7 Coop Bedding Materials and How to Choose the Right One

  • Customize your coop’s bedding material.
  • Here are options that will keep your chickens healthy and prevent their eggs from cracking.

The litter you provide to your flock in their coop, run, nest boxes or other enclosures isn’t just a luxury. Sufficient litter provides a secure foundation for chickens’ legs and feet, a soft landing for eggs…

Continue Reading

by Kristina Mercedes Urquhart / Hobby Farms
Back to Chicken Keeping Resources HOME PAGE

Winter Chicken Keeping, Tips and Common Concerns

Lets get one common question answered first… whether or not to add heat. Chickens have over 8,000 feathers offering them a nice cozy coat. They fluff up those feathers trapping air under their down and stay toasty warm even in temperatures below freezing. So, the answer is no, chickens don’t need added heat in the coop. However, it’s important they have a dry, draft free shelter.

Silkie 103115

Windy conditions will ruffle their feathers and compromise their ability to stay warm. Even a spot heater in the coop defeats it’s purpose in the long run, not to mention it’s a major fire risk. Chickens would indeed huddle under a heat lamp, but when they move away from it their feathers are not fluffed up and they’ll be cold. They do better in a consistent climate, not fluctuating temps. So you have a choice, either confine them to a totally heated shelter all winter, or don’t provide them any heat at all.

Your chickens will roost together at night to keep each other warm, make sure they have enough space to do this. Check on them at night, you shouldn’t see any birds on the ground, or roosting alone. This is an indication they couldn’t find a spot with the others. If you only have one or two chickens, rather than providing a heat source, do them a favor and get another chicken.

Good Housekeeping

Keep the coop clean, change litter weekly. Damp conditions from droppings not only compromise chickens ability to stay warm, but contribute to the risk of respiratory illness. If your chickens are free roam during the day, it’s a wise decision to keep their water outside the coop. It isn’t necessary to provide water at night, it only increases unwanted moisture in the coop. Ventilation is good, drafts are bad. If there’s gaps in the coop walls, patch them. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, be creative! Save those empty feed bags, they’re a great way to insulate a coop!

Broody Silkies 10-23-14

Bedding


My personal choice is deep pine shavings. Many people use straw, but it has a tendency to mold, be brittle, and pokey, which can cause irritated vents on your birds.
Grass hay is nice, it stays soft, but it’s a bit pricey. All hay or straw is bulky and takes up a lot of space in the trash can. This is something to consider if you are an urban chicken keeper.

Diet for Winter Health and Warmth


Greens are just as important in winter as in summer. A good way to introduce greens and break the boredom in the coop is to hang a cabbage. This will keep them busy and healthy at the same time. Offering your birds a little scratch feed before bed will help them stay warm, but remember, scratch feed should be considered a treat, not a complete food for chickens.

More Resources for Cold Weather Chicken Keeping:

Raising Chickens in Cold Country
Cold Weather Care
Chickens in the Cold

Back to Chicken Keeping Resources HOME PAGE

Save

Do Chickens Smell?

The answer is quite simple, the real question here is are you going to enjoy spending time with your chickens? If the answer is yes, then the time you spend will mostly be fussing over your birds. In other words, fussing over your chickens means you’ll not only be cleaning up after them, but find enjoyment in creating attractive and functional housing.

All animals require effort to keep clean, and if you neglect to do so, it’s a sure bet they’re going to smell. If you look at keeping chickens realistically, what else are you going to do with them besides pick eggs and care for their living environment? We don’t sit and pet them as a rule, and training them to do tricks is certainly not going to be a success story… instead, we fuss over their coops.

Bottom line, if you spend time with your birds, then no, chickens don’t smell. Fussing over your birds makes for a happy flock, and a happy flock is what fills the egg basket!

Here’s a few pics of my chicken set-ups… lots of fussing over chickens at TBN Ranch…

Back to Chicken Keeping Resources HOME PAGE
%d bloggers like this: