Coop bedding/litter options

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by DreamsInPink, Apr 7, 2016.

  1. DreamsInPink

    DreamsInPink Chillin' With My Peeps

    I know there are countless threads here on the subject and I'm sorry to add to it by starting a new one.

    But I'm having a hard time deciding what to do. At first, I really planned on using pine shavings.. and even thought of doing the deep litter method... but after researching it more, I'm not so sure it's something I want to do. I just don't know. If I use pine shavings, do I HAVE to do the DLM?

    My coop is 10' X 20', but some of that is going to be off limits to the chickens.. a storage area and a brooder/nursery type area. I'm not set on how big those areas will be yet. We're still building the shell of the coop and having gotten to the logistics of the inside yet.

    I want something relatively easy to maintain, obviously. I've read about sand, and how many people just love it. But I worry about the weight. I'd have to use a LOT of sand to cover my coop floor. Unless of course I didn't make it very deep. Which I'm not sure how deep you are supposed to make it, if it even matters.

    Not only is the weight an issue, but the handling of the sand. Wheelbarrowing or bucketing it into the coop.... I'm trying to do as much of this project on my own... I'm a middle aged woman with some physical limitations, so I have to be realistic.

    I considered utilizing a droppings board or hammock under the roost area, but since this is my first time dealing with chickens, I don't know how much of the droppings end up all throughout the coop bedding and not in the hammock or on the board.

    I will appreciate any guidance... thank you!!
     
  2. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Im a newbie so all I can offer you is what I have done. I have 9 hens and I started with about 2 inches of pine shavings in the bottom. I plan to do a deep litter/deep bedding. There are differences in the two, some use the same name for both. Anyway after about two weeks with the pine I raked up a large trash bag of dried leaves and grass from my fence row from last fall. I dumped them in and spread them out a little. The hens loved digging through them. About 2 weeks later I did the same. So far I am 6 weeks in and that is all I have done. I have a lot of ventilation but I have zero bad smells coming from the coop. The only smell is a smell of the dried leaves, smells like a fall day to me. My plan is to keep adding leaves and grass clippings when I feel it is needed then in the fall clean it out and start over, doing this twice a year.

    I didn't like the idea of sand because I know that once the new wears off I might not be motivated to have to scoop poop every day or two. Right now the chicks dig around in the litter so much you don't even see much manure, the leaves and pine dry it up quick and they keep everything chopped up good.
     
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  3. DreamsInPink

    DreamsInPink Chillin' With My Peeps

    That sounds like something I could definitely do.. other than the leaves. I don't have many trees around me. A few, but not enough. I suppose I could ask my neighbors....

    Do you mind if I ask how big your coop is and how much ventilation you have? I'm hoping I will have enough, but one good thing, I guess I can always add more whenever I need to.
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I do deep litter in my run but not in my coops which have concrete floors, deep litter should have ground contact and can be a mess if not done right. In my coops I use pine shavings, in winter I throw in slabs of hay on cold days to get them off the floor more and give them something to do.

    We clean them as needed, sometimes a total cleaning, others just under the roosts.

    We have sand in our turkey shed. It is heavy and deep, about 6-8 inches, there's no floor but the ground. After the initial fill we add some every year to replace what we scoop out. I use a cat litter scoop taped to a handle to scoop the poop every morning. It works good for the turkeys but I wouldn't use for my chickens as it would be too labor intensive for my large flock and is a bit cold on the feet in the winter. The turkeys go outside most days so it doesn't matter for them.
     
  5. DreamsInPink

    DreamsInPink Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well, from what I've been reading, I don't think I want to do the deep litter method, but maybe just a deep bedding method.. but even so, I don't know how deep I want to go with it either. That's why I posted this question. I truly do not know what I'm going to do. I'm not doing sand, even though I thought I would for a minute. It's just going to be too much weight getting it into the coop. By myself. No thanks.

    I guess what I'll probably end up doing, (unless someone comes along with some better advice for me) is start out with a decent layer of pine shavings. And just see how it goes.

    I found some pictures of some roosts with droppings boards somewhere online. I wish I could add pictures here somewhere... just a bunch of ideas I'd like to implement into my own coop.
     
  6. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My coop is 6x8 foot. It has two large canopy windows on the front, they are about 20"x20" each, maybe 18"x18" (I've never measured them. The back side has two 12x12 slider windows. When I put the metal on my roof I kept it several inches short of reaching the peak. I put hardware cloth over that opening and then put my ridge cap on, so I have ventilation all the way down the roof ridge that is about 5 inches. Plus I leave the eaves open on each side and they are just covered by hardware cloth, so there is a lot of ventilation there. Here are some pics of the vents. I bought a gable vent to put in above my walk in door. but I haven't done that yet, maybe once it warms up.

    [​IMG]

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  7. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We do Deep Bedding with just pine shavings in our coop. There is 2 - 4 inches of shavings on the coop floor. There is a poopboard under the roost filled with PDZ that catches most of the droppings so the floor actually stay pretty clean. What poo that make it the floor gets stirred in by the hens and dries up. The shavings get completely changed out twice a year. The poopboard gets sifted-out everyday day or 2. Very easy to maintain. No odor or fly problems.

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Did you mention what your flooring is DreamsInPink? That can affect your choices.
     
  9. DreamsInPink

    DreamsInPink Chillin' With My Peeps

    @flyin-lowe
    Thank you very much for the pictures. You really DO have lots of ventilation. I really like your two big windows.. the way they open. You can leave them open even if it's raining. I was planning on doing a couple that way, but I really wanted a shutter style in the front... more because I really like how they look.

    My bf has pegboard that he wants to use to cover the openings in the eaves. Would that work? Instead of hardware cloth?

    @ChickenMammx4
    Thank you for the picture! I'm planning on doing the stair step roosts, (not sure the proper term for that) instead of all one height like yours. But I'm still really thinking of doing a droppings board or hammock. And possibly having a large door cut out of the wall at the bottom under the roosts so I can stand outside and rake it out when I clean it. I'm definitely planning on investing in some PDZ as well.

    @oldhenlikesdogs
    My floors are deck planking. But we are wanting to cover it with vinyl flooring, to make it easier to clean. :D
     
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  10. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    For deep litter to work properly it should have contact with the ground. It's really just a version of composting in situ, it can rot wooden floors. I would do either shavings and poop boards, or just shavings and clean as necessary. I keep my bedding thinner in summer and thicker in winter.
     

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