Do you change the shavings?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ChickMandy, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. ChickMandy

    ChickMandy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2011
    Amaranth Ontario
    We've had our coop in use since the end of April this year, with four pullets in residence. Last week, we introduced eight eight-week old chicks to the mix, in their own enclosed brooding box, but still in the main coop area, using the floor. Before adding the chicks, my husband added a bag and a half of pine shavings to the existing bedding, to freshen up the coop.

    I had read in a chicken book (Story's Raising Chickens) that coops only need cleaning once a year, and doing so more than that would take away the bugs that had developed to help keep the coop clean - or something along those lines. It was suggested to continue adding clean shavings until winter, building up the coop floor to about 10 inches, which would then ferment over the winter, helping to keep the coop warm, and giving some great compost come spring clean up time.

    Hubby went in the coop today to water and feed everyone, and noticed that the chicks area of the coop is already in need of freshening/changing. The shavings are wet and clumpy and he feels it's not a good environment for them.

    How often should we be adding/changing the bedding? We basically went about two months without adding more to the coop, but this has only been a week.
  2. AlienChick

    AlienChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2010
    Glasgow, KY
    If it's wet, you need more shavings (and adding a little Sweet PDZ or DE could help).

    I've had my shavings in my coop since April as well and I rake each morning to mix it all up and ensure it is all dry.

    I have not yet seen any wet clumps.

    Also, make sure you do not have any water leaks anywhere.


    ETA: I have 23 chickens plus 4 guinneas inside my coop that is 8x12.

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011
  3. ChickMandy

    ChickMandy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2011
    Amaranth Ontario
    Quote:At the risk of sounding like a complete newbie, what are Sweet PDZ and DE?
  4. baldessariclan

    baldessariclan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2010
    Wichita, KS
    We change ours out about every 4-6 months or so. Our kids do some basic cleaning every weekend, scooping as much of the poop off the top as they can, so we have to replace some shavings occasionally if they start getting a little low. By the half-year mark, it's all getting pretty full of old, dried-up poop, though, so time to toss it in the compost and start with a fresh batch.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011
  5. FiascoFarmer

    FiascoFarmer Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 26, 2011
    Farmington, NH
    Quote:At the risk of sounding like a complete newbie, what are Sweet PDZ and DE?

    I don't know what PDZ is but DE dietomateous earth (not spelled right). Make sure it is FEED GRADE.
  6. Squishypuff

    Squishypuff Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2011
    Kernersville, NC
    Sweet PDZ is stuff to deodorize horse stalls. Smells really nice.
  7. SuburbanSue

    SuburbanSue Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 29, 2011
    Emerson, New Jersey
    I use the compressed pine pellets in my coop. They are generally used for horse stalls but I've seen things about them being used in
    Chicken Coops. So far, so good. Not a hint of smell. I scoop the poop, just like a cat litter box, in the morning and fluff a bit. No odor. i live in a suburban area with neighbors close by and they can't believe there is no smell. I am looking into the food grade diamatious earth as a back up and to spread in the run.
  8. 8ROYALS

    8ROYALS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2010
    Petersburg, Texas
    I change mine out every three months and sooner if they get wet. I spread mine around tree trunks and bushes for fertilizer. some is mixed into my grden area. But my chickens free range on 3 acres, so alot less poo inside than most I would guess.
  9. pontoosuc

    pontoosuc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2010
    Richmond, MA
    I muck out my pine shavings daily. In the winter I build up with deeper shavings for insulation but still muck out under the roosts.

    Love the smell of shavings! dislike the smell of poo!
  10. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    Depends on the size of the coop and number of chooks (and humidity level/air flow in coop). If adding more bedding without waste removal, check by digging down in the bedding under roosts to evaluate whether the heavier `wet stuff' has been tromped down, working itself into some strange ammoniacal mat of gunk on the floor of the coop. Might look and smell quite copacetic on the surface, then the temp. jumps to 95° , the humidity rockets and the toxic gases start rising.

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