Don't know what to use for ground cover in pen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mtnhomechick, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. mtnhomechick

    mtnhomechick Songster

    Jun 27, 2008
    Mountain Home, AR
    I use straw in the coop and in the pen also. A friend who grew up on a farm said the straw for the pen is a waste. Well, naturally there use to be grass there but it's long gone. So I put straw down.

    Is that right or wrong?

    When it's really hot down here in Arkansas, I put ice in the water a couple times a day and hang refrigerated corn on the cob or cabbage or lettuce for them. Otherwise, I feed them layer crumbles and cracked corn.

    Does this sound alright?

    I'm a newbie at this and would appreciate any suggestions.

  2. Cassandra

    Cassandra Ranger Rick

    Oct 27, 2007
    Southwest Mississippi
    I think it sounds fine. I have been using dry pine needles for litter in my chicken pen. It works great.

    I think I'm going to have the same trouble as you with the heat this summer. But I like the idea of hanging refrigerated veggies as a cool treat. [​IMG]

  3. mtnhomechick

    mtnhomechick Songster

    Jun 27, 2008
    Mountain Home, AR
    I freeze ice in used cottage cheese containers and put it in the hanging waterers. It fits through the top real good and it hopefully helps them a bit.....I don't like to see them panting. Poor girls!! I also keep a fan running in the coop.

    I have a hard time with heat and humidity........maybe that's why I do this.
  4. lavacaw

    lavacaw Songster

    Feb 4, 2008
    South Central Texas
    Sometimes, I rake all the oak leaves (bags and bags of them) and dump them in the pen...the chickens love scratching through them to uncover bugs and seeds and what not...then periodically I rake the chicken pen and put the stuff in the garden. It's a win-win thing![​IMG]
  5. Instead of straw i use hay, or grass clippings from my side yards. Then i rake them out and put them in a pile for compost in which i lime and use in the garden the next year.[​IMG]
  6. mtnhomechick

    mtnhomechick Songster

    Jun 27, 2008
    Mountain Home, AR
    I forgot to mention that I use grass clippings too. How often should the pen be cleaned???

    I clean the pen once a week and the coop about every two weeks. A friend told me to clean the coop once a year.......does that sound right?

    That dirty straw sure makes good fertilizer. My dh can't wait to get it when I clean.
  7. Curlita

    Curlita Songster

    May 22, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I'm a newbie myself and I have straw in my run as well, and in the coop. I've been scraping the "nightsoil" (my chickens are very Victorian) out of their coop in the mornings and add fresh straw if it looks necessary, but haven't done anything with the straw in the run.

    I'm interested in other answers to this question.... It seems like it would take a while before the straw in the run needs replacing.
  8. chickenlickin8

    chickenlickin8 Songster

    Jun 26, 2008
    Valrico, Florida
    My Coop
    My coop is 12 ft long, 4 ft wide with partial concrete floor. I use a combination of cypress mulch and pine shavings a couple of inches deep so they can scratch. It absorbs moisture and smells nice!
  9. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress

    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    I have sand in my runs. The added bonus is that the sand dries out the poop real fast, so there's hardly anything to clean up.

    I clean my coop every few weeks. I scoop out all the shavings under the roost, then rake shavings towards the roost from the "clean" side, then refill on the clean side.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2008
  10. I use a thick layer of hay in the coop and nest boxes, and use wheat straw couple timesa week for them in the run. They free range from about 5 pm to bedtime , and thehay goes in the garden. marrie

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