Wood chips for bedding?

hems_and_hens

In the Brooder
Sep 28, 2020
17
50
43
Manitoba, Canada
Hi all - I've read up on some blogs about this, but wanted to get your opinions as well and send a photo of my specific set-up. I am a first-time chicken keeper and just brought my 5 girls (aged ~15-16 weeks) home this past weekend. My partner is an arborist, so he has access to freshly chipped hardwood every day. Because of this, we've chosen these wood chips as the bedding/floor cover for our coop. Our coop is a 14x6' framed-off section of an insulated outbuilding with a concrete floor. On top of that floor I have a rubber mat (like for livestock stalls), and then on top of that we have maybe 1-1.5" of wood chips. These have been dried in the sun and not a kiln - they feel dry to the touch but I can't say with confidence that they are thoroughly dry. As you can see in the photo, they are of varying sizes, much chunkier than shavings. They are from a variety of tree types (no cedar). Current plan is to take out the majority of the soiled chips maybe once per week and replace (sort of playing it by ear in terms of mess/moisture). FYI, we're in central Canada with a very cold climate.

My question is whether anyone thinks (or better, knows from experience!) that this is a problematic bedding choice. Some sources indicate that chips that are not kiln-dried will mold / are too moist. Some people love chips. I'd love to hear your thoughts and if anyone has suggestions for an alternative bedding choice given my set-up, my ears are open!

PS. Since taking the photo I've temporarily walled off the nesting boxes so they don't roost there :)

COOP.jpg
 

Attachments

Acre4Me

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2017
5,175
13,436
737
Western Ohio
In the winter, the air is pretty dry. However, if your coop is really “tight” then it may be a problem bc chicken breath and poop is moist, so will raise the humidity in the coop. If you have adequate ventilation, it would seem like the chips would be ok.

We use shavings in our ventilated coop, but chips like that (from an arborist) in the run.

is that a heater on the left in the pic? My only concerns if that is a heater are: is it going to be able to handle the livestock type dustwithout being a fire hazard? What temp are you anticipating keeping the coop at?
 

RoosterWhisperer

Songster
Sep 13, 2019
818
3,141
241
In the winter, the air is pretty dry. However, if your coop is really “tight” then it may be a problem bc chicken breath and poop is moist, so will raise the humidity in the coop. If you have adequate ventilation, it would seem like the chips would be ok.

We use shavings in our ventilated coop, but chips like that (from an arborist) in the run.

is that a heater on the left in the pic? My only concerns if that is a heater are: is it going to be able to handle the livestock type dustwithout being a fire hazard? What temp are you anticipating keeping the coop at?
Is that a baby speckled sussex on your avatar?
Or a welsummer
 

hems_and_hens

In the Brooder
Sep 28, 2020
17
50
43
Manitoba, Canada
In the winter, the air is pretty dry. However, if your coop is really “tight” then it may be a problem bc chicken breath and poop is moist, so will raise the humidity in the coop. If you have adequate ventilation, it would seem like the chips would be ok.

We use shavings in our ventilated coop, but chips like that (from an arborist) in the run.

is that a heater on the left in the pic? My only concerns if that is a heater are: is it going to be able to handle the livestock type dustwithout being a fire hazard? What temp are you anticipating keeping the coop at?
Thanks so much for the feedback! I think my coop is fairly well ventilated, there is a 2x1' window, a 2x3' window, and then the top 1' of the interior walls are open (with bug netting) into the rest of the building for some more air flow.

That is indeed a heater (Garrison 2000 W convection heater) that was left in the building by the previous owners. Where I am, temperatures with the windchill drop to -40 degrees Celsius (equivalent to -40 Fahrenheit). I am currently planning on keeping the coop just above 0 C (32 F) through the winter (it's in the insulated building so hopefully that will help a bit). I'll have to look more into how much of a fire hazard this is. I thought it would be a safer option than a heat lamp.
 

RojoMarz

Songster
May 21, 2020
340
494
131
Southern CO...at 8600 ft
We chip/shred downed pine trees and use in the coop. No problems. I have a pile, behind the coop, that is storage...because of our winter (snow), I won't use the pile of chips, as they will be covered in snow. So, to allow for winter use, I have been skimming the top layer off the pile, and putting into an empty feed bag. The feed bag is then stored in the shop. I then let that new top layer dry. Once I have another empty feed bag, I fill and store it. I've been doing that for a little while, so have a few stored for winter.
 

Sally PB

Songster
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
560
1,279
153
Belding, MI
Oh, I am sooo jealous of all those woodchips! I bought a chipper and plan to add chips to the run and the coop. But I have a lot of uses for chips. Garden pathways. Garden edges. That place out at the corner where the grass grows too high and I want better visibility.

And everyone else wants chips too. Have not been able to get any delivered (free) from any of the companies who are out maintaining the power lines. I'm too far away or too far down the waiting list.

The ad for the chipper I bought was right: the volume is decreased 80-90%. It takes a lot of chipping to cover the areas I have.

Your coop looks awesome, by the way. And your birds look happy.
 

hems_and_hens

In the Brooder
Sep 28, 2020
17
50
43
Manitoba, Canada
Oh, I am sooo jealous of all those woodchips! I bought a chipper and plan to add chips to the run and the coop. But I have a lot of uses for chips. Garden pathways. Garden edges. That place out at the corner where the grass grows too high and I want better visibility.

And everyone else wants chips too. Have not been able to get any delivered (free) from any of the companies who are out maintaining the power lines. I'm too far away or too far down the waiting list.

The ad for the chipper I bought was right: the volume is decreased 80-90%. It takes a lot of chipping to cover the areas I have.

Your coop looks awesome, by the way. And your birds look happy.
I know, we are so lucky to have not only woodchips but access to huge logs for firewood, furniture, etc.! It's a luxury!

Thank you so much, it's great to get feedback :)
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom