Best winter bedding?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by FoghornTim, Jan 22, 2017.

  1. FoghornTim

    FoghornTim Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 17, 2015
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    My first Ohio winter with chickens. Cleaning out coop way more often than summer/fall. Painful to say the least. Been using straw for bedding. Tried wood shavings today. Any helpful ideas appreciated.
     
  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Leaves....they are more absorbent, are free, break down easily and you can layer them in thinly as poop is deposited beneath the roosts. Explore using the deep litter system~NOT just deep bedding~and how it can get you further down the road with bedding, with a cleaner smelling coop and with less cleanout. Both straw and shavings have a slow break down time and don't absorb moisture like leaves do, so they become saturated with feces quickly, while giving off more ammonia smells.

    Here's a thread to read up on: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/643302/results-from-first-year-with-deep-litter-method

    I'd read it all the way through, as the first pages don't show adequately how to maintain the litter for optimum composting/digesting. I'd stir the bedding as little as possible, especially under the roosts, but just flip dry bedding on top of nightly deposits or flip them like a pancake into the bedding below. This will help you trap the moisture below the surface and you'll get more out of your bedding by layering it in as needed and keeping the moisture capped below.
     
  3. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use nothing but leaves in my coop. I have tons of oak trees here which leave me with tons of free leaves. They keep smells down much better than shavings in my personal opinion. I am not sure how your coop is set up but one of the best things I did in this coop was set up a poop board. I also use leaves on that but it has been a back saver when cleaning out the coop. These pictures are from when I first built the coop hence the cleanliness and I had some left over shavings I dumped in there too but haven't put anything but leaves in there since.
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  4. dustrag73

    dustrag73 Just Hatched

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    I use sand...I'm lucky to live right next to a lake so it's free for me. I like to add leaves for them to play in.
     
  5. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We use about 4" of pine flakes in our coop. With a poopboard under the roost we only need to clean out the pine flakes twice a year (spring & fall). The poopboard is filled with PDZ and it gets sifted everyday or so.
     
  6. bento

    bento Just Hatched

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    Pine shaving works well for us. Clean our coop every few weeks. It does a ok job of hiding the smell.
     
  7. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What's your coop like? Pictures? The answers you get are going to vary because everyone's setup is particular to them.

    One of the best ways to decrease winter coop cleaning is to build a roofed run that also provides a wind block. The birds will stay outside more (and poop out there) instead of the coop. But that's only if the weather in your area is such that its causing the birds to coop up more during the winter.

    Go deep on the bedding. Really deep. But of course, if you have a coop design that can't accomodate a deep layer of bedding then that recommendation won't help.

    I think the switch from straw to shavings is gonna help you. But you'll get more and better advice if we knew the particulars of your coop and run setup.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
     

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