QI am about to get chickens and I am confused by the many different options for poultry bedding. Can you help me decide what bedding to use?
ACharlotte Popescu says: You are right; there is a lot of choice out there. The options can really be divided into two camps. If you are thrifty and want to avoid spending money on bedding then you could consider sheets of newspaper on the floor of your hutch. You will have to clean it out fairly often though as newspaper can get mucky very quickly. Shredded paper is also a possibility but does tend to get scattered everywhere. Newspaper is difficult to compost as it breaks down slowly due to high lignin content; the paper may also contain harmful ingredients such as inks and dyes. I use dried leaves which compost down beautifully with the poultry manure. I just gather up leaves in the autumn and store them. The disadvantage is that the hens like to make nests in my stores and the eggs get lost among the leaves!
If you don’t mind spending money on bedding then the cheaper options are straw or shavings. easichick poultry bedding is more expensive but seems to be the best product on the market if you want something that covers all aspects; it is made out of wood fibre and is dust and bacteria free, super absorbent, biodegradable, warm and comfortable. It doesn’t get wet on top and can be used in the nest boxes and for broody hens as it doesn’t let bacteria through into the eggs. It doesn’t blow around and is great for composting or using as mulch.