When you have chickens in a stationary coop, you will need to think about chicken coop bedding.
Adding bedding makes it far easier to remove the manure, keep the coop clean, and can help keep the coop warmer in winter. What type of chicken coop bedding to use is up to you. Here are some different types of chicken coop bedding to consider.
Sand as chicken coop bedding. Very popular to use, sand is often easy to obtain. It’s often just as close as your local quarry or hardware store. Sand is great because it can also act as grit for the chickens, is as easy to clean as litter box and is cheap. Sand also does not need to be completely removed from the coop, and you can just add more as you need. Sand also doesn’t cause a lot of dust to be stirred up from the coop. Cleaning sand in the coop is easy when the coop is small, but not as much fun when your coop houses 30 or more chickens.
Straw as chicken coop bedding. Straw is even cheaper than sand, and depending on the size of your coop, may be a better option. It’s easy to lay down, is less heavy than bags of sand, and can be moved into garden beds or the compost pile when you are done with it in the coop. The chickens will love scratching through the straw and will even help you spread it around. Simply drop a couple bales of straw, remove the strings and let the girls do the work. Of course, straw will need to be removed at least monthly and replaced with clean straw. Since the poop can easily pile up on the straw, it gets matted down and very heavy to move. In the winter, straw can also collect drips of water and freeze, making it a slushy, slippery mess.
Leaves as chicken coop bedding. This is my favorite, to be honest. We collect the leaves from all our neighbors and place them in the chicken coop. This keeps them from burning them, as well. win-win. The chickens love to play in the leaves, scratching and checking for any bugs or worms that may have made their home in the piles. Adding at least 12 inches deep of leaves in Fall and Spring also gives us great compost for the garden. Removing the leaves and cleaning the chicken coop with this method takes about 20 minutes total. Leaves just collect the poop, and are easy to shovel up. Another bonus is that leaves are totally free. Just ask your neighbors for theirs!
Wood chips as chicken coop bedding. This is the most expensive way to bed a coop in my opinion. Unless you have a huge wood pile and your own chipper. Wood chips ARE easy to clean up, and have a nice sweet smell when you first lay them down. Rusticy and all, ya know. They are not slippery and slushy in the winter or during a heavy rain, but they create the most dust out of all the methods we use. We only use wood chips for our chicks in the Spring, as it is easy to clean up from a small brooder.
What methods of chicken coop bedding do you use? What is your favorite? Be sure to pin this for later!