I Need Help with supplies!


In the Brooder
6 Years

I am almost done building my coop. I should be putting my babies out there this weekend. I have an Easter Egger and a Buff Orpington. I have a few questions that I was hoping you all could help me answer.

I was figuring on putting a food container in the coop and one in the run. Water container in the coop and one in the run. I was planning on filling the floor of the coop with about 4 inches of shavings. I have a linoleum floor. I was going to put a lot of shavings into the nesting box, too. I have a roosting bar up.

Here are the questions that I have:

1. How often do I clean the coop?
2. How do I separate the poop from the shavings so I can use it for my garden?
3. Should I use diatomaceous earth in the coop? Is it harmful? I heard it keeps flies away.
4. Should I be giving my chickens grit or oyster shells?
5. Should my chickens have any kind of medication?
6. Should I provide a bin of sand in their run, so they can take sand baths?

Thank you, in advance, for helping me out. I LOVE this site! Everyone is so helpful and nice! I just want to make sure I am doing everything I can to keep my chickens healthy, clean, and safe!



Heavenly Grains for Hens
9 Years
Jun 8, 2010
Pacific NW- where the Douglas Firs grow
I use sand in the floor of the coop and use a kitty litter scoop to get the poo out. I like that better than shavings. You have to just toss the shavings- no way to separate poo from shavings. I do use shavings in the nest boxes.

I clean my coops every day or every other day, depending on whether it needs it or not. I rake the sand and then scoop the solids out.

Use only food-grade DE. It is harmful to breathe. You can mix it with your sand for a dustbath. I had spread it all over the shavings in the coop and they got mites anyway (years ago). If you keep the poo scooped the flies won't be as bad.

Grit is needed if not free ranging.
Oyster shells are needed when laying. If you put a bowl of them out they will eat them as needed. If you get soft shells you might need to mix a few into the feed (that is what I do).

Medications aren't needed unless they are ill.

Enjoy your chickens!
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Heavenly Grains for Hens
9 Years
Jun 8, 2010
Pacific NW- where the Douglas Firs grow
Thank you for sharing this great information! I like the sand idea in the coop! Would I just use regular sand that I can buy at Home Depot...like beach sand?

I buy the play sand instead of the mason sand, since it is washed and dry. I think it is supposed to be less dusty (you don't want to breathe in silica dust). Even so, I would wear a mask if you are sifting through it.

For my two shed coops I use about one bag of play sand a month for each coop.
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11 Years
Jun 7, 2011
Taylors, SC
I use the deep litter method with pine shavings in the coop. Turn it from time to time, replace a couple of times a year. I clean any odd messes in the coop about once a week.

I compost the shavings and poop, and toss it in the garden in the right season.

I keep food in the coop to protect it from the weather and passing songbirds. I keep water in the run to avoid the mess from any spills. I doubt that the chickens eat or drink at night, they are so inactive.

I add diatomaceous earth (DE) to the food. That way, any benefit from ingestion is realized, the DE is already in the poop to help control flies. Using DE is the same as any other dust, breathing a lot of it is bad so use a mask or keep upwind.

If the chickens have access to the soil, they likely won't need supplemental grit. They will get what they need from the soil. Oyster shell is used if the food the layers are getting doesn't have sufficient calcium in it. It won't spoil, so if you buy some, it will keep forever.

I haven't medicated my chickens, so I cannot address that.

The chickens will dig a dust bath in the soil in the run, if there is sufficient space and the soil dries out enough. I like sand in the run to facilitate this very thing. I use river sand from the landscaping supplier. It is larger grains than most sand, and is cheaper by the yard. Mine forage most all day every day, so have dug dust baths all over the place.

Come back, if you have other questions.


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