Best litter and cleaning method for newbie

PNWhens

Chirping
Sep 17, 2019
24
79
69
Whidbey Island, Washington
I have a small coop with 4 gals, 5-6 weeks old. I have been using straw, but would like to know other preferred bedding for best health, maintenance, and odor. I haven't completely replaced the coop with new straw yet but have added some new layers every other day. I read on some threads that some people only clean their coops 1-3 times a year! Is that due to bigger coops or good bedding? I do not have a compost, and will probably through the waste bedding into the garbage.

Side question: Should I allow my pullets to lay/sleep in the nest boxes? They have a habit of only sleeping in the corner of one of the nest boxes.
 

SueT

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Premium Feather Member
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May 27, 2015
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How lucky you are to live on Whidbey Island! What are the dimensions of your coop? Do they have roost bars?
A lot of people, myself included, prefer shavings. In a tiny coop you could even cover the floor with PDZ, a granular mineral substance used in horse bedding, and scoop out poop with a cat litter scoop, leaving the PDZ, which resembles sand, but it absorbs odor. I have shavings on the floor of my coop and PDZ on a poop board under one roost. I scoop poop out from both.
Some people block the nest boxes until laying starts. Also it helps to have roost higher than nest boxes, if you have room to do that.
 

PNWhens

Chirping
Sep 17, 2019
24
79
69
Whidbey Island, Washington
How lucky you are to live on Whidbey Island! What are the dimensions of your coop? Do they have roost bars?
A lot of people, myself included, prefer shavings. In a tiny coop you could even cover the floor with PDZ, a granular mineral substance used in horse bedding, and scoop out poop with a cat litter scoop, leaving the PDZ, which resembles sand, but it absorbs odor. I have shavings on the floor of my coop and PDZ on a poop board under one roost. I scoop poop out from both.
Some people block the nest boxes until laying starts. Also it helps to have roost higher than nest boxes, if you have room to do that.

I believe it’s about 80 by 26 inches not included the upper area. They do have roost bars but prefer to sleep in floor. The roost are low so I can defiantly raise them a bit.
 

PNWhens

Chirping
Sep 17, 2019
24
79
69
Whidbey Island, Washington
I believe it’s about 80 by 26 inches not included the upper area. They do have roost bars but prefer to sleep in floor. The roost are low so I can defiantly raise them a bit.
 

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SueT

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If you have a bale of straw to use up, you may want to finish that up before trying something new....
 

slordaz

hatchaholic
5 Years
Apr 15, 2015
3,456
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Idaho
I like to use a combination and the deep litter method, I add some sand, straw and then put pine shavings on top, Then add another layer when needed, gives them something to do, keeps em warmer with winter coming up and keeps odor down as they love to turn it on days they don't want to be outside
 

FortCluck

Hatch-a-Long Queen
Sep 9, 2019
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Central Virginia
I was using straw that I buy at a local farm and it was working great, but recently I just switched over to pine shavings and those are so much better. They make the coop smell fresh instead of like wet grass (That's what I think straw smells like after a chicken has pooped on it). I have to change out the straw a lot more than I do the pine shavings. My chicken coop is 8 ft by 8 ft and the duck coop is 5 ft by 4 ft (they're getting an 8 ft by 8 ft coop in a couple of weeks that's next to the chicken coop).
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
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Jul 3, 2016
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My Coop
My Coop
I clean out my coop twice a year, much of that is due to the fact that the coop is larger and that it stays completely dry inside. I spot clean daily under the roosts (a "poop board" is also an option, would work the same way). I could probably extend it to once a year but twice works well enough for me. I use wood chips for deep bedding, as they're free for me (sourced off my lot) and the used chips go into the run, where they become part of the deep litter there.

You're probably going to find that coop insufficient once they grow up. The upper enclosed portion is the actual coop in this case, and for 4 you'd want to aim for 16 sq ft not including the nests. If your measurements are right the entire footprint doesn't even measure 16 sq ft. So consider turning the entire unit into the coop by removing the inside walls, boarding up any outer walls that directly face oncoming winds, then running a roost bar across the length of it (or 2 width wise, as it's very narrow).

And no they should not be sleeping in the nest boxes. Block them off entirely to break them of the habit until they're close to laying.
 

CWA131419

In the Brooder
I have a small coop with 4 gals, 5-6 weeks old. I have been using straw, but would like to know other preferred bedding for best health, maintenance, and odor. I haven't completely replaced the coop with new straw yet but have added some new layers every other day. I read on some threads that some people only clean their coops 1-3 times a year! Is that due to bigger coops or good bedding? I do not have a compost, and will probably through the waste bedding into the garbage.

Side question: Should I allow my pullets to lay/sleep in the nest boxes? They have a habit of only sleeping in the corner of one of the nest boxes.
 

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