Can dry odorless chick poop be left in hemp bedding indefinitely?

Grace Brooks

In the Brooder
Apr 6, 2020
Southern California
Hello again awesome chicken peeps 😀

We have 4 chicks in our brooder/coop. (Almost 3 weeks old) We put them in there after the first couple nights because it is warm in southern California, and they have a heater as well, which they choose to only use at night. The rest of the time they are in the run or free ranging already in our fenced backyard, (with supervision, until they're fully feathered).

There is so much poop now mixed in with our hemp bedding, they poop so frequently, it is impossible to get it all. I am out there every morning with a spoon and a bowl, trying to scoop each little poop for half an hour and I am wondering if it's even necessary. The poop is dry, it doesn't smell... Maybe just leave it in there or at least not stress trying to get it all? How often do we need to change out the bedding entirely?

Sometimes they step in it but it mostly comes off. Sometimes there are bits of poop stuck in their feathers, but it's a small amount and that has happened despite my best efforts to keep the bedding clean. Same question for run, will the poop just decompose in the dirt?

Bonus questions: The bedding keeps getting into the feeder and getting mixed in with the feed- is that okay? Their waterer is changed twice a day, but every time I look at it, including right after I give fresh water, it has dirt/bedding/sometimes even poop in it. I have it elevated on a platform now to help. Also, we give them grass seeds and bugs I find as treats, any problems there?

Thank you so much for feedback! Having chicks is fun but lots of questions!


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Dec 8, 2019
The Netherlands, Flushing
I clean my coop once every 3 months, I use straw as a bedding. I dont have poopboards so the poop of them wil go in the bedding, every morning I go look at them and mix the bedding and the poop and remove big pieces of poop and/or put some extra straw ontop. It is my own way of deep bedding.

Yes in the run their poop wil compose but it depends on your climate how it will compose and how fast.

Try hanging your feeder and waterer or elavate them that worked for me.
these are the ones I use. Do your chicks have access to grit? They need it to grind seeds.
Good luck and hope this helps!


Feb 23, 2018
Upstate sc
I use the deep litter method. Meaning i just keep adding bedding and clean it out 2x a year. As long as its dry and not damp in the coop. There should not be an ammonia odor.

I sometimes add PDZ and stir it all up. It helps keep the coop floor dry and keep odor down. Good ventilation is a must.

If you cant hang the feeder, try putting the feeder and waterer on a brick. It raises them up enough to keep them cleaner. Just be sure the chicks can reach.

middle TN Nancy

Jul 2, 2018
I never try to pick the poop out of the hemp in the coop. It’s dry almost immediately and there is no smell. Every couple of days I rake it with one of those big garden forks to stir any poops on the surface down into the hemp and to fluff it up. I bought PDZ but I haven’t used it yet since it still smells fresh - my 8 chicks are just a month old.

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