Bed­ding op­tions

Your Chickens - - Ask Our Experts -

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.

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