Straw insulates well, is low in dust, and chickens enjoy scratching it. For all these reasons, it’s good bedding material. But one problem with straws is that they don’t remain clean for long.
So when the straw in your chicken coop gets dirty, you must replace it. Otherwise, it can get compost and can cause illness in your chicken. Now the question is, do you know how often to change straw in chicken coop?
If not, well, relax. We will help you to get the answer. Actually, every 3 – 4 months, you should replace the straw in your chicken coop. And daily, you should stir the straw within your coop.
In today’s article, we will shed light on the discussion of how often you should change your coop’s straw bedding. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the main discussion:
What Is Straw?
Simply straw is the grain’s dried stalks. Hay and straw are different. Straw is dried stalks, whereas hay is the grass that is cut and dried to feed the animals.
Straw is a good bedding option. But hay is a bad bedding choice, especially in your chicken coop, as it contains too high moisture.
How Often To Change Straw In Chicken Coop?
The simple answer is every 3 – 4 months; you must change your chicken coop’s straw.
For backyard chicken keepers, straw is one of the popular bedding choices for their chicken coop. Straw is an effective and excellent insulator. Chicken keepers like this bedding option during the cold winter weather because it’s a good insulator.
Moreover, maintaining straws is also very easy. Your birds also love sorting through the straw. But the question is how often to change straw in chicken coop? The answer is every 3 – 4 months; you should maintain or change the straw in your chicken coop.
However, if you use the droppings boards or dropping management system, then weekly stirring of the straw is enough. But every 3-4 months, you must replace the straw in your coop. Otherwise, it will compost down. After being composted down, the straw can be saturated with droppings.
The deep litter method’s common part is using straw as chicken bedding. Straw is used in this method because it promotes the dropping’s composting. Also, it prevents the building up of ammonia fumes during the winter.
The straw can generate heat when it starts to compost. And heat generation is helpful during winter. However, even if you don’t use the straw in the deep litter method, its hollow shafts help trap the heat on cold days.
One problem with straw is that it’s not very absorbent. It helps to manage the dropping’s moisture during the stimulation of the composting process.
How To Maintain Straw In Your Chicken Coop?
To prevent the dropping from over-saturating or becoming matted, you must maintain the straw weekly or daily. You must turn the straw regularly, like wood shavings, to mix the droppings with the straw.
Regular straw turning will also help promote the composting process and aerate the litter. Weekly stirring of the straw is enough when using the droppings boards or droppings management system. After being composted down, you must replace the straw every three to four months.
After replacing the filthy straw every time, you must also lay down the straw’s fresh layer. The fresh layer should be 5 – 6 inches thick. However, you can add your chicken coop’s dirty and old straw to the compost pile.
Also Read: Can Chickens Be Left Alone For A Week?
Why Straw Is a Good Bedding Choice For Chicken?
Chicken keepers prefer to use straw as the chicken coop bedding because it offers numerous benefits. Now we will tell you why straw is a good bedding choice for your chicken.
1. Highly Absorbent
Of all the available chicken coop bedding options, straw is the second most highly absorbent option. Straw can hold its weight by 7 times in water.
Absorption is crucial as it prevents the building of moisture on your chicken coop bedding. And your coop’s bedding gets rid of soaking wet.
2. Cost Effective
If you choose straw bedding for your chicken coop, it can be low in cost. In different countries, straw can be cheap and plentiful. And it’s a cost-effective bedding option for backyard chicken coop owners.
3. Chickens Like Straw Bedding
The most important advantage of straw as chicken bedding is that even your birds like to scratch in straw. Many people like it when their hens scratch around the straw.
Sometimes the backyard owners spread grain into the straw. And then the birds scratch straw to find grain. So, it’s evident that birds love straw, and so do chicken keepers.
4. Excellent Choice For The Deep Litter Method
In recent years the deep litter method has become very popular, especially among homesteaders. In this method, the chicken coop owner rarely needs to change out the bedding.
In the deep litter method, you only need to change the bedding when it gets too gross or stinky.
5. Straw Insulates
The insulating features of straw bedding make it popular among all the available bedding options for your chicken coop. In winter, the insulation generates warmth in the coop. However, one problem is that straw also makes the coop warmer in summer.
How To Select The Best Straw For Your Chicken Coop?
Straw is the best and most popular bedding choice for your chicken coop. But select the best straw for your coop to get the highest benefit from this bedding system. Ensure you are purchasing high-quality straw bales and not poor-quality hay.
Straw is widely used as livestock bedding, and it has hollow shafts. On the contrary, hay is not straw. It’s dried grasses that are used to feed the animal. It’s not recommended to use hay as bedding.
However, you must also consider the impacted crop when introducing straw to your flock. Your chickens can consume too much fibrous and long material, like a small amount of straw. Ultimately it can cause impacted crops.
Anyway, you must select and buy quality straws to avoid impacted crops. Also, you have to monitor your chicken flock and ensure that they are not eating the straw to prevent the impacted crop’s impact.
What Are The Advantages & Disadvantages Of Using Straw In Your Chicken Coop?
Using straws in your coop not only offers benefits. But this bedding choice comes with several disadvantages also. So, now we will tell you the pros and cons of using straw in your chicken coop.
- While straw is used in the deep litter method, it generates heat
- Compost well with droppings
- Weekly or daily maintenance is easy
- During the cold winter temperature, straw helps to trap heat
- During the hot weather, using a straw is not a good option. It can lead to impacted crop
- Chemically treated straw brings danger to your chicken
- In some locations, finding organic straw is difficult
- If you fail to replace the straw at the perfect time, mold can grow in it
Related Videos on Maintaining Cleanliness in Chicken Coop
Learn how often to change straw in a chicken coop by watching these helpful videos on maintaining cleanliness in your coop.
How to clean a Chicken Coop – When Why and How Often
Stop CLEANING Your Coop Using This Method
CHICKEN COOP STRAW FLOOR – Using the Deep Litter Method
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Straw Good For Chicken Coops?
Yes! Straw is a very good bedding choice for your chicken coop. In fact, it is one of the popular bedding materials for coops. Just like the pine shavings, it also offers almost the same benefits.
When Should I Change My Chicken Coop Bedding?
If you use dry wood shavings of 4-6 inches, you can easily use them for 6 months or more. But every 6 months, we recommend replacing the bedding as it incorporates chicken droppings.
Does Straw Help To Keep Chickens Warm?
Yes! During winter, straw creates heat within the coop and generates warmth. Moreover, the insulation of the straw causes a warmer temperature in your chicken coop.
Optimistically this comprehensive guide has been helpful enough. You now have clear insights into how often to change straw in the chicken coop. The recommendation is to replace your coop’s bedding every 3-4 months if you use straws.
During winter, it’s a good option to use. But during summer, the use of straws is not recommended. Straw creates warmth in the coop if you use it in summer.
However, you can comment if you have anything to know more about straw bedding. ASAP we will reply to you!