Coop Bedding

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by takidwell, Jun 24, 2016.

  1. takidwell

    takidwell New Egg

    Jun 24, 2016
    I am new to having backyard chickens. I have 4 chickens (Silkies and Polish). The coop has the roosting bars and nesting boxes. I have bedding in the nesting box and currently on the floor under the roosting bars. There is a sliding part for cleaning the roosting area, however with the bedding it makes a mess and is not very easy. It also makes a mess with the food and water I have in there. Do I need bedding under the roosting bars?
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    You don't need bedding under the roosting bars, no. Since we all have different setups and circumstances, its always best to do what suits you. With no bedding however, the area under the roosts should be cleaned every day to prevent a build up of ammonia and general dirtiness. Bedding absorbs a lot of the liquid from poo, and reduces odours.

    Providing you can ensure that you let your chickens out of the coop at day break, without fail, feed and water can be left outside the coop. An automatic pop door would save you from getting up at the crack of dawn during the summer months, should you so wish.

  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    CT is right, we are all unique in everything so we all have to find our own way. I don’t know what your coop looks like, how old your chickens are, or how you manage them. It’s hard to get really specific on suggestions without knowing a lot more so I’ll try to be general.

    The purpose of the bedding is to absorb moisture. Wet poop can stink after a short time and can be unhealthy. A big test to see how often you need to clean is smell. If it starts to smell, you waited too long. You can use that to determine how often you need to clean. For some people that’s really often, for some not often at all.

    I use the top of a built-in brooder as a droppings board. It’s just a sheet of plywood which I leave bare. No bedding of any kind. I currently have 11 grown chickens sleeping in there on two roosts each 8 feet long. It’s so hot and dry here the poop dries out immediately. I haven’t scraped that droppings board in about three weeks and probably won’t for another week or so. There are times when I have more chickens in there and the weather is cooler and wetter that I have to scrape it weekly or maybe more often. Some people scrape their droppings board daily or use a bedding like sand and scoop the poop out daily. Some people use different kinds of bedding to absorb the poop and don’t scrape it as often. We all have our own way of doing things.

    It sounds like you have a fairly small prefab elevated coop, I could be wrong. With that sliding tray under the roosts you do not need to put any bedding in it, you just need to clean it when you need to clean it. Often people with that set-up use something like sand or PDZ to absorb the moisture. Which type of bedding you use can make a difference in how easy it is to slide that tray too. Straw, hay, or wood shavings might cause more problems than some other things.

    I don’t know how much room you have in that coop to place feeders and waterers or what kind you are using. A common trick to reduce the amount of bedding they scrape into the feed and water is to raise them above the floor, preferably about the height of the chickens’ backs. If the coop is big enough, some people build a raised platform to put those things on with enough room for the chickens to stand. Sort of a mezzanine. Some people hang them from the ceiling. There are just so many different ways we do these things it’s hard to get specific.

    I agree they should have food and water shortly after they wake up. When you let them out in the morning has a big role in whether you need food and water inside the coop.

    My suggestion is to try different things. Try it without bedding and see how that works out. If you find you don’t like that maybe try different bedding.

    Good luck and welcome to the forum!

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