Where to put wood shavings

eggsited chickens

10 Years
May 15, 2009
SW Michigan
I'm wondering if it would be smart to put old wood shavings in the run. The run was grass at one time, but now is a muddy mess. we've had rain here for the last week, except yesterday. Would the wood shavings help control that a bit, or would this be a stupid idea?
I rake shavings out of the coop and into the run, because I am lazy.

The good thing is that it gives the chickens a chance to take a second try at any spilled feed. It does help eliminate mud puddles. I wouldn't let it build up too much. Something about the breakdown of the wood makes it really, really smelly.
Lots of people talk about putting wood shavings in their runs. But I think it would have to be pretty deep (the shavings). I recall reading someone's post about it stinking when it got really wet. I don't know whether they just had a little in there, and it got mixed with the mud, or a lot.
If you normally get a lot of rain, it seems deep sand is the bedding of choice for runs...at least based on posts I've read. But I'd rather have wood shavings than mud!!
I think the best thing to do to help control your muddy mess would be sand. If you can put 4-6" of sand in your run, it would make a huge difference. Don't get expensive play sand in sacks from Lowes go with construction sand from a concrete yard. Where I live, a cubic yard of sand costs about $40. That's 2600 lbs of sand. If you have trouble with transportation, think about calling a landscape person, which is what I did. He charged me $50 to get the sand, deliver it and shovel it into my space. Pretty good deal!
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Yup, check out my Muddy Run page (link previous post, or in .sig below) because it goes into this issue in a lot more depth. In the long run you would be better putting in something inorganic such as sand or gravel (if you do it now, with active mud, you may find the sand or gravel disappearing disturbingly quickly however); BUT there are also a number of other things you can do to attack the problem as well. A multi-pronged approach usually works best.

Good luck, have fun,

If you are talking about fine wood shavings, like pine shavings, that you use in your coop, then I would say no. Most people have not had good experiences with that in their run. Now if you are talking about wood chip--the coarse material that is created when tree branches go through a chipper, that is a different story. I use that completely for the bottom of my run, a good thick layer, and am very happy with it. My hens never have muddy feet, and it rains a LOT here. You could also try bark mulch, but that you would have to pay for. Try an area of your run, and see what you think, if you have a large run.
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Shavings will eventually cause problems. Go get a load of sand. If you are near a quarry they'll sometimes even deliver a whole dump truck load for pretty cheap. We got loads for $25-$50 for our horse arena every year until the soil was loosened up.
For now, we use pine shavings. My little gals are 8 weeks old. I tried to switch to straw, but then I was afraid they were eating it!! So, back to pine shavings for now. I put them in a bucket and haul them to a pile in the back pasture. Every two or three days, we burn them.
I have a feeling that it would eventually start to really stink. Some of the pine shavings come out of the coop and into the run in our chicken set-up. And WOW, the smell is awful
It smells like a pig farm in this tiny little area.

I put several bags of mulch all over the run and some sand near the entrance, for moisture control and a place for them to dust bathe.

I clean out the coop once a week, taking out the extra poopy parts (ie near the roost) which usually equates to about 2 paper grocery bags full of shavings/poo. I put it into a compost pile and it eventually just breaks down. Amazingly enough, it doesn't stink. I have no idea why, but it makes me happy
Now though that my garden has been removed. I'm dumping all the shavings/poo into my garden area. I'm hoping the winter will be enough time to break down some of the nitrogen and be ready for spring

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