Is Cat litter safe to use in the hen house?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mom of 5, Jan 31, 2008.

  1. mom of 5

    mom of 5 New Egg

    2
    0
    7
    Jan 31, 2008
    I have been raising chickens for almost a year, and have used hay or wood shavings on the floor of my hen house, but I was wondering if it was safe to use cat litter instead, the traditional, non-clumping kind? I would like for the coop to smell fresher. Any suggestions?
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2008
  2. McGoo

    McGoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    I believe it's mostly clay and isn't good for composting... so that's why I don't use it in my 'under the roost' bin. Not sure about the dust issue.

    Perhaps there is another reason that you have an odor in the coop. I have wood shavings and no real odor. I turn over the shavings every other day and at the same time I clean out from under the roost. I've got 6" of deep litter and corn cob pellets in a bin under the roost. Honestly, unless there's a very recent poop, there isn't an odor. Hmmm, what about ventilation in your coop? Maybe a sick bird?
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    101
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I'd try sprinkling SweetPDZ or Stall-Dri (ask at feed store - used in horse barns.

    But as McGoo says, it would be better to figure out the cause of the smell and fix it - sounds to me like too little ventilation and/or too high humidity.

    Oh, anfd if you make a droppings board and put it under the rooost and clean it every morning, that will also help a lot.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  4. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    11,973
    13
    313
    Oct 13, 2007
    California
    I'd worry the chickens would eat it.

    DE also works to dry it out a little - what type of flooring do you have?

    I have a dirt floor and don't have a problem with smell - could be your flooring is keeping the bottom wet.
     
  5. ksacres

    ksacres At Your Service

    4,230
    11
    231
    Nov 16, 2007
    San Antonio TX
    Only if your cat litter is pure clay. Any additives, like air freshners, or the good "clumping" type litters would be a no-no. That stuff is toxic, and as much as chickens love to dig, scratch, and peck, better to be safe than sorry.
     
  6. bigzio

    bigzio Overrun With Chickens

    4,649
    134
    291
    Jan 20, 2007
    Wisconsin
    That would be doom to the birds that eat it. It is way more expensive than pine shavings or straw, and not a good for the birds crops at all.
    Deeper bed of pine shavings and changing when needed is the key to a fresh smelling coop. If the bedding looks a mess, than it prolly is. Welcome to BYC.

    bigzio
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2008
  7. mom of 5

    mom of 5 New Egg

    2
    0
    7
    Jan 31, 2008
    Thanks for all the help. I will not be using cat litter in my coop. I think I'll try the Sweet PDZ.
    My chickens are free range during the day, but I lock them up at night to keep them safe from predators. Their house is an old shed my husband converted to a hen house for me. It's probably 10' x 12', with a wooden floor,and we took the door off so they go out in their 10' x 10' run with dirt floor. It's completely fenced with chicken wire. It is very humid where I live, and sometimes I don't get to let them out till 9:00 a.m. So when I get there, the poop is very fresh! But I try to scoop it out every day, and every few months I take out all the bedding and replace it. Any more suggestions?
     
  8. Churkenduse

    Churkenduse Chillin' With My Peeps

    775
    8
    151
    Jan 1, 2008
    patandchicken wrotw:I'd try sprinkling SweetPDZ or Stall-Dri (ask at feed store - used in horse barns.

    I bought this stuff in Agway last summer and it works great I even use it in my cat box and it helps. Just sprinkle it around inside the coop and it helps with the smell. If they consume it, it is OK.
    It is also safe for the compost pile.

    20 pounds is about $10.00 where I am NJ I still have the same bag a little goes a long way.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. RockinCircleC

    RockinCircleC Out Of The Brooder

    36
    0
    22
    Feb 6, 2008
    Enumclaw, WA
    Another option is fluffed up wood pellets. Works almost like cat litter and is safe. Most feed stores (at least in this area) carry 40 pound bags of pelleted bedding. Wood stove pellets work just the same; they just have a different bag. Fluff the bag by dumping it in a wheelbarrow and adding water. We use this with the horses as stall bedding.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    It composts WONDERFULLY, too.
    [​IMG]

    Oh, and you might try putting down some sort of rubber matting over the wood floor to keep the wood floor from absorbing the smell. The mat can be removed and hosed from time to time. Plus, you might be able to get free old conveyer belting to use for your rubber mat:
    http://www.horsesforcleanwater.com/thegreenhorse/06_2006.html#article5
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2008

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by