Straw...pine bedding...deep litter!


11 Years
Apr 3, 2008
I'd like to hear from those of you in cold temps..we are in MN...

trying to decide which way to go..concrete floor in coop...we've used pine bedding since day we switch to straw?....stay with bedding?...should we use the deep litter method which I really dont understand how that do you clean the coop in the spring?? I need to clean it now..if we go with deep litter method do I just keep throwing bedding in there????

Help?!? Thanks!!

Oh, we have 28 buff orps...they are 6 months old today
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11 Years
Apr 15, 2008
Somerset, KY
I know I'm not from the colder areas but I do have family in Mn does that count? Seriously though,
I have read some folks reply to this type of question as cleaning the poo out and adding more shavings over the old...I am going to sprinkle some Sevin dust or DE on top of the old layer too before I through down the new layer. The benefit I see to doing the deep litter method is that my coop is up off the ground about a foot and the bottom is fenced with chicken wire so I can't stuff anything under it and wouldn't want to anyways for fear of rodents so this will keep the flooring warmer in the Winter for my babies. Kind of like isulating on the inside instead of underneath.

Good Luck, Cindy


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
If you can get GOOD, low-dust shavings, I'd argue they are probably the better bedding from a coop sanitation standpoint - more absorbent, less apt to grow mold (bad for lungs), easier to keep stirred and fluffed. OTOH straw composts a bit more readily after you've removed it all from the coop, and some people can get good clean (nonmoldy) straw a lot cheaper than shavings which can also figure into the decision.

Basically the deep litter method (there are several variations which can be rather different!) is, you start with a normal layer of bedding (in your case, on concrete, you'd want to start with more rather than less). If especially pooey spots develop, e.g. under the roost if you have no droppings board (btw I *highly* recommend a droppings board or pit), or if any areas get damp like from waterer spills or rain coming in the pophole, fork the nasty bits out when you think it's necessary. Other than that, as things start getting a bit pooey and/or compacted you simply add more bedding scattered over the surface. (It is good to stir/fluff the old bedding first, before adding new). This actually works pretty well to keep the bedding reasonably dry and clean. Remember you are not striving for 'eat your dinner off it' clean, you are striving for 'litter is not wet and caked and smelly' kind of clean.

Then at some point you either fork out the ENTIRE mass o' bedding with a shovel, pile it somewhere to compost, and start afresh with new bedding; or you do a larger 'nasty spot removal' that removes more bedding, add new stuff in, and continue on as before. Some people may NEED to do periodic total changes, others may not - depends on #chickens per amount of space, and a lot of other factors.

Hope this helps some,


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