Preparing applewood sticks

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B&E Chins

Active member
Mar 25, 2023
Victoria BC Canada
Hello:) I just received a large bag of applewood sticks freshly pruned from a pesticide-free tree. The lady gave me all the newer growth, most of it has flower buds popping up. After reading a handful of different blog posts, I just have a question. One person says do not use fresh branches that have any green in them, especially with buds. A different blog said you should use only the fresh ones and that the buds could be saved for later drying as a snack for the chins. But most blogs don't mention anything about the life stage of the branches.

This is the blog that is for the fresher branches:

https://letslovechinchillas.weebly....our wood for 30,burn yourself with the steam!
And the video against the fresh wood was YouTube blogger The Chinchilla Notebook.

Any advice?

Did the chinchilla notebook person say why new growth is not good? The only reason I could see to saying no to new growth is it's going to have the highest sugar content, so may need to boil it a couple times. Some people thing the boiling part is just to get rid of germs and bacteria, but it also helps remove a good amount of the sugar especially in fruit wood, as well as removes some of the tannin in the wood (which is what causes the water to become yellowish). Tannin is bitter but also it binds with nutrients in the body so not a good thing to be eating. Green new growth wood is also going to have a higher moisture content as well, so you will likely need to bake it longer to make sure it's fully dried all the way through, so for example instead of just 30 minutes for twigs it might take a couple hours.

Since apple buds and blooms are safe for chins to eat I would just remove them and dry them for treats later.
Thanks so much Amethyst! I'll rewatch the YouTube vide again and see what she says about it.
Yes, I noticed her mentioning that too (I watched her all the time when I tarted out) but yeah, I always use green branches/new growth. It seems like anything besides that has lichen growing on it. I would boil and bake them a lot longer though for sure.
Last year I made a good batch of sticks with twigs collected in early November, before the dreaded lichens and mosses settled on them. The advantage of that is that after boiling one can let them dry for a while in a vase next to a radiator, before starting the more serious drying in the oven. For the sake of efficiency I did the latter in stages e.g. after 20 min turned the oven off, letting the residual heat do some of the work and repeated the operation until the twigs snapped. I am now making a batch with new growth and since I still have one radiator on, albeit at a lower temp, I am following the same drying method.
I have an apple tree in my yard. i clean the leaves and trim the sticks into 4-6 inch lengths then I use a natural scrub and scrub the twigs in a pot of water in my sink then i use fresh water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes then drain and bring to a boil again with fresh water. Then drain and place in a dehydrator over night. Make sure they are completely dry because they will mold if they are not. and do not store in a sealed container, leave open.