Bedding additives?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by yay-for-chickens!, Apr 5, 2009.

  1. yay-for-chickens!

    yay-for-chickens! Out Of The Brooder

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    Is there anything I should be adding to bedding to lower the risk of mites, bugs ect...? I use pine shavings and change it out once a week but is there something I should or could add to lengthen the life of the bedding? And or improve their health, they have a 60 sq ft run but not much dry dirt. so i'm also worried about them dust bathing in the shavings as I see them do it already...
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    If you don't use 'em already, the biggest help I know of for extending the life of your bedding is droppings boards under the roost [​IMG] -- cleaned every morning into a bucket (takes 10 seconds, 'snowplow' style) that removes about half the daily poo output from the coop right then and there.

    [​IMG]

    Some people feel that putting some modest amount of food-grade Diatomaceous Earth in the bedding discourages mites and lice. I just put it in the nestboxes and under the bedding in cracks and crevices, personally, and am not sure how preventive it really is when used in that fashion but as you can see I do it anyway so I guess I feel like it *may* help. (I am sold on it as a treatment for actual infestations).

    Have fun, good luck,

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2009
  3. yay-for-chickens!

    yay-for-chickens! Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the advice dude,

    The I'll try to make dropping boards soon but my hens are still young and sort of like to nest in the bedding now and then during the day and at night usually roost but sometimes nest in the bedding....Can you get the food grade DE at a feed store?
     
  4. DonnaBelle

    DonnaBelle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am using something called "PDZ" from the feed store. It is a granular sweetener for horse stalls. I read about it here on this site, several folks swore by it. It does seem to keep the smell down and the bedding fresh. I am using the deep litter method. I bought several big bags of pine shavings at a local feed store and have about 4-6 inches of litter on the floor of the hen house. I rake it every few days, and use the PDZ.

    Just look up PDZ and/or deep litter method on this website. Lots of info on litter.

    DonnaBelle
     
  5. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    My Coop
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2009
  6. lavandula girl

    lavandula girl Chillin' With My Peeps

    I second the DE reply, for sure. Make sure you get the food grade kind. That just means it's super fine. There is a pool grade DE, but it's coarser. The boards are a great idea as well. Nothing better than being able to remove the poop easily! Once a month while I'm cleaning my boards, I dust them with the DE as well. That way, any teeny parasites are also done away with.
     
  7. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    If you don't have much dry dirt for the chickens to dust bathe in, I would work on making them a covered dust bath. They'll really appreciate it and it's good for them.

    During dry weather, our chickens have various dust baths they can use. We get a lot of rain here and during those times, they enjoy having a dust bath under cover that they can still use.
     
  8. yay-for-chickens!

    yay-for-chickens! Out Of The Brooder

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    Yeah I'm headin to the feed store to pick up some DE after work, and I was gunna work on making a covered dust bath as spring time out here in Oregon is hit and miss for dry dirt weather....Should i just poor in and mix up some dirt and DE for a dust bath? I think i've seen bags of dust bath stuff at the feed store but i'd rather just mix up some stuff rather than buy if i can....

    Thanks for all the help guys!
     
  9. lavandula girl

    lavandula girl Chillin' With My Peeps

    I just sprinkle the top of their fave dust bathing areas with the DE - they do the mixing for me. [​IMG] Also, do you by any chance have a wood stove? Wood ash is also good to mix in with your dust baths. One of the most successful poultry guys I know always provides his wood stove ash for his birds. He is a purely organic farmer, and has some of the healthiest birds I have ever seen in my life. He does warn, though, that he doesn't burn anything but wood in the wood stove. No duraflame logs or anything like that. Also, never use your BBQ ash... different stuff.
     
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    yay-for-chickens! :

    Thanks for the advice dude

    FWIW, just for the record I am actually a dude-ette, so to speak [​IMG]

    The I'll try to make dropping boards soon but my hens are still young and sort of like to nest in the bedding now and then during the day and at night usually roost but sometimes nest in the bedding....Can you get the food grade DE at a feed store?

    Sometimes you can; but not all carry it or will order it for you. Insist on food grade, it is safer for the lungs, btw.

    Sweet PDZ and other stall powders can help with odors but I have never heard any reason to believe they do much of anything to discourage mites/lice, if that matters to you. I wouldn't use them preemptively, just if you have an intractible odor problem (which can often be solved in other more fundamental ways)

    It might be worth starting training the stragglers to sleep on the roost, btw; just pick them up at dusk and put them up there. In a few days or a week they will get the idea and go up there themselves [​IMG]

    Have fun,

    Pat​
     

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