Changing the Straw in the Coup

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jim-pav, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. jim-pav

    jim-pav In the Brooder

    Jan 2, 2011
    Freeport, PA
    Hi everyone. For those of you who use straw in your coup, I was wondering how often you change yours. I'm new to chickens this past summer. Built a coup 8' x 8'. In the winter here in PA, I put down two bails of straw on the floor. It seems to last about 3 weeks to 1 month. After that it's on the damp side. I push out the damp straw and put in two fresh bails, including in the nesting boxes. I have 14 chickens.

    BTW, I shoveled the snow out of their run today. They came out within minutes!! First time they've been out in a couple weeks.

    Thanks everyone.

    Last edited: Jan 16, 2011
  2. annie3001

    annie3001 My Girls

    Jun 11, 2009
    i personally do not like to use straw inside the coop. only in the nesting boxes. i like shavings on the coop floor. i think its much easier to move around and clean up. [​IMG]
  3. MamaChic21

    MamaChic21 Songster

    Dec 2, 2010
    Jackson, NJ
    I was using hay inside their run and I really hated when it got wet, it also became very heavy and smelly [​IMG]. Yesterday I cleaned out their coop and put wood shaving in, not only it looks good but it smells good too [​IMG]. We shoveled their run day after it snowed here, but they were still limited so the hay that was in their coop, I put it in their run. They are not spending more time outside during the day now.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2011
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    I have used straw and shavings in the coops and can't honestly say one is wow wee better than another, as far as clean up goes.
    Shavings clean up better with flat shovel, while straw is better with pitchfork and then shovel.
    I clean the coop every 6 weeks. I want the fertilizer on the gardens. Straw seems to have an edge on breaking down quicker in the soil. I also suspect the shavings require a bit more lime to help neutralize the ph.

    Not sure which is cheaper either. Straw, by a whisker. YMMV.
  5. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Quote:Some people leave it for months if it's on a dirt floor. What you might want to address is the dampness. Why is it damp? If you have a dirt floor coop you might consider something like a french drain to dry out the floor. I let mine build up at least all winter in my dirt floor coop -- til whenever I want the stuff for the garden. Keeps the chickens a bit warmer in winter. Damp straw is not a good thing.
  6. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Songster

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    I put about 3-4 bags of shavings in my 8x8 coop back in July and it is still not very yucky. I do have a poop board under my roost, so that catches most of the poo. I clean it off every 3 days and sprinkle a little shavings on it so the poo is easier to scrape off into my 5 gallon bucket. The back of my coop is off the ground so I just store the bucket under the coop until it gets full, then I get a another bucket. I save my plastic feed sacks and empty the poo into them until they get full, then I either put it on my compost pile or give it away to a neighbor for their garden. I have sprinkled Stall Dry and DE on the board and into the shavings back in the summer when it was hot and flies were out, but since the weather got cold I haven't done that. It doesn't stink and I am not having to clean out the coop and replace shavings. I took the advice of others and made a poop board out of an old bead board panel I found in the garage. It has been well worth it!
  7. sunflowerenvy

    sunflowerenvy Songster

    Apr 4, 2010
    south/west tn
    last time a change the coop bedding was SEPT to JAN i used bale of hay total in SEPT i put down 1/3 in last week NOV i add 1/3 more last week add 1/3[last of it] due to it being so cold n snowy.
    i clean it out yesterday due i could not get hay again at this time i went for pine shaving i used a half bag and when i went into the coop half of the shaving was kick out from under the roosting bars i have to shovel it back in. the bale of hay was $3.00 and a bag shaving was$6.00 and it only last me a month. so i will be going back to hay.
    somepple just change the hay once a year. but i change it every 4 months
  8. PeakyBeaky

    PeakyBeaky Songster

    Sep 27, 2010
    Bellefonte, PA
    We use shavings. But when it gets really cold(like tonight, I put hay in the nesting boxes, the younger chickens like it (they all huddle in one box-5 of them!!!). It does stay damper than shavings, so I usually change it out after a week.
  9. junglebird

    junglebird Songster

    Aug 29, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I use straw on a dirt floor. I put down about 6" of fresh straw in October or November, and I've been adding to it since then (it's about a 10-12" deep now). I scatter some grain on it everyday so the chickens will stir it up, which makes the poop fall below the surface (I rarely see the poop, even under the roost, and the coop doesn't stink). The straw is moist (not quite damp), which is good, because dry straw is too dusty. Also, the moistness gives a good environment for the poop/straw to start decomposing, which produces both heat and awesome compost amendment. It's a living floor, and some of my determined birds keep digging down to the dirt to get bugs. [​IMG] Do a search for "deep litter method" if that sounds interesting to you.

    I have one corner that gets a little soggy after lots of rain, due to poor planning and drainage. I pull the soggy straw out of that corner, and let the chickens have the bare dirt for a day before I toss some dry straw on it. Besides that, I don't really clean my coop very much - having a lot of square footage per bird really helps with that.
  10. OkChickens

    OkChickens Orpingtons Are Us

    Dec 1, 2010
    Owasso, Oklahoma
    I put 3 bales of straw down in my 20x35 coop in October 2010 and I have poop boards under the roosts it has very little poop in the straw with hardly no smell. It works great for me! I put a layer of shavings in the nestboxes and then straw on top!

    Last edited: Jan 16, 2011

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by