Bedding for coup and run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Thenry, Nov 8, 2016.

  1. Thenry

    Thenry Hatching

    Oct 24, 2016
    Good Morning! We are new to raising chickens. We have 1 rooster and 3 hens. They have an indoor coup with 8 nesting boxes as well as another area they all tend to group together to sleep in. They also have a fenced in run that is connected to their coup. My question is we have used straw (hay) inside their coup. When they poop, which is quite a bit in there it is very hard to clean it out. I am using a childs sized rake to try to scoop it up. There outside run is just dirt. I will use a garden rake to clean this area out. Does anyone have any suggestions of what to use to make this chore a little easier. Their coup is a shed so I am not able to move it. Thanks!

  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Personally i use 6" or so of dry grass clippings and leaves. I simply rake the bedding over every day. I only change the bedding either when it begins to smell (not happened so far) or after every 6 months. I add clippings to the bedding every now and again. You can search for "deep litter" in the search box to see other alternatives.
  3. Howard E

    Howard E Songster

    Feb 18, 2016
    Can you provide a picture of the coop? And approximately where you are located?

    As described, I'd l suggest leaving the hay where it is and covering it with several inches of coarse pine shavings, leaves, pine needles or all of the above. It will all get mixed together.

    Put hay like what you have in the run. Start with about 6 inches or so and plan on adding to it now and then.

    Litter works more or less like a baby's diaper, serving the same purpose. The deeper it is the less often you have to change it or even work it.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    Do a forum search for poop board. Basically, a slanted board you set up under the roost. A lot of the poop happens when they sleep, so that's a heavily soiled area. If you can set up a board there, it's easy enough to scrape it off every day or so, to keep things cleaner.

    I'd also research deep litter or deep bedding. Lots of us go that route, it's lower maintenance and doesn't require daily cleaning. Does depend on the size of the coop, though.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop

  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    3 hens and 8 nesting boxes? It would be interesting to see photos of your set-up and know dimensions of the coop and run. It sounds like you inherited something and that it is plenty big which is great. Modifying your profile to show your general area so we better understand climate can help too. It might help a little with the responses. Welcome to the forum, by the way. :frow

    Some people try to keep the coop and/or run pristine, cleaning daily. A lot of us don’t. We find it’s just not necessary. As long as the poop is dry it won’t hurt anything. Wet poop on the other hand will stink to high heaven and can lead to disease. The moisture can come from outside, from a leaking waterer, or if the poop builds up thick it won’t dry out. The poop will come from your chickens, but if your facilities are of any size with only four chickens that poop will be spread out enough during the day it shouldn’t be a problem. But they also poop a lot at night and they are not moving around, so it can build up. That’s where droppings boards and raking can come in handy, if it’s thick enough to be a problem.

    You’ll find that we use all kinds of things for bedding: straw, hay, wood shavings, wood chips, sand, or bare dirt. In the right circumstances any of them can work. I use wood shavings in the coop and bare dirt in the run. In my climate and the way I manage them, this works for me. There is no one way that is right for everyone where every other way is wrong. It’s what works for us with our unique set-up, flock, and management techniques.

    If the coop or run is stinking with a strong ammonia smell, yes you need to do something. But if all you get is an earthy smell the chickens’ health is not compromised and you really don’t have to work hard to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2016
  7. Finnie

    Finnie Crowing

    Oct 27, 2014
  8. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Songster

    Jul 16, 2007
    Long Island NY
    I use dried/dead leaves in my coop. It works great. I also use a poop board underneath their roosting area which really helps with the mess. They will poop all night long while roosting so that will be the most heavily soiled area.

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