wet leaves in coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by igotchickens, Dec 31, 2010.

  1. igotchickens

    igotchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi all! I collected a bunch of leaves to put in the coop to keep my chickens warm and comfy, the only problem is some are slightly damp. I waited till 4 days after the rain to rake them up but the bottom layer of what I raked was kinda damp. My coop is 4x10x8' and is very open with ventilation. (plywood walls, framed off chicken wire door). Is it alright to put the leaves in there? If I was a chicken I'd rather have all dry crunchy leaves but not sure if the damp leaves will do harm to them or make them sick!! What do you all think? Thanks!
     
  2. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Personally, I strive to keep my coop dry. I put wet stuff on the compost pile in their pen.

    The dry leaves should be great fun for the birds in the coop. I would not risk mold from the wet ones.
     
  3. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    I've used wet leaves in the covered run, and they dry out quickly, usually by the next day. Then it rains sideways and they get wet again, dry out. Seems ongoing.

    Imp- wouldn't want permanantly wet leaves or any bedding in the coop.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    I don't know what kind of climate you're in? I'd be extra worried about coop dampness if your temperatures are getting down to freezing or below. Even if they're not, I would be real leery of intentionally putting damp stuff into the coop unless it is SUPER well ventilated (like a whole wall of wire, or the equivalent).

    I'd suggest stacking them somewhere under a tarp, then when you get a stretch of some consecutive sunny dry days forecast you can spread them in a thin layer (on driveway, on tarp, or on something else that won't re-dampen them from the bottom) and dry them back out real crispy before putting them into the coop. Not to say you can't *sometimes* get away with putting slightly damp bedding into the coop, but often it will cause real problems (mold, frostbite, etc) and so it is far safer to just not do it.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  5. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have dried leaves in one of my runs, and here's what I've found. As they chickens get to scratching in the leaves, they break the leaves up into tiny pieces that compact. Droppings aren't easy to pick out of leaves, either. I would not think those features would be ideal for a coop bedding material.

    The one good thing I find about putting leaves in the run is that the chickens are very entertained by them. They seem to have to scratch and turn over every leaf, just in case something tasty might be underneath.

    P.S. Oh, almost forgot! Welcome to the forum. By the way, I noticed you mentioned you use chicken wire on the door to your coop. I just wanted to make sure you understand the risks of using chicken wire, since it isn't predator resistant like hardware cloth (welded wire).
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2011
  6. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I would be most concerned about mold. I do not even water mine indoors. Their water pans are outside. My coop is dry in all seasons to the point of being dusty dry all year. Could be that if you spread it thin enough, it would safely dry in a day or so. I sometimes put damp grass in my coop for litter, but I spread it thin and it is in summertime. I use grass for litter and nesting. Smells good and is free of charge. I top litter around twice per winter with hay. I only need to clean my coop once a year. I am around 4 months from the annual cleaning and it still smells like grass clippings in there right now, today. I have yet to top it this winter, but am going to do it soon. Not smelly at all though, and I have 21 hens. [​IMG]
     
  7. igotchickens

    igotchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for everyone's responses! The leaves weren't soaking wet to the point of being soft, more dewy than anything. They dried out already and I'm ready to add more. I read about putting leaves in the coop. The chickens do break them into smaller pieces, I add more, and continue that way. Like a revolving deep litter method. I live in Poway, it gets into the 30s at night so far, it might get into the 20s later this winter. As far as the chicken wire door, don't worry about that! The coop is inside of a run with secure sides and a net roof to keep hawks out. Thanks again everyone!
     
  8. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I don't think leaves are going to provide the same kind of cushion for birds to nestle into on a cold night the way pine shavings would, if that's what you're aiming for.

    And, sorry, but your setup does not keep raccoons out of your coop. Raccoons are pretty much everywhere, even in urban environments, and are very dangerous predators of chickens. A raccoon can easily climb up the wall of your run, rip through the net roof, and pull apart the chicken wire to get into your coop (or at the very least, grab through the openings and pull pieces of your chickens out through the wire). If you reinforce or replace the chicken wire door with welded wire (hardware cloth), that will protect your chickens much more effectively.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011

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