I have been using pine chips to DL since day one and have noticed that the bedding stayed dried evenly with daily turning. When I cleaned out the coop at the 3 month mark and put the shavings on the compost pile I noticed that they were as dry as a bone. Late summer rolled around and I switched to brome hay as bedding as I have a 6 foot bale. Even with good ventilation (including two entrances for the birds that are open every day giving the coop cross ventilation) I'm noticing that the hay is not drying. The top layer of hay has areas that when I push my hand in, are very damp while deep in the bedding, the thin layer of chips that I kept in the coop are dry.
I'm worried that with winter coming on I'm going to be fighting frost bite if the brome doesn't dry properly. Should I switch back to pine for the chicken's or am I doing something wrong here? I turn the bedding daily and urge the hens to scratch around by sprinkling a little corn in the grass but nothing seems to help. I was thinking maybe I just need to keep a thin layer of chips down under the brome hay but once winter sets in I'm really worried about frost bite. I've been scraping out the soiled brome every couple of days and sprinkling it around the run. I rake the run out about every 30 days and pile it on the compost pile where I have noticed it composting.
Any ideas anybody?