Bedding that drains well

JacksonPearce

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Aug 17, 2016
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I do the deep-litter method and in my covered areas, using pine shavings works like a charm. One of my runs, however, has a portion that is uncovered and in a semi-low area, and the pine shavings get saturated and gross very quickly-- then never truly dry out afterward.

I can do sand, but I'll still need something else overtop it for the deep litter. I've also heard people suggest leaves, but I wonder if those would be any better than pine shavings (any thoughts, here?).

I've also heard people suggest woodchips, but I'm unable to get those locally since I don't have a great way to transport them-- I need a solution that I can buy at Home Depot, Lowes, or a feed store. Any suggestions? I'm thinking I'll try cypress mulch, but I'd like to hear from someone who knows how it drains/dries.

Would love your thoughts!
 

azygous

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I'm afraid you won't be able to buy your way out of this dilemma. The only ways to avoid soggy and potentially hazardous bedding is to create drainage channels around your run to divert runoff and cover the run to protect from rain and/or snow.

Mold is a very dangerous issue for chickens. It requires only a little exposure to create a lot of health issues.
 

aart

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Pine shavings are not 'deep litter' no matter how 'deep' it is...
...and won't absorb much water.

No bedding is going to 'drain' well if the ground under it does not drain well.
If you have standing water, you need to try to get rid of that either thru drainage or adding soil to raise the level until it now longer holds water.
Good bedding can absorb more water, how soon that will dry out depends on many factors.

Good big thick pieces of not-dyed mulch may work well if that's all you have available.
 

JacksonPearce

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Aug 17, 2016
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Thanks! To clarify-- I don't have standing water or hugely soggy areas-- it just stays wetter than I'd like, and I feel like that's because pine shavings slick to one another and clump up.
 

aart

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Thanks! To clarify-- I don't have standing water or hugely soggy areas-- it just stays wetter than I'd like, and I feel like that's because pine shavings slick to one another and clump up.
That's why you need a mix of sizes and shapes of dry plant matter, some of them rather large(like wood chippings), as it allows air into the mix. Larger pieces of wood chippings will absorb more water. Pine shavings alone are very poor material for an outside run exposed rain/snow.
 

JacksonPearce

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Aug 17, 2016
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Great, thanks! I agree that pine shavings alone are a poor material for an outdoor run, which is why I'm changing things up. What would you recommend in addition to a sand base and large wood chippings?
 

aart

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Great, thanks! I agree that pine shavings alone are a poor material for an outdoor run, which is why I'm changing things up. What would you recommend in addition to a sand base and large wood chippings?
I do not recommend sand at all.
Smaller wood chips and twigs.
Maybe some dry leaves, some straw, both in smaller quantities.
That's all you really need to 'compost' the poops.
 

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