Is regular mulch ok for chickens?


11 Years
May 23, 2008
Jonesborough, TN
I already use pine shavings in my coop, but my chickens love to dig in our landscaping mulch when I let them out in the yard. We're thinking of expanding the run and I'm wondering if it would be ok to put some landscaping mulch in there for them to play with.
you never know what they put in the mulch. I suppose if it hasn't harmed them yet, then perhaps they'll be OK.
I would think about another form of litter or ground cover....
There is a high rate of chemicals in some mulches...preservatives, oils etc.

If you have your own chipper-vac and make your own mulch from fallen Pines I guess it would be you would know its all natural without any additives that could harm your flock.
Some mulch is labeled playground safe, any non-cedar playground safe mulches probably would be fine for a chicken run.
my chickens love mulch! they free range and i always find them making holes in it to lay in. they get lazy around noon and take naps under the perenials! mine havent had problems with the regular old stuff delivered from the greenhouse.
I have mulch all over the run and yard(where they MOST of the day) and haven't noticed any problems with them at all!
What a great idea. My parent's friend owns a tree cutting service and they have huge amounts of hardwood mulch for free. It is kinda chunky and dries out fast...hrm must think about this.

Thanks for the idea.
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If you tell me what brand you're using I might be able to help. It's true that some mulches are made from recycled wood but usually only "clean" wood. Keep in mind that most companies manufacturing mulch know that kids & pets are/might be playing in it and they don't want the liability of using something toxic.....
Mulch in the run will hold water (think 'sponge') and between the dampness and the poo can get purty stinky, plus it will gradually compost down into, technically speaking, mud

It is ok as long as the mulch is untreated-undyed and you don't mind raking it out and replacing it totally on a somewhat regular basis... but it would not be my choice for run footing.

Good luck and have fun,


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