Manure pit and bedding

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by dedwards, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. dedwards

    dedwards New Egg

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    Mar 13, 2009
    Hi, I'm about to get my first chickens. We'll have 4 total. We remodeled an existing aviary/coop and have been trying to figure out the best way to utilize it. The aviary part is all wire and wood- very predator secure. We also have a covered outside area that ajoins a fenced in yard. The floor of the aviary/turned hen house is half wood, where the next boxes are and half wire, under the roosts. The idea is to put a tray below the roosts to collect manure since I've heard that's where most of it is produced. I was planning to use shavings in the tray but will they break down in our compost? Is straw better? I hear a lot about bedding. I live in California so I hope the hens will be outside all day and only use the house to roost at night. Do I need bedding? I was planning to keep the wood as it is. If indeed they do only use the house at night, do I just need to put water inside, or should I put a feeder as well. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    If you put the feeder and waterer outside, they will spend more time outside and you will have less poop inside. Remember to cover the feeder so it does not get wet. Also, if you can put your nesting boxes outside, they will spend even less time inside. You may not have that option.

    Both shavings and straw will compost, but I'll let someone with more experience with those answer those questions.
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    half wire, under the roosts. The idea is to put a tray below the roosts to collect manure since I've heard that's where most of it is produced.

    Personally I'd just put down a piece of vinyl-flooring-covered plywood on the wire and clean it every morning (takes literally 10-15 seconds with a dustpan and bucket); but your plan will work too, realizing that some poo will need to be scrubbed down thru the wire on account of landing on it the wrong way.

    I was planning to use shavings in the tray but will they break down in our compost? Is straw better?

    You will only be using a tiny amount, I assume, in which case it really does not matter materially. I'd go with whatever's cheapest locally.

    I hear a lot about bedding. I live in California so I hope the hens will be outside all day and only use the house to roost at night. Do I need bedding?

    If you don't have some bedding on the wood floor, they will poo on the wood floor and stomp it in and it will be a giant nuisance to try to remove. Even just an inch or two of bedding makes that SO much easier.

    I was planning to keep the wood as it is. If indeed they do only use the house at night, do I just need to put water inside, or should I put a feeder as well.

    If they will be able to leave the house pretty much as soon as they wake up when it gets light in the morning, feeder outside is fine (although you may have issues with rodents or wild birds getting into it). If you would lock them into the house at night and might not get out there til midmorning, personally I'd leave them at least *some* indoor food.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     

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