Several different types of bedding in coop?

Flock of Many Colors

In the Brooder
May 23, 2017
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So I watched this youtube video (I'll paste the link below) where a woman had multiple types of bedding in her coop. I believe she had everything from leaves, dirt, sticks, hay, etc. She said her bedding was 3 years old and had NO smell. She said she would come out and turn it every once in a while to get the poop on the surface to the bottom so that it could decompose.

I guess my question is does anyone else have experience with this? My 12 chickens are still in a grower run and coop right now. I am going to move them over to a 12'x12' coop and let them free range in a couple months. I am mostly wondering if I could use say, a couple bags of fine pine shavings that I have on hand, some compost, mulch, leaves (we have tons of oak trees around the house), and dirt...mix it all together with a pitchfork, and do the deep bedding method. Will the leaves need to be mulched?
So many questions! I may just experiment with it and update this thread every so often.

Here is the video. You may have to copy and paste it into your browser.


Thanks!
 

SunHwaKwon

Crowing
Jul 19, 2015
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Yup, there are whole threads on it, with two variations being deep litter (which composts) and deep bedding (stays dry and does not compost). I do one in one coop, the other in the other coop.
 

SunHwaKwon

Crowing
Jul 19, 2015
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Regarding the leaves, I don't mulch them per se, but they do get run over by the lawn mower first. Then I let it sit for a couple days before sweeping the yard with the lawn sweeper that pulls behind the mower and I dump everything in the coops and/or run as needed. When I do a full or partial change I just dump it all in the run and it further composts there. I don't have a garden so I don't actually need compost but if I ever changed my mind I certainly have great soil to start with after two years of this.
 

SunHwaKwon

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As in what do I use? When I built my bigger coop (8x10) last summer I made sure to make the pop door higher up than my other one. It is 8" from the floor of the coop. I put a tarp in there and ran it up the walls 8" and attached it. I put down 3 or 4 bales of pine shavings from Tractor Supply. Since then I have added the fall leaves and pine needles, grass clippings, weeds (but not the long woody ones as they make it harder to turn over), some pine cones, and a shovel or two of dirt... basically whatever gets swept up. In addition to coop cleanout material, I do the same lawn sweepings plus occasional bales of hay in the run.
 

FlyWheel

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Mar 19, 2016
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My Coop
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Regarding the leaves, I don't mulch them per se, but they do get run over by the lawn mower first. Then I let it sit for a couple days before sweeping the yard with the lawn sweeper that pulls behind the mower and I dump everything in the coops and/or run as needed. When I do a full or partial change I just dump it all in the run and it further composts there. I don't have a garden so I don't actually need compost but if I ever changed my mind I certainly have great soil to start with after two years of this.
That's what I did with my run. In fact my entire run IS all leaves; the only flat area in the lower 40 is where the new coop sits now. The run is entirely made of oak leaves I've vac'ed up over the years, piled up then leveled out. Most of it has been composted and packed down now, but every year I let that year's pile sit for a few months to let the bugs get interested then carry it into the run and let the chicken's spread it around.

Because of the dogs I can't let them free range so I figure this at least is a compromise.
 

SunHwaKwon

Crowing
Jul 19, 2015
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North Central Florida
That's what I did with my run. In fact my entire run IS all leaves; the only flat area in the lower 40 is where the new coop sits now. The run is entirely made of oak leaves I've vac'ed up over the years, piled up then leveled out. Most of it has been composted and packed down now, but every year I let that year's pile sit for a few months to let the bugs get interested then carry it into the run and let the chicken's spread it around.

Because of the dogs I can't let them free range so I figure this at least is a compromise.

Foxes are my problem so I can't let them free range unless I'm home to keep an eye out. The litter in the coops and run give them sometime to peck through and entertain themselves with, along with all the different roost ladders and perches and such that I have made for them. When I first started back to work in November I felt like such a mean mama, though, since they were used to being out all day :(
 

Flock of Many Colors

In the Brooder
May 23, 2017
13
11
34
Ok well at least now I know I can put the huge amount of leaves we get in the fall to use! That'll be great. If I put a tarp down in the shed that we are converting to a coop, will I be able to do deep bedding method? Will all the materials compost themselves with the tarp on the bottom? It sounds like a good idea and will help make the wood floor in there last, but I'm just concerned the composting of materials may be hindered by the tarp...but I am not experienced in that department so I have no clue.
 

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