Deep bedding materials for chickens

Deep beddingLong winter days means the
chickens spend a lot more time resting (and pooping) on their
roosts.  As a result, I refresh the
more often,
a task that is as simple as opening a bag of autumn leaves my mother
kindly collected from her suburban curb, then scattering the high
carbon bedding on top of the manure.

As you can see from the
photo, when I run low on autumn leaves, I sometimes use storebought
straw, although straw isn’t quite as high in carbon and thus doesn’t
use up as much manure.  In his amazing new book
Small-Scale Poultry Flock
, Harvey Ussery recommends
using any kind of high carbon bedding that’s cheap and easy for the
chickens to scratch through.  His coops are bedded with oak leaves
but Ussery also recommends kiln-dried wood shavings, wood chips, and

From my own experience,
I highly recommend stockpiling your bedding right beside the chicken
coop.  We’ve yet to get our act together, so manure often builds
up on the coop floor before I get around to hunting down some fresh
bedding to add on top.  In the winter, a bit of exposed manure
isn’t such a big deal, but in the summer the manure stinks and draws
flies while letting some of the precious nitrogen escape into the
air.  Remember — a properly  managed chicken coop should be
a pleasant environment for both you and your birds!

Our chicken waterer completes the anti-POOP
campaign, keeping manure out of your birds’ drinking water.

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