Bedding options/free range

JoyV

Chirping
Aug 30, 2019
44
51
74
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I am new to raising chicks, currently we have 5 baby chicks. We are getting our outside coop area ready. The coop will be under a structure (see picture) should I do deep litter method in the coop, and outside of the coop (still under the structure) Or just inside the actual coop? Also.. I attached another picture of our backyard. I have 2 giant Eucalyptus trees which offers some protection, however other end of my yard is quite open. Would you suggest I get a netting of sorts? I am in Glendale, Arizona. I don’t see any hawks in my area, although I’m sure when we have chickens I will see them! We have tons of rabbits in our front year so I am thinking we won’t have too much of a hawk threat, I could however be wrong.

Any input on my set up would be helpful as this is all new to me!
Thank you!
 

cavemanrich

Addict
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Apr 6, 2014
17,618
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Melrose Park Illinois
You being in a dry climate, I don't think deep litter would work all that well. (meaning, will it decompose in a timely fashion) You can use pine shavings, or wood pellets as bedding. Not sure if pellets available in your area. Hay works as bedding, and chickens can snack on it as well. That is what I use as bedding. Alfalfa, or Timothy hay. I prefer it over straw, and not all that much more ca$h.
I would keep the outside area as it is.
May I suggest you ask some local peeps some of the DLM questions. They would give you great advice/opinions on that subject.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/arizona-chickens.31227/page-7060

WISHING YOU BEST,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and :welcome
 

JoyV

Chirping
Aug 30, 2019
44
51
74
Thank you! I will look into the pine shavings. They currently have the wood pellets in their brooder. One more question... I always have A TON of eucalyptus leaves. Would this be an option for me to use in their coop?
 

K0k0shka

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
Jul 24, 2019
3,204
8,359
467
Boston Area, MA
My Coop
My Coop
I don't think you can use the presence of rabbits as a good indicator for the presence of hawks. Rabbits know how to hide. We have hawks in our area and frequent attacks on chickens, but we also have a ton of rabbits destroying people's gardens... The hawk will go for whichever prey is easier to catch.
 

ValerieJ

Straw parade on snow day
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 24, 2016
10,552
63,391
1,287
Washington State
View attachment 1897593 View attachment 1897599 View attachment 1897600 I am new to raising chicks, currently we have 5 baby chicks. We are getting our outside coop area ready. The coop will be under a structure (see picture) should I do deep litter method in the coop, and outside of the coop (still under the structure) Or just inside the actual coop? Also.. I attached another picture of our backyard. I have 2 giant Eucalyptus trees which offers some protection, however other end of my yard is quite open. Would you suggest I get a netting of sorts? I am in Glendale, Arizona. I don’t see any hawks in my area, although I’m sure when we have chickens I will see them! We have tons of rabbits in our front year so I am thinking we won’t have too much of a hawk threat, I could however be wrong.

Any input on my set up would be helpful as this is all new to me!
Thank you!

You can probably look up what birds of prey live in your area through a North American Bird site or the Audubon Society. If you decide to put up a net, this is the best deal I have found for that.
  • 512VgsKk7YL.jpg

Available on Amazon for $37.99, covers 250 sq ft.

A quick search on Eucalyptus leaves says they are toxic if they are dried or treated, etc, but couldn't find anything about naturally falling leaves, so that might be an option worth a little research.

I wonder if sand would be a good option for you. It would make it easy to rake chicken droppings out of the chicken run. But, deep litter in the run is really the best option for me here in Washington. It rains here. A lot.

Welcome to BYC! Good luck with your new chickens!!!
 

Ghosty

Crowing
Jun 26, 2018
671
1,084
251
SW Missouri
You don't know if you can free range till you try. Give your chickens cover to hide from aerial predators. I free range 27 chickens every day from 8 am to dark. I have 6 game hens roosting in the trees. My yard is surrounded by woods on all sides, and my chickens have plenty of cover. I would use deep bedding in the coop, wood chips, or whatever floats your boat. I use Timothy grass in my nest boxes but it can stain when wet, and I will probably go back to straw. You could use litter in the little run, leaves, grass, wood chips. Give everything a try and see what works for you.
 
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