There are many kinds of chicken coop bedding on the market. Picking the right bedding for your coops will keep your chickens healthy this winter.
While learning how to home and take care of chickens, you probably discovered a plethora of coop bedding types on the market. The internet is full of debates over cedar shavings and tips for finding non-toxic pine needles. If navigating all this information has left your head spinning, we can help. Keep reading for a quick and easy look at the different types of bedding for chicken coops.
Mulch for Deep Bedding
One of the best options for your chicken coop, especially if you want to create layers of deep bedding, is mulch. Deep bedding helps control that famous smell of chicken manure, reduces flies, and keeps your chickens happier and healthier. With winter fast approaching, deep bedding with mulch will help keep your chickens dry and reduce the number of times you have to clean out the coop. Mulch is also easy to find at most local tractor and feed or gardening stories, so if you need more at the last minute, you can easily purchase supplies.
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle Old Paper
There’s a good chance that if you’re raising backyard chickens and gardening, you care about sustainability and taking care of the planet. You likely already think of ways to reduce your waste, reuse certain materials, and recycle items like old newspapers. Your chickens can achieve your sustainability goals when you use old paper as bedding in your chicken coop. This easy, cheap option is non-toxic and very absorbent. The only downside to using paper as bedding is that it needs frequent changes and can become sticky in certain places, such as around cracked eggs.
Hay or Straw
Many experienced farms will be quick to explain that hay and straw are technically different. Hay is the entire harvested plant, while straw is the stalk left behind when farmers remove the seeds. Since they’re technically parts of the same plant, just like a peel and a seed are both parts of an apple, we put them in the same category. Some people like using hay as bedding since it’s edible, safe, and extremely fibrous once it dries. If you need the seeds from the hay for other reasons, though, straw offers the same benefits. Whichever you use, caring for your chickens in winter will require thick bedding that keeps them healthy and dry.
There are more types of bedding for chicken coops than we can easily list in one article. All these different options provide something different for you and your chickens. You may want to experiment with various options until you find the one that makes your chickens happiest and is the easiest for you to manage.