How is peat moss for bedding? I don't see it used a lot.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Springthing, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. Springthing

    Springthing Chirping

    Aug 26, 2011
    SW Missouri
    I came upon an idea when I was doing the current coop. The idea was to use peat moss for bedding. This had the advantage of soaking up bad smells, didn't need cleaning but once maybe twice per year, and could just be scooped up and thrown right into flower beds and gardens.

    I see most folks using pine/aspen shavings for their coops. I guess I'm wondering if anyone else used peat moss, or similar, and/or if those that use shavings have just learned a lesson I haven't yet.

    The peat moss is a little dirtier than shavings, but it's easy for the chickens to kick up so the poop gets buried easier, it doesn't really smell bad in the coop, I don't think it would be as easy for mites or other parasites to thrive in, and I like that it can all just be used as fertilizer once a year.

    I'm asking because building of Coop 2.0 is going to start in the next few weeks and I was going to use the peat again in the new coop.

    Thoughts, comments, concerns?
    1 person likes this.

  2. colebarnhart

    colebarnhart Songster

    You shouldn't be getting very much poop in the nesting box, but I don't see how it would be a bad choice or better or worse, just one of many.
  3. jtbrown

    jtbrown Songster

    Mar 30, 2011
    Southeastern Ohio
    No experience with peat, using wood chips with no problem here. There has been a sustainability issue with Peat moss that I have read about that has led to advertising of "peat-free" products for gardening. Worth looking in to, seems like falling out of favor environmentally at least for gardening. Unlike other decisions for coop, this one would not be bank shattering to switch if you dislike it.
  4. chickmama1662

    chickmama1662 Chirping

    May 26, 2011
    My only experience with peat moss is that I gave my chickens a box full of it thinking they would use it for a dust bath, instead they ate it all. I haven't seen any adverse effects from them eating it so apparently it didn't hurt them any but I haven't given them anymore.

  5. Springthing

    Springthing Chirping

    Aug 26, 2011
    SW Missouri
    Quote:Not the nesting boxes, just the coop floor on the whole. I use aspen shavings in the nesting boxes so it's nice and fluffy. [​IMG]
  6. Fowel Frenzy

    Fowel Frenzy In the Brooder

    May 24, 2011
    I never thought about Peat Moss. I'm gonna do it on the dirt floor of my hen-house. The ducks will love it, I'm sure. GREAT Idea.
  7. fiddleman

    fiddleman In the Brooder

    Sep 11, 2011
    A few issues with peat moss which I can think of from my years of experience with it using it to garden....

    1. It holds a TON of moisture for quite a while... might have humidity issues with it since it won't dry very quickly.

    2. Once it IS totally dry, it is very hard to re-moisten especially in cool temperatures. If you put a pile of dry peat moss out in the rain, only the outer layer will be wet... the rest will stay dry as a bone. It doesn't transmit moisture from point A to Point B very well.

    3. It has a tendency to crust over when dry on the top.

    I would think other items more suited to bedding than having something which purposely holds moisture... I would think it would be a breeding ground for unsavory germs and molds.... Just my 2 cents.

    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011

  8. instar8

    instar8 Chirping

    Jun 30, 2011
    Hmmm...maybe mixed with something fluffier like traditional shavings? I'm thinking it would break down quicker in the garden. But no matter what, i'd not advise putting fresh chicken poo on live plants.
  9. cluckinthecity

    cluckinthecity In the Brooder

    Aug 20, 2011
    Portland Oregon
    It addition to Mark's excellent gardener advice, I will add....

    Dry peat needs to be handled carefully, as small dry particles become air born and are a breathing hazard. I use a fancy filtered mask when handling, and before moisture is added. I have always wondered if the peat I have inhaled in the past is still there in my lungs ? I mean.. how would it ever get out ?[​IMG]

    A mix of 50/50 sand and peat is a standard rooting medium. It's wonderfully light, but solid enough to hold it's shape and support the cutting. It stays moist enough that one can keep up with the watering. Without the watering it will dry out. Peat is used here specifically because of it's antibacterial properties.

    So that mix of 50/50 might just be a worthwhile experiment. Maybe the chickens scratching around would be more like a cat burying their poop ? The finished product would be a nice garden addition for clay soil. Remember... clay and only sand make cement.

    Current research on peat's antibacterial properties continues, but gardeners have been successfully using the theory for ages.

    All that said, the controversy continues as far as useing limited natural resources.,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=c2063a6c7af54619&biw=1024&bih=521

    Personally I limit my use to when nothing else will do.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2011

  10. haemony

    haemony Songster 7 Years

    Feb 21, 2011
    I wouldn't use straight peat moss for chickens. It's too fine and dusty. I'd be concerned it would get into their lungs. My chickens use my empty garden beds to dust bath and those are a mix of peat moss, sifted compost, and soil but the ratio of peat is minor and it is all thoroughly mixed and has been used as a growing medium for a season before they get into it. I once mixed a small amount of peat mixed with sand, DE, and dry sifted soil to make a dust bath for their run. I think the peat was unnecessary. I would just use dry sand. Fresh peat is super dusty.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by