Using litter in coop-do I or don't I?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Sophie442, Dec 29, 2016.

  1. Sophie442

    Sophie442 In the Brooder

    May 20, 2014
    I have looked on here about using cat litter in the coops, but I am not finding the answer I'm wanting. I am currently using pine shavings, but with 14 hens it is not working very well. It's getting covered in poo too fast and I am not able to effectively scoop it out to maintain it. I have read on here about deep litter methods but I am unsure as to do this. I am going to clean it out today and my hubby will pick up the litter but I am guessing I can't use just ANY KIND OF LITTER. What should I buy/not buy? Do you mix in shavings too? I find these get so bogged down with poo that it's just a mess. Thanks for your input!
  2. jennyf

    jennyf Songster

    Apr 24, 2016
    Cat litter is clay--I can't imagine it would do anything good sitting in a crop. Plus often there's scent and other chemicals added. Sweet PDZ would serve the same function and sounds like lots of folks use it for this purpose safely.
  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    If your going to switch to a scoopable litter type plan then just go with sand. No idea how big your coop is but if needed could use a truck and go to sand and gravel pit to get it. Small coop and maybe concrete or play sand from hardware/box store would be cheaper than basic non scented bulk kitty litter. I use pine shavings and like them. If wanting the chickens to mix in the poo I toss cracked corn in the coop. That and the shavings and poo when taken out is awesome for the gardens.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I don’t think there is any type of litter out there that will solve your problem. I think the solution will be a management issue. How big is your coop? What is the floor made of: dirt, wood, linoleum, concrete, or something else? How much outside room do they have? How much time do they spend outside the coop? Is the poop primarily just under the roosts or is it spread around more? Does your coop floor stay dry? The more information we have the more specific we can be with possible solutions.

    A typical problem is that the chickens poop a lot from the roosts and the poop really builds up under there but it’s not necessarily very bad anywhere else. It helps a lot too if they spend most of the daytime outside instead of in the coop. A typical solution is to use a “droppings board” to collect that poop so you can get it out of your coop so the bedding can last a lot longer. A droppings board isn’t always the solution but they often help.

    The term “droppings board” is pretty generic, it refers to any way you collect the poop. I use the top of my built-in brooder plus those plastic bins and just scrape the excess poop into the bins so I can carry them out to my compost. Others might use slide-out trays or use trays with something in them to help dry out the poop. One popular method that I don’t do is to use sand and scoop the poop out of that with some type of litter scoop.


    I use wood shavings on a dirt floor. I took the stuff off the coop floor and put it in my garden yesterday. I’m way out on the extreme on this forum but that’s the first time I cleaned my coop floor in three years. Some people clean annually or every six months. Others clean weekly. We are all over the place on this forum in this and many other things. With me collecting most of the nighttime poop and putting that in my compost, keeping my coop floor really dry, and the chickens spending almost all day every day outside I just don’t have to clean. Others that manage them differently do.
  5. Sophie442

    Sophie442 In the Brooder

    May 20, 2014
    We have a wooden floor. The main problem is it's winter and they're having to spend a lot of time in the coop. Normally they're out all day when it's warmer. The poop is mainly under the roost except now. I have always used shavings, but it's to the point that it needs completely cleaned out in a week. Not a major deal, but it's getting prettty messed up pretty quickly. I thought litter would be ok since I could scoop. Hubbby said he's build an area under the roost to hold sand/litter, but right now they're everywhere. And not to mention 3 of them keep laying their eggs under the roost! [​IMG]
  6. GrumpyAZ

    GrumpyAZ Hatching

    Dec 8, 2016
    Forgive me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like you are confusing CAT litter with the litter frequently mentioned in regards to chicken coops. It's not the same thing. Litter, in the coop-sense, is typically organic matter (leaves, straw, wood shavings) and in the case of "deep litter", several inches (or more) deep.

    As others have asked, how big is your coop and is the poop everywhere, or mostly under the roost(s)?
  7. Sophie442

    Sophie442 In the Brooder

    May 20, 2014
    I don't know the size, my husband isn't home to ask. It's probably 12x8. Yes, I was assuming the litter was cat, but I read to use straight clay litter.
    The poop in warmer months is under the roost, but now it's everywhere (still mainly roost area) because of it being winter.
  8. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe Chirping

    Jan 24, 2016
    Just use a pitch fork or rake (or throw some scratch in) and churn up the shavings that are in there. Then throw an inch or two more on top. Keep doing this every few weeks or so. This is my first year but I started that way back in February and did not clean the coop out until October. I had a nice load of material to spread over my garden. I don't use 1 form of "litter". Some days Ill throw in grass clippings after I mow the yard. Next time I might rake up a bag of leaves. Some times I thrown in a little straw. The dry material mixed with the manure will start to break down good.
  9. Sophie442

    Sophie442 In the Brooder

    May 20, 2014
    Ok! It seems pretty dry. I was concerned about all that poo, but I'll do what you said!
  10. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Songster

    Mar 17, 2015
    SW Ohio

    This is what I was thinking.

    We have a "poop board" under the roost filled with PDZ (sold at feed stores as Stall-Dry). It's a sand-like material that absorbs moisture and odor. We sift the poop out with a wire mesh paper tray every day or two and dispose of it on the compost pile. It has worked very well keeping most of the poop off the floor which is filled with pine shavings. We have 6 chickens in a 8' x 9' coop area. We do a complete clean-out twice a year.

    We use "deep litter" as described above in our covered run.

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