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Ideas for winter litter

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by loverofbirds14, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. loverofbirds14

    loverofbirds14 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 3, 2013
    Wisconsin
    I have two chickens and have previously used pine shavings for litter, but this summer I tried sand. It worked great until it started to get cold and now my chickens tend to stay inside and the sand gets really gross and damp. My coop is pretty small and hard to get into to clean. I was wondering about using dry leaves, but had heard that maple leaves are not good for chickens. Should I try the leaves or just go back to pine shavings. Is there another kind of easy to clean litter that I have not heard of?
     
  2. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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    New Brunswick,Canada
    Here is a glance at my set up.

    I have been around the sun 63 times.

    It is not my first "Rodeo!"

    Heat???
    Nobody "I know" heats a chicken coop.
    Healthy "cold hearty" chickens die from heat not cold.
    I live in Canada last year was subject to -40º (C or F take your pick) no light or heat in coop NO PROBLEMS. You have to feed heavier during cold snaps with extra corn I find.
    Chickens have been raised on this continent for over a hundred years without heat.
    If you feel you must supply heat to your chickens I suggest keeping your chickens in the house that way you can huddle with your birds when the hydro goes out.

    Acclimatize
    Chickens will die from cold if not given the chance to acclimatize. Hydro is more apt to go out in an ice storm or blizzard when subject to below 0º temperatures in my opinion.

    How would you supply heat then to your un-acclimatized birds ???

    Diary of last winter cold snap check out the link:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/738994/chickens-arctic-conditions-prolonged-period

    Watering
    For along time I used heater tape around a bucket with chicken watering nipples. It worked excellent. However me being me I neglected to change the water as often as I should.

    Last year I switched to white rubber contains the wife found somewhere. The freeze solid every night but the ice just pops out of them in the morning and I replenish them with fresh warm water. They have black ones at the feed store that are similar but large than mine.

    The chickens congregate around them like people having their morning coffee. The only draw back is my yard is pepper with small ice bergs the size of the buckets.

    April looks after that however..

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    My Coop is a salvaged 4x8 metal shed here are a few tips and a quick look at my set up.
    My floor are planks with a layer of tin for rodent proofing. On top of the tin I have a piece of vinyl flooring cut one foot longer than the length and width of my coop (roughly). Six inches squares are cut out of the 4 corners of the vinyl flooring. This allows the friction fitted flooring to travel up the walls six inches around the perimeter of my 4x8 salvaged metal coop. Shovel out the heavy stuff into a wheel barrow. Pop out the vinyl flooring hose it off pop it back in.
    Easy Peasy!

    Bedding
    I have used all types of litter for coops.

    I have not tried sand (sand gets good reviews on this site).

    Of all the things I tried to date wood pellets have been the best. (I tried wood pellets as a last resort when pine shavings were not available.) They are super absorbent and swell up and eventually turn to saw dust. The droppings just seem to vanish and turn to dust when it comes in contact with wood pellets .

    Replace my litter and clean my coop every October after I harvest my garden.


    Works for me in my deep litter method.

    I do add to pellets from time to time.

    I have anywhere from 10 to 15 birds housed in my 4x8 coop.

    Through the winter months the pellets froze harder than concrete with -40º temperatures. The poop froze before it could be absorbed by the pellets and there was like a crusty layer of poop in certain areas where they collectively took aim (no smell, messy feet or flies @ -40º). Come April things started to look after themselves.

    POOP BOARDS are the "BEST" addition yet. Handles well over ½ of the poop in my set up keeps ammonia smell in check 3½" below roost excellent for catching eggs laid through the night (roost are in cups for easier removal and cleaning). I recently friction fit a piece of vinyl flooring over my poop board.it makes clean up even easier; Pop out; Scrap; Hose; Pop in.

    Nest boxes
    In my nest boxes I fold a feed bag to fit (nest boxes are 1 ft³). When a bag gets soiled; fold a new one; pop out the soiled; pop in the new.

    Easy peasy!.


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    I house an assortment of birds in this baby barn (¼ inch veneer plywood between birds and elements) no heat no light no problems.
     
  3. skippyscage

    skippyscage Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 25, 2012
    Wood Pellets --- the same things that are used to burn in pellet stoves?

    I'm just about to switch to deep litter in my run.
     
  4. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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    New Brunswick,Canada
    Exactly! That is what I used last year in my coop. This year however they are all sold out of wood pellets at present so I had to revert back to pine shavings (not as good in my opinion).
     
  5. skippyscage

    skippyscage Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 25, 2012
    interesting, I'll give that a go thanks
     
  6. skippyscage

    skippyscage Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 25, 2012
    Have you ever tried this method in bye run itself (if you use one)
     
  7. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    You won't find anything that works any better than pine shavings
     

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