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Which bedding should I use?

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As we get so many questions on bedding I thought it might be good to have a sticky on the pros and cons. Please add your own opinions :) .

 

Beddings I have used:

 

Straw

 

Type: Straw!

Coop Floor: Yes

Nestboxes: Yes

Covered Run: Possible

Open Run: I would not recommend

Cost: Aprox £2 a bale, more for smaller quantities from pet shops

Pros: looks nice! keeps warmth in, hens seem to like it

Cons: compacts easily, needs fluffing up, can be slippery if wet, can create a hiding place for mites due to hollow stalks.

Can also cause impacted crop if your hen eats it.

 

Cozy Coop

 

Type: recycled wood bedding

Coop Floor: Yes

Nestboxes: Yes

Covered Run: I would not recommend unless indoors

Open Run: Yes

Cost: Aprox £4 a sack

Pros: soft, nice to handle, hens seem to like it, absorbant, rots down mega quick on compost heap

Cons: a bit dusty, my chicks like to eat it, can get damp

 

 

Aubiose

 

Type: chopped flax

Coop Floor: Yes

Nestboxes: Yes

Covered Run: Yes

Open Run: No!

Cost: Aprox £8-£10 a bale but lasts ages

Pros: Absorbant and stays very dry on top, soft, easy to clean out, rots down super quick on compost heap

Cons: can be dusty, hard to get out of bale as very compacted but no real cons, its great stuff!

 

 

Bedmax Wood Shavings

 

Type: Big flakey woodshavings

Coop Floor: Yes

Nestboxes: Yes

Covered Run: Yes

Open Run: No!

Cost: Aprox £6-£6.50 a bale

Pros: Nice and easy to handle, good in nestboxes

Cons: not very absorbant, needs fluffing up as it compacts easily

 

 

Softwood Shavings (fine)

 

Type: various makes available, small shavings

Coop Floor: Yes

Nestboxes: Yes

Covered Run: Possibly but not ideal unless indoors

Open Run: No!

Cost: £8 a bale, you will get less for your money with pet shop small quantities

Pros: looks and smells nice, a little goes a long way, reasonably absorbant

Cons: does need fluffing up as it compacts

 

 

Softbed

 

Type: Chopped straw

Coop Floor: Yes

Nestboxes: Yes

Covered Run: Yes

Open Run: No!

Cost: Aprox £6 a bale

Pros: Easy to handle, not dusty, good for coop floors, absorbant, economical

Cons: a little harder than Aubiose and not as soft for the chickens in nestboxes

 

 

Natures Best Wood Pellets

 

Type: compacted pellets that need to be dampened to expand to bedding

Coop Floor: Yes

Nestboxes: Yes

Covered Run: would not recommend

Open Run: No!

Cost: Aprox £6-£7 a bag (expands to 4 times the volume)

Pros: dry soft bedding, nice to handle, pellet turns in to a nice small 'shavings' type material, not dusty

Cons: bit of a faff to dampen, small chicks could try to eat it!

 

 

Hardwood Chips

 

Type: Chunky wood chips

Coop Floor: No

Nestboxes: No!

Covered Run: Yes

Open Run: Yes

Cost: Aprox £4 for 50 litre bag

Pros: Lets water drain through, long lasting

Cons: if underneath gets boggy the woodchips may disappear in to mud! take ages to rot down on compost heap

 

Bark Chips

 

Type: shredded or chipped bark

Coop Floor: no

Nestboxes: no

Covered Run: Yes

Open Run: Yes

Cost: £3-£4 a sack

Pros: Looks and smells nice intially!

Cons: Can harbour mould spores, gets wet and slippery quickly

 

Some beddings can be used together with great sucess, I add half a bale of Bedmax to the woodchip in my walk n run and that works well, Aubiose and softwood shavings work well together too

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Hemcore

 

Type: chopped hemp

Coop Floor: Yes

Nestboxes: Yes

Covered Run: Yes

Open Run: No!

Cost: Aprox £10 a bale but lasts ages

Pros: Absorbant and stays very dry on top, soft, easy to clean out, rots down super quick on compost heap, has added Citronella which makes it smell lovely and repels flies.

Cons: Hard to get out of bale as very compacted but no real cons, its great stuff, can be difficult to get hold of as company have had some problems!

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Playground wood chips (B&Q)

Type: chipped wood (softer than hardwood). Natural

Coop Floor: yes

Nestboxes: I wouldn't

Covered Run: Yes

Open Run: Yes

Cost: Approx £4 a bale

Pros: Looks good, contains insects so keeps girls active. Easy to rake and water drains through. Mixes well with other beddings.

Cons: Takes longer to rot on compost but can be put on garden. Does not dry droppings out.

 

 

Hemcore

Cons: some bales have lots of fibres

 

Straw

Cons: Occasionally eaten by hen which can lead to impacted crop

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Bliss

Type: chopped rape storks and straw

Coop Floor: Yes

Nest boxes: Yes

Covered Run: yes

Open Run: No!

Cost: Aprox £6.40 a bale

Pros: Absorbent and stays very dry on top, soft, easy to clean out, rots down super quick on compost heap, has added Citronella which makes it smell lovely and repels flies. Also come in eucalyptus

Cons: Hard to get out of bale as very compacted but no real cons, does get FOD in it from time to time does sometimes get eaten does tend to blow about in the open

 

chushion bed

Type: recycled softwood chips

Coop Floor: no

Nest boxes: no

Covered Run: yes

Open Run: yes

Cost: Aprox £6.40 a bale

Pros: 25kg bales makes it cheaper to use than woodchip from the DIY sheds or garden centers drys out quickly

Cons: no real cons, does get FOD in it from time to time

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Plastic chippings

 

Type: Recycled tyres

Coop Floor: Yes

Nestboxes: No

Covered Run: Yes

Open Run: Yes

Cost: Aprox £10 a bag but need lots of bags (needed 7 for a standard cube run)

Pros: Plastic, so long lasting if you can handle the cleaning regime

Cons: Get very dirty easily, have to be hosed down every day or two, on grass turn into a mud pit, on concrete need to use Staolsan or other disinfectant more regularly as no absorbtion, can also cause drainage issues. Not as comfy for the chickens to walk on. From my experience I would not recommend.

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