Chicken Coop Bedding & When to Change It

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by burbankchix, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. burbankchix

    burbankchix Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2011
    California
    I hope this is the correct forum subject for my question. We read in the "Storey's" book on chicken raising, that we could use pine shavings in our coop. It also said that if we keep the moisture right and turn it every few days or so, that it would compost itself and we would just have to add new shavings occasionally, but only have to remove the whole mess about once a year. We have been following this method since we got our chicks and they have been in the coop, about 2 1/2 months or so. Our floor is vinyl flooring with no drop thru openings. Now the kids do kick out some of the pine thru the coop door into their run, but we only add a about a 5 gallon buckets worth every 3 weeks or so. Are we doing okay, or should we change our method and replace all the shavings more often?

    As new parents we are going about half the time by the book and the rest on common sense (we hope)! All suggestions are welcome.[​IMG]
     
  2. MommyMagpie

    MommyMagpie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 29, 2011
    Salem/Jarvisville, WV
    I used to change our shavings every month, but I recently added a kind of threshold at the coop door to make it harder for them to kick the shavings out, and with turning them daily I see that I will be able to go a much longer time without changing it out. We use a child-size snow shovel that my kids outgrew.

    I should add that our hens are let out daily no matter what the weather. They know to lay eggs in the nest boxes and there is plenty of shelter in our yard, so we see no reason to keep them in. So they are only in there to sleep.
     
  3. burbankchix

    burbankchix Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2011
    California
    Thanks for your reply. We also added a 4 inch threshold to the big doors and the the small chicken door. We haven't emptied the litter completely yet, we've added and subtracted a little. Losing liter is not a major concern, but keeping it in the coop and just turning it and keeping the moisture right is what's questionable....do you think we're doing the right thing?
     
  4. binders

    binders Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 4, 2011
    I think if the moisture is being controlled then there should be no problem. [​IMG]
     
  5. burbankchix

    burbankchix Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2011
    California
    Thanks so much, we are turning it, but not every day. We have a small rack we use to fluff and turn and move it all around and break up any mini-piles. So I guess it's okay to leave it in there for a long time just adding a little fresh now and then. We let ours free range also in the early evening for about 2 hours, then they all head in around dusk. We have 14 and their run is 8x12, but we are thinking of expanding it in an L-shape to give them more room.

    Thanks for the comments, we New Eggs always seem to need advise![​IMG]
     
  6. emrys

    emrys Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 3, 2009
    If you don't get a strong ammonia smell you are doing fine. The ammonia smell means you have moisture and need to address the cause, and or add something to dry the bedding out.
     
  7. yinzerchick

    yinzerchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2011
    E.Texas
    If you use some Sweet PDZ, (found at TSC or feed store type place) it really helps dry stuff out and keep the coop from getting that ammonia smell. I just sprinkle a few cups around in the litter every 6 weeks or so. I am sorta/kinda using the deep litter method too, but here it's so hot, I don't want, or need, to get my litter that deep. I scoop out the big poops and scrap the roosts daily, then just rake and turn the rest of the shavings. I only add litter when it's broke down and looking pretty puny.
    Sounds like what you're doing is working for you. Sometimes I don't think there's always a "right" way, sometimes it's just ways that work, and ways that don't work so well. Good Luck![​IMG]

    PS,
    I also let my chickens out daily, so they don't really spend much time in the coop. They just go in to use the nest boxes, and sleep. And, sometimes to just stand and BAWK at each other while they're in the nest boxes. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2011

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