Setting up coop for cornish roasters

Mar 31, 2018
I'm new to chickens and my cornish roasters are very ready to get outside. I've already got the coop built, but i'm not sure what to fill it with (aside from the dirt it's setting on). There seems to be quite the division between straw vs pine shavings/chips vs hay..and since they're only going to be around for a couple more weeks, what's the best way to set it up and make sure they're happy? (I'm getting overwhelmed with all the available info :p) I have the space to be free-range too, but still need to get their water and supplementary feed set up too. Also, what's the best way to keep it clean? These guys really put out some poo.. I'm not sure if it's set up right to do the deep litter method i've read about and i don't want to accidentally hurt them.
Personally I use pine shavings. CCXs poop so much and it’s so stinky that I add a thin layer of fresh shavings every day just so they aren’t sitting around in their own poo. At the end of six weeks, they are ready to process and then I shovel out the whole bedding mess and compost it.
I have used several things as litter over the last few years. the key is that it be pretty dry. my favorite is partially composted wood chips, small enough for them to scratch and peck down and have a good time. if they find interest, they will bury their own droppings to some extent. my choice of litter has to do with how well it composts and turns into usable soil amendment for the garden. pine shavings are kind of expensive and take forever to break down and aren't that absorbent. hay mats down too much. I like something more like the consistency of say pellet feed. I take a small shovel or put gloves on and peel off the poop layer and only remove that and add it to the compost. it gets difficult to manage in the last weeks given the river of poop but it's doable and makes some of the best fertilizer money can buy. also, to control the loose stools, try and reduce the protein by adding some layer formula, if needed. using a nipple waterer is also key to keeping them from having loose stools as it keep the water much, much cleaner. for meat birds in particular, I don't recommend using a heat lamp in the early weeks as they end up not sleeping well, leading to leg problems. a heat plate or MHP has essentially eliminated leg problems as an issue in my birds.
Be flexible and try it. See how things interact in your area and adapt as necessary. These is no right way.

I started with shavings and paper towels over cardboard last year for my layers, then tried hay. I agree with both proponents and opponents. It really is a personal choice.

I'm using a tractor for CX this year and moving them over the yard. Their huddle box has partially composted wood chips that go straight to the garden after a couple days as top dressing and fertilizer boost. Think lots of chips. Changing them often to stay on top.

The water dispenser may limit your choice also. Chickens are messy. Once they get big enough, they tip over the water. The nipples are preventing this. My first go with vertical nipple waterer.
I plan on using a dust free chopped straw. Also adding something called "Stall Dry". Not sure if you guys have that in America. Adding a little each day will keep the chicks dry and clean. The "smell" is more related to liquid poop which is caused by too much protein when they are adults. I will have mine on a 20% feed for the first 2 or 3 weeks and then 17% until 10 weeks. This will keep their poop firmer and less stinky.
Thanks for all the help! I guess i'll go turn their light off tomorrow. I went with pine shavings since that's what was readily available. I'll look into other options for litter when i get my egg layers out and into their coop

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