The material that covers the floor of a chicken coop is commonly referred to as “bedding,” which is more aptly termed “litter,” as chickens don’t sleep on the floor, they poop on it. Litter’s primary functions are to absorb moisture from droppings and water spills, keep odors down and facilitate coop cleaning. The most commonly used litter options are: wood shavings, wood horse stall pellets, sand, hay and straw, but which choice is right for you?

My first flock of chicks, their first day in the coop, on pine shavings. Much has changed since then.



Pine shavings were the recommendation I had seen most often when researching my litter choices. I knew it was absorbent, readily available at my feed store, and affordable at $5.00 per cubic foot. I had ruled out straw and hay due to their lack of absorbency, propensity to harbor mites and worst of all, to mold when wet. The last thing I wanted in my coop was a droppings-laden mat of
respiratory trouble for my chickens, so...pine shavings it was.

2/28/2013 5:49:37 AM

Hi there! I am repairing and revamping a coop and run that have been disused for about 6 years. I have been doing a lot of research and deciding how I am going to set things up. I accidentally found this article through Google, and I am glad that I did! I believe this is the first thing I read about using sand as litter, and boy, does it ever sound like a superstar. But I have a couple of questions: you get an annual sand delivery.Do you have to remove all of the old sand yearly and completely replace it with new? If so, what do you do with all of the old sand? Or are you just topping off the sand that gets shoveled out with the poop or whatever? Thanks again for the great article! Ryan

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