The scoop on pine shavings

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by SusanD, Oct 6, 2015.

  1. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps


    As you may know from my earlier postings, my Dad and I are working to get our run flooring right. We originally had bark mulch. At my prompting (I was concerned after being told that mulch can be hard on their feet), my Dad replaced half of our run with pine chips. I decided that I don't care for them that well (hard to maintain, and I'm afraid that they might be even harder on the chickens feet than bark mulch would have been?). I'm considering changing to pine shavings, but am unsure. I am concerned that we need to settle on something soon, as we are running out of time before our rainy season begins in earnest.

    For those who of you that have used pine shavings, I would love to hear about your experience (especially if you had a bad one - I want to make sure that I aware of all of the issues).

    I would also like to hear about the maintenance involved in making this option work (is it enough to put fresh material on top of the old, or do you need to rake the old stuff out? Does it need to be changed out after a rain to prevent mold? Can pine chips be used as an undercoat, or is there something else that might work better? My mom was thinking that maybe we should just put shavings over the chips).

    Also, I had a question about pine chips. I read a posting from someone that said they had to remove the chips as they were causing their chickens to develop feet infections. Besides bumblefoot, can these chips cause other types of infections (fungal, if they get moldy?). If so, is putting fresh material down (deep litter?) periodically enough to prevent this?


  2. barneveldrerman

    barneveldrerman Chillin' With My Peeps

    I use pine shavings and like it so far. Since you are in a very rainy climate I don't know how well it will stay dry. Every day I will clean some poop out but would not need to be changes until it gets too dirty or wet. Some people say that you can dry pine shavings in the sun and reuse them.

    Pine chips can give foot infections so doing a deep litter method would help. It might also be good with the rainy climate you are in. It should help soak up the wetness. Putting pine shavings over the wood chips (like your mom suggested) may help reduce foot issues and give a better foundation. The chickens might dig through the pine shavings often.

    Hope this helped!
  3. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2014
    Out in my covered run I used a 6-8 inch base of wood chips. On top of that I used 2 bags of shavings, 2 wheelbarrowfulls of dried leaves, and a big bag of chopped straw. I ended up with material about a foot deep. The chips make a great base and the finer stuff makes a lovely cushion on top. Sometimes the chips start to show through but by then I've got some more leaves or dried grass to add. I've been doing it this way since spring and I've had no foot problems. I think you could just dump some shavings right on top and you'd be fine. If it's autumn where you are and you have access to dried leaves then toss them in too.
  4. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2015
    SW Ohio
    Since you live in a rainy climate, covering your run may be your best option. Our run is covered. We use grass clippings, straw, leaves and used pine shavings from the coop. That makes for a nice, dry, odor free run.
  5. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks all for the advice. I believe I will do a test run on the shavings (I want to make sure they don't start seriously eating them). Assuming they pass the test, I will give them a try.

    I do think that it would be a good idea to cover part of our run (especially the part where the coop is - as I don't want to have to go into panic mode every time we have a storm - Trying to guess if they are or are not getting rained on at night), but I'm not quite sure how to make that happen without asking my Dad to completly redo it. If we were to raise and extend the roof on the lean to (so that a person could comfortably walk underneath it, and to slant it so it would drain towards the street, does that sound workable?

  6. Chewbagawk

    Chewbagawk Out Of The Brooder

    I have no experience with a mulch/shavings floor for the run, but I've found much success with sand. It drains well and it's easy to clean.
  7. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sand is beginning to sound better and better to me. That may be where we are headed, especially if this doesn't work out well [​IMG]

  8. Cacique500

    Cacique500 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 2, 2013
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Sand is ok if it's kept dry...wet poopy sand is not fun to deal with and very hard to clean.
  9. zoey2015

    zoey2015 Out Of The Brooder

    May 8, 2015
    I have enclosed hen house and use pine shaving and love it. I use a rake and stir it around. I have no smell and stays dry. My choop is 8x8 and put 2 lawn and leaf bag full in. Add as needed when i rake it my hens cant waite to play. Plus good insulation for winter I here. Plus is free if you have a lumber yard near by. I plan on adding another bag or 2 when temp drops.
  10. Chewbagawk

    Chewbagawk Out Of The Brooder

    Really? Hmph, for my chicken fun the sand dries all of the droppings out almost instantaneously. Maybe it's drier over here? I've loved it so far, but maybe that's because only half of my run is sand (the other half is dirt).

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