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.