Choosing the right bedding for your chicken can be a confusing and difficult decision with many options available. There are many options that you can consider. One of the best choices that you can make for the bedding of your chicken is hemp. Why choose hemp bedding for chickens?
Chicken bedding is one of the most important things that any chicken keeper must consider when starting poultry keeping. Appropriate bedding for your chicken will eventually make your chicken keeping a success. Read on to learn more.
What is Hemp
Hemp is a versatile plant that has been in use since ancient times for various reasons such as comfortable bedding for pets, making textiles, ropes, and insulation purposes. It is a Cannabis plant and is one of the fastest-growing plants. Hemp is an insect repellant plant that will not need the use of insecticides when being planted.
The natural features of the plant make it one of the best choices and most appropriate bedding for chickens. It is safer for your birds since it can be grown without insect repellants or even synthetic fertilizers.
Hemp is specifically the hurd of cannabis plants or their stalks. When being crafted to make animal bedding, the stalk will be mulched to create a texture resembling straw. It will have significant absorbent properties and feel remarkably soft after it has been processed.
Benefits of Using Hemp as a Chicken Bedding
Hemp is one of the cost-effective materials that you can use as bedding in a coop if you are a chicken keeper. If you are keeping chickens, it is also one of those easiest materials that you can hand. It also has several other benefits.
It is a Good Natural Absorbent
One of the most important things to consider when choosing a bedding for your chickens is the absorbency of the material. Hemp is a perfect choice for chicken bedding because it has strong absorbent properties and will not require a filler when using it. Absorbent materials are suitable for the comfort of your birds as well as the cleanliness of their enclosure.
If you are using hemp, you will find out that it will be easier to clean your coop as the material will mostly absorb both moisture and waste. It is twice as absorbent when compared to standard wood shavings, which is a popular option used by most chicken keepers.
Since hemp is a natural absorbent, it will ensure that you take less time to clean your coop and that your chickens will have a warm and dry environment.
Pests can be one of the biggest problems in a coop, especially when you are not carrying out the regular maintenance. Some of the common chicken pests include mites and lice. If they are not controlled, they can reduce the productivity of your chickens and even eventually cause death
The natural absorbent properties of hemp can help in reducing the number of times that you will have to turn the bedding material of your chickens. Hemp is also known for being pest-repellant, and you will not have to include additional treatments for it to be effective. This is an essential benefit if you are one of the chicken owners who prefer a holistic living environment.
If you are using hemp, you will not have to worry about using various chemical treatments in order to keep the coop free from pests and other insects. Besides, there will be no need of looking for bedding materials that have been treated with repellants. The natural composition of hemp is mainly famous for preventing mites.
You can include natural pesticides if you feel like your coop needs extra help to control pests. Some of the most affordable and effective options that you can use to ward off pests include apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, and eucalyptus.
Hemp Bedding Reduces Respiratory Issues
When looking for bedding materials, it is very important to go for the material that will keep your chickens safe. Chickens are susceptible to airborne particles that can lead to various respiratory issues. Hemp is one of the top naturally produced animal bedding that you can find on the market.
Some beddings, such as recycled paper bedding, have phenols that can be very toxic. Besides, the acids that come from the wood shavings can eventually lead to the respiratory illness of your chickens. If you settle on hemp as the bedding material, you will have avoided the need for the toxic materials that can impact the health of your birds.
With hemp bedding, you will be assured of a dust-free coop for your chickens. Dust is a leading cause of respiratory illnesses in birds. It also offers a thriving ground for mites.
The respiratory system of a chicken is normally delicate, and you will have to find a balance between their health, comfort, and whatever works for you. A perfect solution for this will be using hemp bedding.
Hemp is more Sustainable
One of your primary responsibilities as a chicken keeper is to ensure that you are maintaining a sustainable farm. Hemp bedding is mostly grown in organic environments and will not rely on various pesticides and chemicals to grow. Adding it to your chicken enclosures will be a good choice for the environment.
The material will compost more quickly as compared to other bedding materials once you have cleaned your coop. Hemp is, therefore, a better alternative to synthetic beddings. It also composts faster as compared to wood shaving, thus making it so easy to give back to the environment.
As a chicken keeper, managing a flock of chickens can sometimes be a time-consuming project. It can also be an expensive project that may need a lot of money to maintain your coop and take care of the chickens.
Therefore, it is important to find cost-effective materials that will make you save more money that could have been used in the maintenance of your structures.
Hemp usually grows well independently and does not require many interventions. You can therefore expect less overhead cost during manufacturing. The straightforward process of harvesting hemp makes its cost significantly less as compared to other bedding options.
Since it does not require various chemicals and pesticides, it will help you to lessen the cost. Generally, hemp bedding is a more budget-friendly option as compared to other bedding options such as wood shavings.
Challenges When Using Hemp
Most chicken keepers agree that hemp is one of the best options that you can consider when it comes to choosing bedding materials for chickens. However, there can be challenges that may come with its usage. Currently, there is one main challenge that can be an issue for you to consider if you are using hemp in your coop.
Hemp Harbors Bacteria
Hemp bedding is well-known because of its good absorbency. Despite this being essential for making it easier to clean your coop, it can also mean that bacteria can thrive. When cleaned regularly, hemp has anti-microbial properties.
Because of the convenience of hemp bedding, many chicken keepers may take more time between cleanings in their coops. If you wait for more before cleaning, bacteria will find a conducive environment to thrive in the warmth that hemp offers.
It is, therefore, necessary to ensure that your coop is clean all the time by sticking to a regular cleaning schedule.
Alternative to Hemp Bedding
Although hemp bedding has several benefits, there are other alternatives that you can also use when choosing bedding materials.
Sand is one of the most popular chicken bedding options because it helps in maintaining low levels of insects. It is also quite absorbent, thus making it easier for chicken keepers to manage their coops. Medium sand is highly recommended instead of play sand.
Play sand can be dangerous to birds as it can cause cancer. Medium sand, on the other hand, is a chicken-friendly option that will maintain low pathogen levels.
Why Cedar shavings are a popular alternative to hemp. The only problem with it is that its extractives are known to be toxic. However, chicken keepers opt to use it because of its absorbency and lightweight texture. It is also a good insulator, especially during the cold seasons. With cedar shavings, your chickens will stay warm most of the time.
According to many chicken keepers, chopped straw is a mid-tier choice when it comes to chicken bedding. It is a perfect option if you want a material that has good absorption properties. Chopped straw is also easy to use and will produce little to no dust.
However, chopped straw has a few disadvantages. It does not release water well and may stay wet until when it is replaced with new and clean chopped straw.
Hemp is one of the best materials that you can use as bedding for your chickens. The material is an excellent absorbent. It will ensure that your chickens stay healthy most of the time and, as a result, improve their productivity.