I don't think I like this new bedding experiment

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kari_dawn, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, someone got on to me for using hay bales last year for insulation...I have a converted dog run, 10 x 10 chain link. The back half has a corugated metal roof (two pieces of corugated metal layed across some 2x2s). The back wall has corugated metal down it, and one side has a piece of fencing to create a corner and act as a wind block. Ghetto, I know, but it was thrown together in 12 hours to protect my last remaining girl after a predator attack (I stay at my parent's house, they work overseas, and dad wanted chickens, but no coop [​IMG] after this, I insisted).

    [​IMG]

    This is before the corugated metal back wall was added, but you get the idea. It has 1/2 inch hardware cloth fastened around the bottom, and paver stones to help deture predators. I am working on improvements, but for now, this is what I have.

    SO, there isn't really much of a "dry" area when it rains, except the back half. Well, someone told me that hay is bad, and that I should try shavings or straw. I tried shavings, but they broke down too quickly, and straw is much cheaper. Now I have had straw in my "coop" since right before halloween. It is already moldy, soggy, and it SMELLS. Now, how on earth something smells so awful in an essentially open cube is beyond me. The smell is wet straw and amonia. No other bedding I have tried is this awful. and to make things worse, the rats are moving in. In the last week, Sai has killed five. I moved stuff around today, and at least that many went running out from under the dog house I have in there for warmth/dry area for the girls. GROSS! I have never had rats in my coop before.

    What else can I use for bedding? I have to get ths junk OUT of my coop. If I go with sand, what can I expect? Do I use play sand? Wont it harden when it drys after a rain?
     
  2. extraordinaryfowl

    extraordinaryfowl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use pine shavings - if they stay dry, they can last me for up to 6 months. I prefer them because they keep the coop smelling nice.

    I have used yard clippings, hay and straw, but after a while they break down and become matted.

    Newspaper works pretty well, but it too breaks down and becomes matted after awhile.

    Good luck!
     
  3. remuda1

    remuda1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Since you basically have an outdoor coop, I don't see why you need to have bedding at all. I'd get rid of all of it and just rake it out a couple of times a week. Is this doable for you or am I missing something?
     
  4. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    well, the reason I even bothered with bedding is because last year, it got killer cold (for Texas), and I had a roo at the time who was sensitive to cold (silkie mix), so I put up a wind break, and had to search everywhere for bedding at the last minute, so I wanted to make sure I had bedding down this year incase it got super cold. So far, that hasn't happened, but it is still safer to be prepared.[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  5. remuda1

    remuda1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I see, that explains it [​IMG] . And you're right, we froze our patooties last winter. It was the thickest ice I'd ever had to break on my water troughs and I've lived here since 1969. So.... Here is my suggestion, I think it would be a quick and easy fix. If it were me, I would go buy the largest dog house I could easily afford, rig up a 2x4 roost in it, throw some bedding (whatever kind you'd like) and call it good. You might have to modify the door a little maybe to make it a bit smaller if you thought it was necessary but it would at least keep your bedding dry and provide some good shelter for your bird.

    ETA: It would be a snap to rake out the bedding and replace with new every couple of days
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  6. Katydid2011

    Katydid2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you're concerned that you will need insulation, could you buy a bale of hay and keep it on hand (I'm not sure what your dry storage options might be), then add it if you need it? Or, just put the bedding under the covered area and leave the rest bare. Hay is awful when it gets wet but you can make do with it if it stays dry and you clean it out frequently.
     
  7. BooBear

    BooBear Chicken Cuddler

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    What ever you put on the ground will get wet when it rains as the coop is not very water proof. I like the dog house idea as it would provide a nice dry zone for the chooks to roost in. I would not worry about the rest of the ground. Just rake the poop up and compost it.

    are you trying to keep your coop setup in one spot or using it as a portable setup? The nice thing about the kennels is that you can move it around the yard which would give the chooks new forage. Before we built our main coop we did just that. Have a huge hutch with wheels on one end that we set the 10ft x 10ft kennal around. Once a week we would break it down and move it to a new spot. The hutch was wrapped to keep water n wind out during the cold months and worked really well; however, the only thing I would of done different is use a hutch that was not such a bear to move as this hutch was built too solid n heavy.

    Here is the pic of the setup;
    [​IMG]
     
  8. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That would be WONDERFUL...if we didn't have over 100 oak trees on 3/4 of an acre [​IMG] We don't have ten square feet of open space in most of the places in the yard...and with my wired top (keeps hawks away, but no way to get it around trees), and half inch hardware cloth wrapped around the bottom, plus my makeshift roof, it would be very hard for me to break it down and move it by myself [​IMG] Obviously, I didn't think about that when my and my boyfriend at the time (he was so awesome...drove over an hour with me to help me load it and bring it back, and helped me set it up [​IMG]) constructed it.

    I do have a dog house in there, but the chickens don't like it unless it is sunny out. It is just sitting on the ground, so they feel vulnerable at night in it. Right now, the sun shines right into it durring the day, and it gets nice and toasty in there, so they all pile in and sunbath. They do have roosts that they use under cover at night, and they usually stay pretty dry in there.

    I do have two more bales of straw in the garage...I suppose if it does get cold, I can set up my wind break again, and use the bales to keep the tarp in place, but the problem is my girls LOVE to kick the straw around, so even though it all starts OUT in the dry area, within the hour, it covers the entire coop floor. It is even more fun when it is still baled! They absolutely adore pulling every little piece out of the baling wire!

    I suppose I can just compost all the straw in there currently, and just not replace it unless it gets cold...Im just worried that Texas tends to get cold snaps instead of chilling down gradually, and I don't get home till late at night....it would bite to have to get out there in the dark to insulate the coop [​IMG] Anybody tried dried leaves? We have tons of those...they seem like they would be dusty when dry, and soggy when wet though.
     
  9. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You could try a droppings pan or tray under the roost and clean it out every morning (dump it elsewhere, like into a composter). That takes care of at least half of the droppings in one nice easy package.
     
  10. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    The bedding isn't the problem, the problem is the lack of drainage and the way it gets so wet in the first place.
     

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