Need some advice on what to do


In the Brooder
8 Years
Oct 18, 2011
My chicken was lonely after loosing 5 chicks to respititory infections a few weeks ago. I got her three girls two weeks ago and then I got a knock on the door last night and my husband surprised me with 5 , 3mth old chicks ( beautiful) anyway he also tells me to go buy a new coop in the morning from the guy we got our last coop from. The coop is 4x5 with 5 nesting boxes and a perch. Its about 4ft off the ground and our chickens run free in a large fenced area durning the day. We have massive tree coverage so they also run around in the yard too. Anyway for the last two nights the 5 new chickens are in the fenced chicken yard durning the day but we lock them in a pen in our shed at night. Tomorrow I am going to buy another coop and put them side by side in the yard.

Now here is what I need to know

I have been using hay for bedding and clean out the coop every few days because I am a clean freak. The hay isn't degrading into the ground. So what else can I use as bedding that will not harm my girls but degrade over time in the yard? Also do I need bigger coops or is two coops the same size good for 9 hens? I was thinking about buying a plastic dog house to put the feeders in to keep them dry but out of the that a good idea?
I'm not sure where your at, (it's always helpful to at least put your state up). I 'm not use what you mean by "bedding". What breeds you have would help or did I miss that? Even with large breeds I would think a total of 8x10 feet should be sufficient for 9 chickens. Pictures would also help.

I use hay in the nest boxes and wood chips on the floor of the coop. I use straw on the floor of the run. Wood shavings or chips would be better on the floor as they absorb moisture better and don't get moldy like hay does. I like to toss a handful of scratch in so the birds "work" the wood chips. I also like to use the wood chips after cleaning for mulching around the yard or in the garden.

I hope some of this helps,

So about the lack of info.... I live in the the Florida panhandle in a town called Milton. My coop has 5 nesting boxes and a perch. The floor is tight mesh. The walls are wood and the roof is ribbed plastic roofing material. I would post a pic if I could figure out how.... Anyway tomorrow I am going to buy another coop the same size and design. I might ask for a few teaks on the design if it's not to costly.

So what else besides hay can I use in the nesting boxes?
Can build or buy a dog house to put the feeders in to get them out of the coop to free up room and yet keep the food and water clean and dry? So if I did this I would end up with 3 different building in the chicken yard for them to go this to confusing for them?
You can use pine needles, dried grass, old towels, shredded paper in the nest boxes. I use straw and a few pine needles, and the girls like it just fine, apparently. You won't need all those nest boxes. Nine girls will probably only use 3 nor 4 boxes.
I don't think the chickens will have a hard time finding the food, after you show them once or twice. I am not sure how they will like going into a small enclosure to eat. Could you not just put in a short legged table, used like a canopy, to put the food and water under?
Straw and hay will degrade in time, on the ground. You may not be giving it enough time. Needs a bit of moisture to break down, too.

is how you post pics....

I use shavings...the 'wet stuff' freezes in the temps I have, I stir up the shavings daily...chickens will do this for you, if you throw scratch or BOSS on the floor for them to scrabble after...
It sounds like you can't use that due to the mesh flooring?

You can use shavings in the nest boxes, just fine, they enjoy rooting around and making a nice hole to nest in...its cheap and easy to come by...pine shavings mind you.

I have twice what you have in laying hens and they only use 2 boxes...usually I find 5 eggs in one box! So you won't need that many boxes, you can have them replaced with roosting area or an area for the feeder/waterers.
I use shredded paper in my nesting boxes (I have a cross cut shredder). It cleans out great (I clean mine out every other week) and seems to degrade quickly...we generally are pretty moist here in Central NY though, so that could be a factor too. It would degrade a lot faster than hay or straw, though.

Good luck! Congrats on the new coop!
Being that I am relatively new to the chicken keeping myself but have read alot in these forums and have come to trust what advice was given to me, I am using pine shavings in the coop. My run is totally enclosed and the back part, closest to the door on the coop is covered. This is where I have the feeder and waterer. I would think that putting an igloo dog house in your run would take up some valuable space in the run that your chickens would need. It would be fine provided that you have enough room for the igloo's and the chickens to run around.

I also use pine shavings in the nest boxes.It is alot easier to clean up and I can let it go for a couple days and it wont create a big stink.

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