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Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by wvchickenhouse, Nov 2, 2011.
How often should I change the hay out?
you should look into the deep litter method...it is super easy. I use straw in my coop for the winter. In Texas, we get blazing summers, so my coop is very very well ventilated. I leave the straw down, and as my hens break it down by sratching through it, honestly, I just add more. Deep litter method will allow you to clean once or twice a year. It seems to work well, but lots of people prefer pine shavings for this method.
Sure it is ok. But hay gets soggy, moldy and gross.
But may I suggest you look in to the 'deep litter method'? It uses shavings and you only have to clean the coop out twice a year. Seriously.
It depends on a couple on things. Like how wet it will get, and how dirty it becomes. Hay is not a good option normally. It tends to mold very quickly, and mold can kill chickens fairly fast. Straw is a better option, and so are wood shavings. I use straw in my coop, and sand in the run. I live in Western Washington, and deal with a lot of rain. But we have covered a good portion of our run, and the entry to the coop, so the straw stays dry. I try clean about every 2 weeks or so, because of the poo build up. But each coop is different and it will be a learn as you go to know how often you will need to clean your coop. But I would still not recommend hay for the coop, just because of the mold problems. Some would be fine because the chickens will eat some of it. Just not all of for bedding.
I also use Stall Dry, and DE in the coop to keep things dry and less smelly. The deep litter method is a very good idea. It works well for most people.
Chickens were on hay for centuries, I reckon. Sure, it'll work. I just think wood shavings and yellow straw are much better.
I like the pine shavings so far, but just got some straw too. I put straw in a few next boxes and shavings in the rest. I find mine have different preferences when laying.....and it's my first year so I'm finding out what works best for mine.
"Sure it is ok. But hay gets soggy, moldy and gross"
Why do you think that hay gets soggy, moldy and gross. When it is baled for feed for cattle/horses its dry, just like straw. Sraw does absorb liquid better but that also gets soggy and gross. I use hay and straw. They both seem to work fine if you keep them clean. My chickens aren't wet inside their coop and outside their on grass with a portable electric net.
Quote:Hay on the floor of a coop gets pooped on constantly, water gets spilled.... Mess happens. Moisture happens. Plus hay gets compacted down with little feet. Without the constant replacing/raking/maintanence the hay will get sogggy, moldy and gross. If you replace the hay and clean out your coop on a daily basis it will stay lovely. I, for one, am a busy mom and refuse to have a high maintenance coop, thus my use of the DLM.
When hay is baled for livestock it is kept in a dry area. We would never allow our bales of hay (for our feed) to get the moisture of poop that a chicken coop floor has to endure.
Hay may work great for some coops, but for ours it would not. Any moisture will freeze solid for 5+ months of the year. Not a great environment for any animal.