dried leaves for litter

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by derby, May 24, 2008.

  1. derby

    derby Songster

    Apr 18, 2008
    Boonsboro, MD
    I was wondering if it would be ok to use dried leaves (mainly oak) as the litter for the henhouse. We live in the woods and have an endless supply of leaves. Obviously, I prefer to use something easy and free, but I don't want to cause any harm to the chickens.

  2. ibpboo

    ibpboo Where Chickens Ride Horses

    Jul 9, 2007
    always changing
    I don't see why not. My chickens rustle in the leaves every day, some are oak leaves.
  3. SterlingAcres

    SterlingAcres Songster

    Apr 17, 2008
    Poconos, PA
    I've seen people use pine needles, so maybe?
  4. Meesh

    Meesh Songster

    Feb 12, 2008
    Rocky Mountains
    I wouldn't do it. Leaves hold a lot of water and stay wet creating stinky anerobic conditions, and they mold easily. I use a lot of leaves in the garden, for composting, and make leaf mold (a traditional garden amendment).

    However, if it does work out and isn't too nasty and wet and anerobic, you'd have a great compost source when you haul it out of the coop.

    So if you try it and it works, please post back.

  5. NoelTate

    NoelTate Songster

    Apr 8, 2008
    Mobile, AL
    I treat my coop almost like a compost bin, I guess. I put leaves and grass clippings in it all year. When I need fertilizer for a bed or when I need to pot something, I just dig straight from the coop. Because I have so much mulch in it all the time, the coop stays higher than the ground around it, so water does not stand. It's rare that I have much smell at all, and that's usually when there is not enough mulch to keep the pen drained. The chickens love digging around in it, and it usually stays full of worms for them. So far *knock on wood* I have not burned any of my plants with it, and the chickens are all healthy and happy. I think your leaves would be great. You can't beat free! [​IMG]
  6. dixygirl

    dixygirl Songster

    May 14, 2008
    Great advice I love it.
    I have bought a lot of pine shavings for my babies. I decided to put them to good use instead of throwing them out too. So I have a path that is like a nature trail. Years ago I thought it would look so nice to have the path outlined in pine needles or light colored yellow mulch . I use dark red mulch everywhere else in the beds.

    So instead of throwing out my ducks wet pine shavings each day, I throw them in the woods along the path of the trail and it is starting to look great, just as I imagined it.

    More to your question though, mine are under a tree now playing in dried leaves and they look very happy
  7. kgatn

    kgatn In the Brooder

    Feb 18, 2007
    middle Tennessee
    I've been using bamboo leaves for a couple of years. I have a large stand of bamboo which has to be cut back frequently so I cut the leaves into the coop & run. They dry pretty quickly, I add more layers as necessary, shovel it out into the compost pile when it gets gross and garden with it in the spring. It's a great use of natural resources and my chickens are very happy with the arrangement!

    I've used fallen oak & maple leaves in the fall sucessfully also - just be careful not to start with wet leaves.
  8. nccountrygirl

    nccountrygirl Songster

    Jul 31, 2007
    Sanford N.C.
    Mine love leaves thrown it their run. They act like you did the best thing in the world for them. They will play in those leaves till they have them pecked clean of any bugs and then they will break them down to fine litter.
  9. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    I've not tried in the coop - but in the run - oh they love it, last year I dumped all my leaves in their run, they did think I was trying to kill them when they saw that huge pile, but it took once brave soul to start scratching and they were all busy for HOURS..... I never did get to remove anything - dunno what happened to it all [​IMG] all back down to the dirt now.
  10. Standard Hen

    Standard Hen Songster

    May 17, 2007
    My chickens spend most of their waking day rummaging through the oak leaves in the woods. I have thought the same thing you are. I think this fall I am going to bag up a good amount of dry oak leaves and use the to help with bedding. I will add them to the hay and shavings and it will help. I like to keep a good floor bedding in the winter for them.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: