Comparison of beddings?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by gggeek, Sep 19, 2014.

  1. gggeek

    gggeek Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 17, 2014
    I am a veteran of a dozen internet forums and I hate when "newbs" post things that I know are easily searchable for. However, this is a case where I find the shoe on the other foot as I am the "newb" to BYC (and chickens). I am looking at search results and at the Learning Center and trying to find what I assume is out there about beddings; a simple comparison of common materials. There is definitely a lot of debate about sand, but not anything consistent I can find about things such as shredded paper, shredded leaves, etc.

    I have looked extensively at the DLM articles and knowledge and they almost all point to pine shavings. However, I am really curious how shredded leaves fair in DLM, in the run, in the yard (as they attract earthworms that chickens could then scratch and get at).

    Thanks for anyone that can link me to some solid comparison threads or articles here at BYC or a source such as a local extension office (my local extension is Clemson SC, but chicken info is lacking).
  2. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2014
    Oakland, CA
    My Coop
    I don't know that I've seen any articles about DLM and leaves, but I certainly know plenty of people who use them in their runs if they live in a place where they can get them for free. I don't live in such a place, but I'm going to nab several bags when I go up to my friend's property in the mountains.
  3. yyz0yyz0

    yyz0yyz0 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2012
    I have pine shavings in my coop, DLM with poop boards. Because of the poop boards and the fact that the food and water are outside my bedding has lasted over 1yr so far and it looks like I'm gonna be pushing 2years before it needs changed. It's still completely dry and fluffy, I can see poop chunks in it but there is zero oder from it, so I'm gonna leave it for this winter. It was put in the New coop 14months ago and is still in great condition.

    My fear with leaves is that within a few weeks of filling the coop they would start breaking down into finer and finer pieces until there is nothing but leaf dust and poop left. I've read that coops get dusty enough on their own, so didn't want add to the dust problem with my bedding.

    The funny part is that when I built the coop I placed it at height that would allow me to get a wheelbarrow under the front edge so I could just slide the old bedding out into the wheelbarrow without spilling much on ground in front of the coop. Since I will probably only clean the bedding every two years or so, this feature was not as useful as I had originally thought. Now my problem is that the poop boards are just a little too high to clean easily, if the coop was 6" inches lower it would be so much easier to clean the poop boards. Oh, well. Live and learn
  4. gggeek

    gggeek Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 17, 2014
    Just curious why DLM w/ poop boards? Seems like you still have routine cleaning duty when the biggest draw to me of DLM is not having to invest so much time in cleaning.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    The general theory, as I understand it, of DLM is that it is a compost pile inside the coop. Works well for some who understand composting, not so much for others.

    I don't like the idea because of the amount of moisture (and the delicate balance) needed to have a truly hot, or at least warm, active compost maintained continuously....and I don't have a dirt floor in my coop, which I think might be essential to successful to DLM.

    I use a roost board with sand and PDZ, sifted poops go to a friends compost. Pine shavings on the floor, it dries the poops up and I totally change out the shavings, poop, spilled feed twice a year and compost the whole lot. My coop is as dry as possible and mostly odor free.

    Search tip here, use the advanced search and titles'll still have to wade thru alot of chatter but I've found that works best. Here's an example:

    advanced search>titles only>leaf bedding
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2014
  6. Chicken Hound

    Chicken Hound Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 8, 2014
    McDowell County NC
    I might not be an expert or even play one on T.V. but I would think leafs would make a short lived bedding material for your coop. My girls are for ever scratching around in the coop. I would think even there just walking around would cause dry leafs to almost vanish in no time. As I understand and the reason I use a bedding in the coop is to help keep it dry so the material needs to have an absorptive property, not something dry leafs are know for. In my area pine shavings are rather cheep and easy to find, straw is another option but can be more costly depending on your area. I use a DLM the idea is to have enough litter on the floor to dry out the droppings and mix in so there no smell, adding more as needed to keep things neat. Works well in my raised coop with a wood floor, I sprinkle some DE and mix to help dry things out. I do a complete change twice a year, spring and fall, sending it to the garden to be turned under. Hope this helps good luck to ya.
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    My deep litter is kind of like a big compost pile. I start with pine shavings, and add leaves, pine needles or redwood fronds, sweepings of hay from the barn floor and grass clippings throughout the year. I also toss in dry horse manure from time to time, to give the birds something to scratch around in. I'd think exclusively leaves would tend to stick together and if they get wet, you'll have a slimy mess. I do think they'd break down too fast to really have staying power like the pine shavings do. But, used in combination, it does fine for me. My litter is odor-free, nice and fluffy, and when I do get wild hair and decide to clean the coop out, makes wonderful garden soil.

    In addition to the above, I toss scratch or corn in the coop a few times a week, to encourage them to scratch around and turn the bedding.

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