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Deep litter with oak leaves

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by RAM4171, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. RAM4171

    RAM4171 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 24, 2014
    Good Friday all!!!
    first of let me say thank you for the wealth of knowledge on BYC.

    I do not have any chickens as of yet but I am planning on starting my flock this Spring with 25 White Dorking chicks from Yellow House. I plan on building an open air coop very soon. My plan is to have a sustainable flock so I'll start with the first coop then over the year build some more smaller ones for breeding, feeding out, separating roosters, and so forth. The first coop will be my large layer coop. I live in the East Texas post oak belt on 35 acres of mostly untouched forest so I have an unending supply of oak leaves. I am going to use the deep litter method with leaves in the coops and was curious would it be better to shred the leaves in a shredder before placing them in the coop or would it be best to just leave them whole. I was thinking shredded because they would break down better, but if whole is better why do the extra work? So if anyone does this what is your experience? I may just have to experiment on my own. Anyway, thanks in advance for the replies.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I'd leave them whole. That will keep them from getting matted down when mixed with feces.
    I use oak and other leaves in the run in the fall but in the coops I use pine shavings. But what works best for one, doesn't necessarily work for someone else. I sat try it a few different ways to see what works best for you.
     
  3. RAM4171

    RAM4171 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 24, 2014
    Thanks for the advice, If I lived somewhere else I would go the pine shaving route. I just don't want to pay for something when I have so much organic material laying around for free. I know me and I'll end up experimenting. Since I do have the chipper/shredder I guess I could shred some dead fall to add to the leaves, and yes I know no cedar. Man I'm so ready to get started!!
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Hardwood shavings aren't good for indoor poultry bedding either because there are some dangerous fungi that can grow in them.
     
  5. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah happy Friday you too RAM4171.
    I use oak leaves during the winter when they fall off the trees. Works well for me.
    In my pen that has an actual coop, if I put whole leaves a foot deep the chickens make them dissappear in about 3 weeks.
    In my 3 pens that have open air roosts instead of a coop, during the rainy season if there's not enough chickens to keep them churned up, they get moldy & mildewed and add to the poop soup which *MIGHT* have caused some respiratory and other health issues I had in the past.
     
  6. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I love using leaves and mostly use them shredded due to laziness on my part. We have a mulching lawnmower and it's easier to "rake" them with the mower and catch them in the bag, then dump the bag in the coop. The leaves get shredded doing that but they also break down faster. Combined with pine shavings and straw, there's enough litter of different sizes and types to take care of most anything the girls throw at it. And they do their best to give it everything they've got!
     
  7. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I use a lot of leaves, since I have a lot of trees...

    I shred them with the tractor mower, then sweeper collects them.

    I pile in an unused area, and put around 100 gallons in the run every 2 weeks, all spring and summer, a lot of leaves...

    This makes my compost, a lot of compost...
     
  8. RAM4171

    RAM4171 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 24, 2014
    I'm glad to hear all of this. I'll try it both ways to see which I like better. Shredding would be more work for me since I have shredder but no bagging mower, I barely have to mow anything. I have so many leaves that I will find places in the forest in the middle of the summer that leaves are over 6" deep them figure about a million and a half square feet of leaves = unending supply for free.
     
  9. rmr1676

    rmr1676 New Egg

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    Never thought about leaves. Going to try this.
     
  10. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

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    We just covered our run in cottonwood leaves - part shredded by raking into a long pile and mowing over them, and part whole leaves. I also threw in some mulch (Miscellaneous wood chips) and a bag of grass clippings.

    Raking up a pile of chopped leaves isn't much harder than raking up the whole leaves.....
     

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