Regardless of the number of chickens or chicks you have, you will need to make use of a lot of bedding on the floor of the chicken coop. Bedding is an essential component of keeping the chickens both healthy and happy. On the floor of the coop, chick bedding serves to absorb urine, droppings and odor and this enables the environment of the chickens to be sanitary and have a fresh smell. In addition, it provides material for a soft landing for candling chicken eggs.
The chicken bedding is supposed to be a minimum of 2 inches thick; in fact, the more you use the better. It is important to note that even baby chickens are great big poopers; as a result, you need to ensure that you have a lot of bedding. A number of individuals recommend the use of paper towel, as long as it is changed on a regular basis; however, that could prove to be quite time consuming as well as fairly expensive. In addition, paper products are very likely to mold and mold is bad news for chickens, as this can result in a number of illnesses. There are a number of different kinds of bedding that can be used; therefore, it is essential to know all of your options. A few of the better options are listed below:
Among homesteaders, the most popular chick bedding is pine shavings. This type of bedding is great, in view of the fact that it absorbs odor and droppings instantly, leading to a much cleaner and better smelling coop. In addition, pine shavings will clump in a way which will make it a lot easier to get rid of dirty shavings. These shavings are also soft; therefore, when the candling chicken eggs are laid, they are unlikely to break. The pine shavings are easy on the budget as well. A 50-pound bag of pine shavings is priced at anywhere between $5 and $10 at any garden, feed or pet stores. You will also have the option of buying the shavings online.
Hay or Straw
Quite a few homesteaders like to make use of hay or straw for bedding in the chicken coop. These types of beddings are certainly inexpensive and quite a few homesteaders have it in large quantities. Depending on the type that you are able to find, using either as litter could contribute to the chicken coop having a pleasant smell. In addition, hay and straw make it simple to keep the coop clean and locate chicken droppings.
A number of individuals like to make use of cedar shavings as a result of their pleasing aroma. However, cedar wood could collect dangerous bacteria and cause your chickens to become more vulnerable to physical ailments and respiratory illnesses.
Quite a number of individuals have stated that chicken breeders should avoid using newspaper, given that it does not do a good job of absorbing and ends up becoming a slippery surface which could result in a permanent malformation in the chicken known as “splayed leg;” this could ultimately result in the affected chicken being pecked to death by the others chicks.
However, there are quite a few homesteaders who believe those reports are myths and in fact, a study which was carried out by the Ohio State University indicated that shredded newspaper, when compared to conventional chick bedding, is as much as 3 times more absorbent. It was also revealed that less shredded newspaper is required than conventional bedding and the majority of ink that is used is neither toxic to animals and humans.
DE or Diatomaceous Earth is a white, fine abrasive powder which comes from a certain type of algae and it is added by a lot of homesteaders to the bedding chicken. DE is effective at controlling the odor in the chicken coop and it plays the dual role of keeping away pests such as mites and lice. It is important that you ensure that you make use of food grade DE and not the industrial grade, in order to ensure the safety of both you and the chickens. In addition, DE can be added to dust bath materials and feeders.
Even though pine shavings are seemingly the bedding of choice for the majority of homesteaders, there are a number of available options to suit your preferences and the needs the chickens. Additionally, bedding can be combined to get an appropriate balance of smell, cleanliness and absorbency.