Choose the right bedding for your flock with these tips from Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
Chickens coops typically have a floor made of concrete, wood or dirt. Bedding will go on top of that. There are a few different options for chicken coop bedding. Essentially, the bedding needs to dry up and catch any manure produced by your chickens, as well as provide a comfortable living space for your flock. Chickens need somewhere to lay their eggs, nest and scratch. Learn about the different types of bedding with Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
Wood shavings, specifically pine, work well in chicken coops. Pine shavings dry quickly and won’t break the bank. They also don’t break down as easily as other options, so they last a bit longer. Plus, they give off a great pine scent which can help counteract the smell of manure. To clean manure from pine shavings, use a pitchfork.
Straw and Hay
Yellow, sturdy straw can be used to line your chicken coop. It’s also great for scratching and rooting, which your flock will want do while in their coop. The downside is that straw and hay don’t dry out easily, so they’re more susceptible to moisture and mold. If you choose to use straw or hay, you’ll need to change out the bedding more frequently instead of just scraping out the manure. However, you can add the straw and hay to your garden beds to act like a mulch. Hobby farming is all about sustainability.
Sand is another option for bedding. It’s a bit expensive to start with, but if you maintain it and keep it clean, you’ll only need to change it a few times a year. Make sure you use builder’s sand, as sandbox sand has a tendency to clump.
If you have enough pine needles, shredded leaves or grass clippings, they can all be used as bedding in a chicken coop. They’re not as absorbent as other options, though, so you’ll need to replace them on at least a weekly basis. It’s also important that none of the plants have been treated with pesticides or herbicides. But if you have a big supply of any of the plant-based bedding, it can be an easy (and free!) option.