Preparing for Winter question ...


In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 6, 2013
I live in Grand Rapids, MI & we have 2 chickens ... was wondering what everybody would recommend using on the floor of our coop for winter time ... we got them in March of this year so this will be our first winter having them outside ... up til now we have used play sand on the floor of the coop. Any/All help is appreciated :)
I have no idea what your coop looks like or if you have something unique about it, but I’d say go with what works now. Same as other times of the year you want your coop to stay dry. You don’t want the bedding to spill out of the coop or get into waterers, feeders or maybe nests. You need to be able to manage the poop. I just can’t imagine a scenario where what you have now won’t work in the winter if it works now.
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My coop has a dirt floor so we just put straw hay down in the winter. I believe keeping them dry and out of wind would help the most... but I live in oklahoma and may not have the winters like others.[
I have used all types of litter for coops.

I have not tried sand (sand gets good reviews on this site).

Of all the things I tried to date wood pellets have been the best. (I tried wood pellets as a last resort when pine shavings were not available.) They are super absorbent and swell up and eventually turn to saw dust. The droppings just seem to vanish and turn to dust when it comes in contact with wood pellets .

Replace my litter and clean my coop every October after I harvest my garden.

Works for me in my deep litter method.

I do add to pellets from time to time.

I have 63 trips around the sun so it is not my first rodeo.

I have anywhere from 10 to 15 birds housed in my 4x8 coop.

Through the winter months it froze harder than concrete with -40º temperatures. The poop froze before it could be absorbed by the pellets and there was like a crusty layer of poop in certain areas where they collectively took aim (no smell, messy feet or flies @ -40º). Come April things started to look after themselves.

Oh I might add I do have poop boards 3½" below my roost that I clean every 2 to 3 days (excellent for catching eggs laid through the night).

In my nest boxes I fold a feed bag to fit (nest boxes are 1 ft³). When a bag gets soiled; fold a new one; pop out the soiled; pop in the new.

Easy peasy!.

Chicken coop is salvaged 4x8 metal shed.

I would say pine shavings or hay.
Straw would keep them warm, but mites can live in the hallow stems of the straw.
Good luck!
We've used pine pellets (packaged for horse bedding and purchased at our local feed store) in our brooders. But we haven't had luck with them in the coop. Maybe it's just the design of the coop, but they rolled or were kicked out of the chicken door too easily. Our coop is a little raised with a ramp down into the run.

Perhaps if we added a little lip there... We have liked them in the brooder for the reasons you mentioned...

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