Everybody has their own preference in bedding for their chickens, but if it’s time to explore your options, check out Koop Clean. Visit the Koop Clean website & find out if a feed store near you sells it. I did, and found two local feed stores just a few miles away.Koop Clean™ is an all-natural, quality chicken bedding consisting of a chopped blend of hay & straw, combined with the unique superior odor neutralizing ingredient, Sweet PDZ™. Specially formulated using only ingredients from the earth, Koop Clean™ chicken bedding will make your flock happy, while keeping your coop fresh, dry and insulated.
Is keeping backyard chickens cost effective?
How much time in caring for them is involved?
These are valid questions, and certainly something you should prepare yourself before you buy those cute little chicks at the feed store. Chicks are tiny and super easy to manage the first couple weeks. But, about the time they reach 3 weeks of age they will begin to outgrow the brooder box and become a bit of a chore to clean up after.
They will most likely be in a box in your house or garage with a heat lamp dangling overhead until they reach at minimum 4 weeks of age. By this time they are still about two weeks shy of being fully feathered and ready to be moved to the outdoor coop. From day old to six weeks is a long time, and indeed a commitment. During this time you are going to be busy cleaning the brooder box every day multiple times. They will also need to be slowly weaned off the heat lamp each week. Trust me, you will spend countless hours adjusting the temperature.
Timing is everything, make sure to buy your chicks when the temperatures where you live aren’t extreme. Otherwise you’ll be struggling to either keep six week old chicks warm or cool during the transition from indoors to out.
Keeping chickens can be fun and easy to care for , but you just can’t skimp when setting up their housing, one way or another you’ll pay for it.
In other words, chickens are expensive, no matter how you slice or dice it, that first fresh egg from even a small backyard flock will cost at minimum, about $700. It’s true! That’s a lot of store bought shelf eggs. But everything comes with a price, the value of fresh eggs vs shelf eggs is something only you can decide.
I’ve thought about the cost effectiveness of raising chickens, and it really doesn’t add up. I’ve done the math, and well…there’s just no way! A dozen eggs can be bought for about a $1.29 here in Phoenix, sometimes even less. It definitely costs more to feed a small flock than it does to buy eggs! A $20 50lb bag of layer pellets for six hens will last about 30 days. That equals about 180 shelf eggs a month from your local grocery store. If each one of your hens lays 5 eggs a week, that will give you 120, not taking into consideration your hen’s rate of lay will significantly decrease in the winter and during molting. Let’s not forget you’ll be feeding those hens for 5 to 6 months before they even reach their point of lay.
Even raising meat birds can’t possibly be cost effective. I can go to any grocery store in town and buy a hot fully cooked rotisserie chicken for only $5.00! Oh my, it would cost me way more to feed that bird, and then I have to slaughter it too? Nah… I’ll pass.
There is an expense involved for the bedding in the coop and nesting area too. Pine shavings, hay, or straw will be necessary not only for the hen’s comfort, but it will keep the hen house cleaner and much easier to maintain. The bigger the coop, the easier it will be to keep clean, but bigger also means more bedding to buy. It also means your hens will be happier, and better egg producers. It’s like anything else, better always comes with a higher price tag.
Chickens are fun to watch, bring much enjoyment, and having fresh eggs is wonderful. There is no dispute over fresh eggs being a healthier choice, just be sure you are willing to put in the effort for the benefits.
About Bedding and Nest Boxes
There are many different types of nest box bedding that chicken keepers use. There’s no right or wrong one, you just have to find the one that suits your birds needs or preference for the type of next boxes you have.
Nesting material is important, if your hens scratch around in their nesting box and kick all the bedding out you’re going to have broken eggs. The kind of nesting boxes you have are also important. If they are semi enclosed for privacy, such as a wooden box with a hole for entry there is a less chance your birds will kick out their nest material. Shredded burlap partially covering the entry hole is also helpful.
Bedding Materials / Pros and Cons
Wood shavings: A great choice if you have a box that will prevent the chickens from kicking it all out of the nest.
Straw: Many people use straw, it’s inexpensive and goes a long way. However, it does get hard and brittle which can cause irritation to the hen’s vent area. It also can get moldy, so it’s very important to keep in turned.
Grass hay: This is my choice of bedding. I like it because it’s soft and stays soft for at least a month and my birds don’t kick it out of the nest.
Sand: Clean, and makes for an easy clean-up using a kitty litter box scoop. But I think sand would be rather difficult to replace… not to mention it’s heavy.
Shredded paper: Becoming very popular in today’s world of massive household paper shredding. Some people mix it in with shavings, others use it alone. It can go in the compost pile, and what’s really nice is there’s is an endless supply, especially if you or your friends subscribe to a newspaper.
Solutions for Broken Eggs in the Next Box
Lining the bottom of next boxes with a cushioning material under the nest bedding can be very helpful if you are finding broken eggs. Here are a few ideas that are often used as nesting box liners.
Rubber shelf liner
Carpet, upside down
Artificial turf, upside down
Rubbermaid kitchen sink mats