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Bedding Options for Chicken Coops

Girls in straw


Early to bed, early to rise, makes a chicken healthy, stealthy, and sly … unless she has poor bedding. With less than adequate bedding, chickens may have less than adequate happiness. A good bedding helps keep your chickens safer and healthier and makes your life simpler. Fortunately, there are easy-to-find options available that will help your chickens’ coops remain cozy havens that are less smelly and easier to clean.

Why does coop bedding matter?

Proper bedding isn’t something used just to create a pretty space. It serves quite a few functions. Bedding can help absorb odors from manure, provide a soft foundation for chickens leaping from their roost (as well as eggs that may fall out of the nesting boxes), and make for a quicker clean-up job when it’s chore day in the coop. Depending on the material, it can also help keep the coop a bit warmer during cold months.

What are coop bedding options?

bedding-option-chicken-coopsTwo of the most common beddings materials are pine shavings and straw. For pine, larger flaked shavings are recommended because they create less dust and allow for quick scooping of waste. Cedar shavings are not recommended because the scent can be overpowering and even toxic, especially to chicks. Straw is one of the best materials for bedding. It has the same advantages of pine shavings and provides something for chickens to scratch and peck through. Either of these materials can be found at your local feed or farm supply store.

Although not yet readily available in every feed store, hemp is also a creative and effective bedding option for chicken coops. This material has little dust and is more absorbent than pine shavings and straw, which retains the clean-up efficiency of the other beddings. It is also less acidic and is better at controlling ammonia odors. Many hemp processors have touted the plant’s composting ability, which is an added benefit for regenerating your soil and supporting more of a permaculture environment. Keep in mind that no matter what bedding material you opt for, most will need to occasionally be cleaned out completely and replaced with fresh bedding. A healthy coop (and flock) is a clean coop.

In addition to the odor-reducing qualities of proper bedding, DooKashi Poultry Brooder & Coop Deodorizer can also help keep the ammonia smell at bay. DooKashi can be sprinkled in nesting boxes and around the coop and helps neutralize coop odor. Another perk? Both of these products are nontoxic, contain no additives or artificial ingredients, and are safe if ingested by chickens.

Explore the options when determining what bedding is right for you and your flock. Talk with other chicken keepers in your area to hear the pros and cons they have discovered. Bedding that works in a dry climate may not be best suited for a rainy climate. Regardless of what you choose, make sure to keep it clean and fresh so your chickens have a home and restful place to nest. Tranquil. Beautiful. Pleasantly aromatic. Doesn’t that sound like a place you’d want to hang out?

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