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Just Food City Chicken Meetup NYC Message Board Bedding › Which type of bedding do you use in your coop and why?

Which type of bedding do you use in your coop and why?

Owen T.
Philadelphia, PA
Post #: 8
Do you prefer hay or straw? Why?

Do you use wood chips? Which types do you use and why?

What else do you use and why?

Also, if you could say where you get your bedding, that would be great.

Thanks for any input you have on this!

p.s. Simone Mogul, thanks for your input on the previous discussion on ordering hay... and thanks so much Holly Burmeister for offering to order mulch hay in bulk! What a great service to the chicken community. We should do this in all boroughs to lower the costs of chickening.
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 11
I use pine wood chips. They are cheaper than straw in NYC (surprisingly) and seem easier for the chickens to walk on. They also smell good and are a good deodorizer, but I haven't had any issues so far with smell. I am trying the deep litter technique which I read about where you do NOT clean out the chips. Rather, you pile them on top each time. What is *supposed* to happen is that the moisture and poops will start to compost the chips below. This will also generate heat and hopefully will help keep the chickens warm. I think it recommends you clean out the coop once a year. If all goes well, (like compost) it does not attract bugs and should not smell. They say, once you clean out the coop, you must continue to clean it out as it needs a base to work off of. Theoretically, and by the book, it is supposed to work. I will let you know. If anyone uses this technique, I would be interested to hear about it!

Melina B.
Stamford, CT
Post #: 6
I use wood chips and I like the finest I can find. Right now I use Calloway brand.
I clean them out every week because I dont like them to get too smelly and I dont believe in the deep CT we have too much mold and the amonia can build up and actually kill the animals because it settles down by the floor...
I have a shelf that they all sit on at night and some boxes that some sit in and some are broody. I line the shelf with cmpressed alfalfa or timothy and then I put a light layer of chips. Every morning when I get them up I take a dustpan and a garden tool and I scrape the night's poo off the shelf and out of the boxes if there is any...I pick up any big poos on the floor and if they step out and make a big one I pick that up too...I put it in a bin that I use for the dirty chips....I figure thats half the poo for the day more or less. I then put a little layer of chips back on the shelf and its all fresh smelling.
I try to keep the layer on the floor pretty thin.

I do have hay and I use it for the mud outside and also in the outdoor area....but everytime I get into it I realize that its heavy to clean out...when youre hauling a bin of dirty chips vs a bin of dirty hay and chips...I have a leaf recycle system set up but in the summer I try to get the chips in the woods spread out.

The times that Ive let the litter get deep, it smells bad and it gets gross...the chickens keep digging in it....I know some people swear by it, but I think Im too much of a neatnick.
I also raise and breed parrots and any mold in their litter or the pan below can kill them. They have delicate lungs. I consider chickens to be a bit like that too....not that I wouldnt let it go for a while if I had to...but the way I do it now takea about 5 mins per day and it cuts down on the general cleaning alot.
My barn is also it makes that part easier. Its a child's playhouse.
user 4513283
New York, NY
Post #: 10
Coffee Chaff from the neighboring coffee roaster! It's soft, light, FREE and it makes the coop smell like toasted coffee beans! :)
Melina B.
Stamford, CT
Post #: 57
I use wood chips...I find hay and straw to be smelly and heavy. I get my chips at Bennie's Feed Barn in Bedford Hills, NY (which is very near to me) and also is a sponsor of the CT/Westchester group.
I actually talked to the hay/straw/chip supplier there and he told me that overall, regardless of where you are, chips are less expensive and cleaner. hay gets moldy and can have bugs...I personally have some sort of allergy to the hay, and even though Ive used it for muddy conditions and the like, Ive found that chips work just as well....they also smell better. I do spot cleaning every morning in my coops and I find it easier to get the poop out of the chips with a small garden makes cleaning in general so much easier.

A former member
Post #: 1
What about dried leaves? Here are some links to articles recommending the same practice:

We have tons of dried leaves that can be composted after they are cleaned out of the coop. This way, we won't have to buy anything extra and can use what we have. Plus, I hope that the chicken manure will "energize" our leaf pile with nitrogen rich chicken manure. Does anyone have experience using leaves as bedding?

Melina B.
Stamford, CT
Post #: 58
after my experiences with mites this year Id be careful to dust your birds and coop regularly. Also be very careful handling them yourself about ticks. Lyme disease is on the rise this year.
I find that anything that rots is not so great...but thats just me. I have a leaf compost and dump chips there too...I just prefer clean chips in the coop with poultry dust and DE as needed....and boy, have I needed it this year!
user 3181894
New York, NY
Post #: 1
We currently use straw but I wanted to know if we could use sawdust? I have a mill in the Bronx that will supply me with it for free but it is from mixed woods. Does anyone know if this is OK to use???

Rebecca L.
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 5
Ive read one type of wood is bad for chickens...cedar...and I would think dust is not great either...and if its mixed wood in that sawdust....then you might get cedar...

from another chicken discussion I found on the web..."aromatic oils in cedar bad for respiratory system of chickens..."
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