Frozen Shavings

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by JacobMaxwell, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. JacobMaxwell

    JacobMaxwell Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It has been very cold lately, and all the shavings in my chicken house have frozen solid except for a thin layer on top. It is a big problem when lots of poop is building up and I need to stir up the bedding. Any ideas?
     
  2. Scooter&Suzie

    Scooter&Suzie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have the same problem - I just put in a ton of shavings and replace it often. I wouldn't mind having sand for days like these....
     
  3. cyw iar

    cyw iar Out Of The Brooder

    Where are you located? I use shavings in our coop as well, with daytime temps in the teens a couple week back and haven't had this problem. Sounds like maybe you have a humidity problem or a build up of moisture in the coop?
     
  4. JacobMaxwell

    JacobMaxwell Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Scooter&Suzie: DO NOT USE SAND! I tried it in my coop and it froze solid much worse than the shavings. It was very cold for the hens to walk on and I had to wait until a warm spell came before I could get it out.
     
  5. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    If you're doing a deep litter method--and it sounds like you are--then the bottom layer may be frozen solid for a while. That's OK, there's not much composting going on if it's frozen anyway. As long as there is a layer at the top that's friable, you're OK. Keep putting dry bedding on top, and stir what you can. If you find areas that are at the top and are frozen, it's because they've gotten very wet, so remove that part.

    Resume stirring when it thaws enough to do so.
     
  6. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    I am very surprised by this. My father keeps 350 dairy cows bedded on sand (it's pretty much standard for the dairy industry any more, the cows love it) and it doesn't freeze solid unless a cow has decided to pee in her stall. It sounds like your sand got really wet somehow. The cattle stalls are raked three times a day, so we'd definitely know if the sand was freezing.
     
  7. JacobMaxwell

    JacobMaxwell Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the ideas! I'll take you're advice and just stir what I can. I think my shavings got frozen because I get them from a local sawmill and they might have been a little damp. The shavings weren't getting frozen until I started turning the red heat lamp off at night. I guess I'll just have to leave it on.
     
  8. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    My personal opinion would be that it's better to have frozen shavings with dry on top than to make your hens dependent on a heat lamp. They don't need it unless it gets really cold where you live (-20) and it stops them from acclimating to the colder temperatures naturally.
     
  9. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    In very cold climates (like here for example) it is normal for the shavings to freeze up when the temp really drops. Bedding in the Deep Litter method has some moisture content, although should never feel wet. Add some dry shavings on top as needed, and shovel out frozen poops from below the roosts so that when it warms up it doesn't make a big sloppy mess. I agree with the above comment about a heat lamp, besides causing your birds to become dependant on heat, it is a fire risk.

    Are you using shavings or sawdust from the sawmill? Sawdust is very poor bedding, the consistancy is too fine and can cause respiratory issues. Regardless, they should be completely dry before adding them to the litter layer.
     
  10. JacobMaxwell

    JacobMaxwell Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use shavings. Sawdust is very dusty.
     

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