Advice needed on bedding for new coop and run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Kenniem37, May 26, 2019.

  1. Kenniem37

    Kenniem37 In the Brooder

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    Hello everyone! I have four 1 year old hens that we will be moving into a new coop/run set up soon. There is very little to no grass in the newer run and I need to know what I should use in the run bedding wise, and in the nesting boxes. I had previously used pine in the boxes and coop and nothing in the run but as I keep learning and researching I know there are better options out there. We live in Arizona but in a place that gets high temps, rain, and snow (sometimes in the same week ). Any advice is appreciated!!!
     
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  2. FeatherstoneFrm

    FeatherstoneFrm Songster

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    I'm in Georgia and found shavings to be a horrible mess in the run after rain. I would use leaves or straw, something that composts more easily in the run. Maybe in the coop and boxes as well. Easier to clean out and throw in the compost bin.
     
  3. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    :welcome :frow I don't use anything in my runs/pens. I use pine shavings in the coops that have floors. Some of my coops don't have floors.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    That is a nice set-up for only four hens, very nice. :thumbsup

    I'm not sure what you mean by better. To me if the coop/run do not stink, are low maintenance, and the run does not stay a muddy mess after a rain or snow, well how does it get better? A lot of that in the run depends on how well it drains. If it is sand it may drain away pretty fast. Or if the run is raised so water drains away from it instead of to it you are usually in good shape. If water stands in the run you will almost certainly have issues. Part of it, coop and run, is your cleanliness standards. Some people are willing to work hard chasing every bit of poop while others are more relaxed about that.

    In the coop the purpose of bedding is to act as a diaper. Bedding absorbs moisture and dries out the poop. Dry poop doesn't stink, wet poop will if it stays wet. Some people turn the inside of their coop into a compost pile, that's called the deep liter method. If it gets and stays wet it will stink, if it is too dry the microbes that turn it into compost cant live and reproduce, they need a little moisture. The amount of moisture needs to be low enough so that those microbes can breathe air. If it is too wet for the microbes to breathe air you get the wrong kind of microbes and they stink. My coop stays too dry for those microbes to live so for me it's just deep bedding, no composting action.

    Whether or not you have droppings boards makes a difference. Poop builds up under the roosts because they are not moving around at night. If you manage that poop the rest of it builds up slowly so you don't have to clean it out as often. Some people clean the bedding out on a weekly or monthly schedule. Some clean it out once or twice a year. I clean mine out once every three or four years, but I put the poop from the droppings boards in my compost pile regularly so it does not build up in the coop. There are so many different ways you can manage the poop.

    To me the run is different because rain and snow will blow in from the side. It's not a case of keeping it dry as letting it dry out after it gets wet. Good drainage really helps with that but if the weather sets in wet for a spell you can still have challenges. Deep litter works really well in the run for many people, for others not so much.

    To me a good bedding should be readily available and reasonable inexpensive. It should be easy to handle, whatever your handling methods and how often you handle it. Some of the standards are wood shavings, wood chips, hay, straw, sand, dirt, dried leaves, or dried or green grass clippings. We all have our favorites but the reality is that different people successfully use different things. What works great for some of us is a mess for others. We are all unique in many ways.

    My main suggestion is to try something and see how it goes. Be flexible. If you run into issues get back on here with what those issues are. It may not be your bedding, it may be a drainage problem.

    That is a nice coop and run for four hens. As long as the coop or run does not stay wet for long periods I don't think you will have many issues. To me that's a good reason to give them plenty of room instead of shoehorning as many as you can into a tiny space. It just makes life so much easier.
     
  5. Kenniem37

    Kenniem37 In the Brooder

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    We decided to give the girls a lot of room and I also wanted to be able to get in and clean it easier than our last set up which was an absolute hassle!! Last year we had a lot of odor issues because it was a smaller area and hard to clean. We threw some straw down and have decided to see how it goes. Our monsoon season comes in August so that will be the true test. What exactly are poop boards? I’ve read about them but honestly have never asked about it. I’m sure it’s exactly what the name says it is but is there a specific wood? Specific way to manage it?
     
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  6. Mo'sMenagerie

    Mo'sMenagerie Chirping

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    Construction sand (not play sand) all the way! It desiccates the poop, thus not allowing it to breed yucky microbes, AND it keeps the chicken's feet clean. It's easy to clean out with a kitty litter scooper too. I just took my coop and run to sand and am so happy with the result. You can read all about sand in the coop and run on the chicken chick's website, too. Just put "sand" in the search bar on the site. Really good information. Good luck! And nice coop!
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    One thing you should learn about chickens is that there is no one specific way to do anything. Certainly not poop boards. We do those so many different ways.

    All they are is a way to collect poop from the roosts. Some people build trays under the roosts and put some sort of bedding in them, wood shavings or sand are popular, even PDZ. They may use a cat litter scoop to scoop out the poops. Or they take them out to dump them or shovel them out. Some even have trays that can pull out through the wall, to me that's overkill but if you can't overdo something why bother?

    I built a permanent brooder under my roosts and use the plywood top to collect poop. I scrape it with a garden hoe with a broken handle (the broken handle shortens it so I don't break mu window) as needed. Depending on the number of chickens i have in here and how humid the weather is that may be once a week or once every six weeks. Some people do it daily.

    In the areas where the brooder doesn't reach I put bins from Walmart to catch the poop. That gives me something to scrape the poop into and just carry it out.

    Brooder Bins.JPG
     
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  8. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    I use wire under my roosts and have poop pits under the roosts that I rake out. It all goes into compost piles.
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  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    What kind of bedding you use may depend on how you manage the manure.

    -I use poop boards under roosts with thin(<1/2") layer of sand/PDZ mix, sifted daily(takes 5-10mins) into bucket going to friends compost.

    -Scrape big or wet poops off roost and ramps as needed.

    -Pine shavings on coop floor, add some occasionally, totally changed out once or twice a year, old shavings added to run.

    -Runs have semi-deep litter, never clean anything out, just add smaller dry materials on occasion, add larger wood chippings as needed.
    Aged ramial wood chippings are the best base material, IMO.

    -Nests are bedded with straw, add some occasionally, change out if needed(broken egg).

    There is no odor, unless a fresh cecal has been dropped and when I open the bucket to add more poop.

    That's how I keep it 'clean', have not found any reason to clean 'deeper' in 5 years.


    Here are my poop boards, thin layer of Sweet PDZ (zeolite) is sifted daily.
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. DWilkins

    DWilkins Songster

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    We are in the process of building a new larger Chicken coop and run. In the last one , I used sand in the run. They seemed to really like it as they could take their dust baths in it.When our local feed store carried it ( they no longer do) I used some type of a dried grass ( can't remember what it was called) They stopped carrying it I changed over to straw. They like that as well. The new coop will be larger and much warmer. Wondering if straw or wood chips would be better? Is this just a personal preference or do Silkies prefer one to the other? I usually clean the coop now once or twice a month with the straw, as it is a smaller area. For the nesting boxes would straw be better for the hens? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you!
     

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