As you may know from my earlier postings, my Dad and I are working to get our run flooring right. We originally had bark mulch. At my prompting (I was concerned after being told that mulch can be hard on their feet), my Dad replaced half of our run with pine chips. I decided that I don't care for them that well (hard to maintain, and I'm afraid that they might be even harder on the chickens feet than bark mulch would have been?). I'm considering changing to pine shavings, but am unsure. I am concerned that we need to settle on something soon, as we are running out of time before our rainy season begins in earnest.
For those who of you that have used pine shavings, I would love to hear about your experience (especially if you had a bad one - I want to make sure that I aware of all of the issues).
I would also like to hear about the maintenance involved in making this option work (is it enough to put fresh material on top of the old, or do you need to rake the old stuff out? Does it need to be changed out after a rain to prevent mold? Can pine chips be used as an undercoat, or is there something else that might work better? My mom was thinking that maybe we should just put shavings over the chips).
Also, I had a question about pine chips. I read a posting from someone that said they had to remove the chips as they were causing their chickens to develop feet infections. Besides bumblefoot, can these chips cause other types of infections (fungal, if they get moldy?). If so, is putting fresh material down (deep litter?) periodically enough to prevent this?