Oregon - Page 940
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I also have a gal friend out in the applegate area who uses straw, and has lots of problems with mold and respiratory issues with her birds. Most straw still has enough carbohydrates left in it to draw buggies and molds and even with other feed available, the chickens will eat some of it. I love the wood chips and have never had these issues, even when its wet! I like the pine shavings in the nest boxes for the double-duty of warmth, cleanness and parasite control. I get the power line trimmers to dump a huge load of fresh chips every summer when they come up my road to prune the trees. Free!
Finally got some girls (not the ones I wanted but they were my runners up, a Blue Andalusian, a Silver Laced Wyandotte, a Dominique and a Speckled Sussex) and while weeding and fixing up the run this week, I was doing research on run flooring. Some say sand, some say straw and then others say to just let them run on the grass. I wanted to reach out and see what some others in the area use for your run floors and why?
If you could let me know what you use, why you use it and how it's worked so far I'd appreciate it! I want my girls to be happy, healthy and hopefully, mud free!
Sorry for the quality...I have a red heat lamp and took the picture with my phone.
I use wood chips and fir nuggets. Sometimes you can get the wood chips for free, but I get mine at the same place I get the fir nuggets. It is not expensive. The base of the run is river silt and has good drainage. The wood material eventually starts to break down, but has lasted a very long time (almost a year now.) In the beginning we added more as it worked into the soil. Now it is all a really nice mix of material that drains, but is not hard on their feet. It is easy to take care of. I do regular clean-up with a poo scoop and occasionally rake in diatomaceous earth and zeolite. Helps to sweeten things up. The coop has a porch and overhang where I have two dust bath areas which is a mix of the run material, DE, wood ash and whatever pine shavings they kick in from the coop. In another few months I might think about shoveling the top layer out for garden mulch, but it is so nice right now I'm not in a hurry. I use pine shavings in the coop with a dusting of DE and add zeolite on occasion. I keep the bedding pretty deep, but scoop out poop almost daily and turn things over with the help of the girls. Everything stays nice and dry and I haven't had any problems with bugs or pests. It helps A LOT to have a poop board or trays under the roosts. That has cut cleaning time way down and is just all around easier. I find it has reduced how often I need to completely replace the pine shavings.
Good luck with whatever you decide to use!
Please let me know what you end up using. I live in the Eugene area also, and my chicken run is currently a work in progress, so would be curious to know what you end up using :)
GypsyHen and WyandotteIndeed,
I have thought about replacing our straw with wood chips (I'm concerned about them eating the straw, also I think the wood chips would last longer before they needed to be replaced), but was unsure about how it would work with their feet (I had someone tell me they thought bark mulch could be rough, and wood chips would be rougher, I thought). Given that you have use wood chips succesfully in the past, I am curious if you have any tips on setting that up. My parents don't want our chickens our of their run, so that would be on the wood chips most of the time.
Also, if I do stay with the straw, how often should that be replaced to keep it healthy (prevent mold and bacterial growth, etc)?
We blocked of the side of the house for their run. It's not covered; They do have a leanto, a tarp, and under the coop to go to for shelter. That being said, I think we may have to cover it before the next rainy season. They're surviving this one pretty well, but I think a covered run would be a better for them.
Here is a picture from when we first put straw down.
Here is an old picture from before we added straw.