Paul says:

      we have used cedar shavings and pine shavings for laying boxes as well as scattered fairly thick on the floor for years and have never seen any signs that it affected the birds however, most cedar and pine shavings are mostly dry anyway. not much oil or sap left at all. It sure helps the coop smell better in those hot summer months and the hens love it. (not to mention its easy to scoop and keep clean!

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