Type and depth of litter for enclosed run


In the Brooder
Jul 17, 2016
Hello everyone,

We just received 5 started pullets for our backyard flock. So far, everything is going well, but I am wondering if i have too much litter in the run. The run has a dirt floor, it is 8'x8', and I covered it with the same pine shavings that i have in the coop. Probably about 1" worth in the run. I see the chickens scratching quite a bit to get down to the dirt, so i'm wondering about two things:

1) Do I have too much litter? Or should only part of the run have shavings in it, and part of the run just bare dirt? Or should it be more of a scattering of litter than a covering?

2) Are pine shavings appropriate for run litter? How often should i plan on replacing the run litter completely?

I'm trying to keep things as clean an odor free as possible, while not spending more than 30 minutes per day in/around the coop and run maintaining. Thank you in advance for any advice you all might have.

Welcome to BYC!

Should be fine for a start, definitely not too much....the wood will help decompose the poops. They are going to dig down for dust baths, that's a good thing.

Eventually you'll need more dry plant matter to keep odors down......
... a mix of size, shapes, and types of materials is best.
A good balance of materials and you'll never have to replace it.
Controlling any water runoff from nearby area can really help with odors too.

What is your climate?
Putting your location in your profile can help folks give better answers/suggestions.

Here's a great description of contents and how to manage organic 'bedding' in a run or coop...and there's a great video of what it looks like.
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Thank you, that is great information! I live in New Hampshire, the southern half of the state.

I have tons of pine needles around, so I will just start mixing those in, along with grass clippings from the lawn mower and also the wood chips from the trees we took down to make space for the coop. The run isn't covered at the moment (except for hardware netting), but I'm thinking it's probably a good idea. I don't think it gets too muddy back there because there is a fair amount of tree cover above and it gets lots of sun from the front. Anyways, thanks so much for the suggestions, I'm happy to see I have the materials for the run all around me!
Pine shavings is a good start, just add materials as they become available. Our covered run has anywhere from 4-6" of litter. We clean out (down to the dirt) in the spring, through out the summer and fall we add grass clippings, hay, straw, pine needles and leaves. During the winter we put a bale of hay or alfalfa in there for them to peck at and play on. That gets scattered through-out the winter. In the spring all that beautiful compost gets raked out and tilled into the garden.

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