Why Do You Use Deep Bedding/Why Do You NOT Use Deep Bedding?

Feb 22, 2021
Hmm...do. Have deep bedding? You @3KillerBs be the judge.

we have an elevated coop. We use shavings. So, it is certainly not deep litter bc it does not touch the ground.

we clean out the coop completely a few times a year. Sometimes this comes with a permethrin spray if the ladies are sporting lice 🤢).

we put one or two complete bag of shavings into the coop when it is completely cleaned out. Sometimes we add shavings on top. But, more often it is quickly swept out (so, not throughly like when we want to really clean it all and spray for bugs). and more clean shavings put in. In warm weather, this is done more frequently due to the smell.

we always try to get the shavings really covered in poop before we remove it. So, we turn it when it’s pretty poop laden, to expose cleaner sides. Since the coop is elevated, the poop dries out fairly well -but we are not a dry climate. Once it smells too much, and it’s very poop laden, so turning it does not reveal “clean” shavings, it is removed to the compost pile. We have removed it before this stage when the weather has been such that the poop isn’t drying out quickly enough snd it smells too bad, so for everyone’s health, it is removed.

right now, we have bedding that is frozen SOLID. It has a definite layer of poop under the roosts (we do not use poop boards), but we can’t turn or remove the bedding. We can add bedding on top of the soiled bedding. Once it warms up enough to remove it, it will be removed entirely.

so, I don’t know that we have deep bedding as we don’t fill up the coop until we can’t add any more, but we are similar in other ways.
I love love love the deep litter system. We use hemp that I order from Amazon. I started using the deep liter system because of my back pain and I couldn’t clean out the coop as often as I needed to after many hours of research I found that the with the deep litter system you also don’t have any smell which is hard to believe but I have 14 full grown chickens in my new coop since Christmas and we have no smell and we have not cleaned out our coop. We just turn it over if needed and if it gets to wet you just add more hemp. But our chickens love scratching around and turning it for us. I’m spoiled I hope I never go back to those smelly shavings.


May 11, 2020
I'm putting together an article on using Deep Bedding in a small coop and wanted to make sure I had as complete a list of pros and cons as possible.

I know why I DO use this method and I can think of some reasons others might not want to use it, but I'd like to hear the voices of community experience in order to create a useful article.

Deep Bedding being defined as: A dry, non-composting system where you keep adding bedding to the coop as it becomes soiled -- managing it by turning it as necessary (or getting the chickens to turn it for you) -- and clean it out only infrequently when the bedding has become both thoroughly soiled and piled up to the point of not being able to add more.
I use deep litter in the winter to help insulate the coop against the cold. I live in New England, where winter temps can be well below freezing for several months. It's also easier because I don't have a place to put the dirty coop litter in the winter, as my compost piles are all covered with snow.


9 Years
Jan 9, 2012
Kingman, AZ
My coop is 8 ' X 19', with enclosed shed with dirt floor. It has a big walk in door with a screen if we want to let more air in. and a window for same reason. Plus two chicken doors. I use wood shavings with DE sprinkled over. I add another layer of shavings and DE about every other month. Clean out all of it May and again in Nov. And ALWAYS WEAR A GOOD 99 PARTICLE MASK! We are at 3,333 feet have 105 summers and 35 winters, with 10 degrees variance at times. I use a red heat lamp in winters, and shop fans in summertime.


In the Brooder
Apr 12, 2020
My coop is so tiny it doesn’t make sense to deep litter. I have 4 hens. They are locked in the coop at night and where they sleep depends on the weather. When it’s cold they roost in the upper chamber. Even with my adding wood on to the 2 roosting bars the girls are inches away from the shavings. I scoop out the poop each morning but it only takes a handful of minutes. The floor of the coop is sand. As you can see in the picture the sides are hardware cloth. The coop sits in a fenced run on the side of our garage. Sand has proven to work well when it rains as some water splatters in. For bad rain storms or extreme cold like we just had last week here in Texas I do put plastic around it. In the summer the girls dig down into the sand to cool off. I rake it to clean it. I’m a bit embarrassed at the size of our coop, didn’t know better when we bought it I’m afraid 😟


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8 Years
Sep 26, 2012
West Plains Missouri
I'm sorry, but you've got it backwards.

Deep bedding is a dry, non-composting system that can be done on any type of floor.

Deep litter is a moist, composting system that is best done on a dirt floor (but which *can* be done on other floors with sufficient intensive management). :)
That's what I thought when I read it. I'm in no way knowledgeable in this but the meaning of the words "litter" and "bedding" lead me to this explanation. The word "litter" brings to mind, something negative, not wanted, wont last, breaks down. Bedding evokes a positive thought. Good, clean, changeable.

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