Sunday, June 12, 2005

Farmer Brian declares that wood is better for Chicken Coop & Poop

Over the years I have been experimenting with various substances to put on the floor of the chicken coop. When I first got my chickens I was working in a factory. Every day they would throw out lots of large sheets of cardboard and being the cheapskate that I am I used it on the floor of the coop. It worked fairly well but you have to replace it each day as it is non absorbent.

Slippery surfaces are not recommended for chickens as they can develop leg problems. I did not have any such problems but my chickens are outside most of the day and as they roost at night the time they spent on the cardboard was minimal. Warning! Do not use cardboard for heavy breeds of chickens. They are far to prone to leg problems as they get so fat.

Now the cardboard worked fine but as I said you have to change it every day and that got to be a pain in the butt so I swiched to using straw. Straw works better than cardboard as it stays cleaner longer. The reason for this is that as the birds dig around in the straw the heaver poop tends to work its way down to the bottom as the lighter straw comes to the top. Straw also has better absorption properties and does not have to be changed every day. However straw is not the best solution as it is hollow and this provides a great spot for vermin to hide.

The best thing I have found is wood shavings and sawdust. I like pine myself as it is non toxic to the birds (yes they will eat a bit of it) and it makes the coop smell nice. I have found a mixture of about 98% shavings and 2% sawdust workes best for me. The sawdust has great absorption properties and the shavings allow the droppings to work there way down from the surface keeping the birds nice and clean.

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