Chicken Coop Bedding

How to Choose the Right Chicken Coop Bedding Materials

After building the chicken coop the first most important material is bedding. Chicken coop bedding is the most used element for coop. It helps to absorb chicken waste and keeps the ground surface dry and mold-free. Solid litter also ensures a good and comfortable walking surface for the chickens. It provides a soft landing for eggs.

Well-managed bedding is beneficial as it protects the actual body of the coop from getting directly dirty from their debris. While choosing the chicken bedding, you have to follow some requirements like good absorbing capacity, toxic-free, odor-free, and quick dry.

This article will lead you to know how to Choose the Right Chicken Coop Bedding Materials?

Is it essential to use bedding for chickens?

It’s not necessary for all types of coops. Many coops are available in the market which’s construction doesn’t require bedding. But those are small in size and not preferable for nesting.

If you don’t want to use bedding, ensure the floor of your coop is safe for your chickens.
Make sure it doesn’t emit any gasses, doesn’t have any shrapnel or sharp corners, and is not greasy after the discharge.

You’ll need bedding for their comfort if they spend too much time in the coop.
If you don’t use bedding, you’ll have to clean the dung off your coop flooring every morning.
Your coop should never stink which makes you feel disgusted, if you feel it, that means it’s unhealthy for your chickens. If that’s the case, you’ll need to adjust your management methods.

When choosing the best bedding for chickens, keep in mind that every bedding has its specific pros and cons. Considering the durability and oddity, you can select the bedding for your chickens.

1. Grass clippings bedding

This bedding is very reasonable and easy to bear. It is good if you have a large farm. If you have grass available, then you can use them as bedding.

While using grass clippings, set in mind that you cannot use any chemicals on the grass as chickens are love to pick anything from the floor and direct swallow. So, the chemical can cause death.

Changing period: In every few days


  • It’s reasonable and easy to bear
  • If you have enough resources available in your surroundings you don’t need to pay for it.
  • Keeps the indoors warm in winter
  • Easy to clean
  • Easy perishable after the cleanup


  • As it’s grass, so it rots and breaks very quickly
  • Creates bad smell faster than other beddings
  • Unable to dry fast
  • Need frequent changes

2. Sawdust bedding

This powdery sawdust bedding is also very cheap and it comes from wood wastage. But it has more disadvantages than advantages. Basically, dusty particles which can create health hazard for the chickens like raspatory disease. That is why it is highly dismaying to use it for your chickens.

Changing period: In very frequent


  • Cheap and very reasonable
  • Easy to use
  • Fast dry
  • Soft landing for eggs
  • Very comfortable
  • Keeps the environment warm in winter
  • As its dusty so chickens will enjoy this bedding.


  • Breaks very fast
  • Able to generate bacteria.
  • Easy growth place for maggots
  • Needs frequent changes

3. Shredded leaves bedding

This bedding is cheap and easy to get. If you have many trees or place from where you can collect leaves, you can go for this bedding material.

For creating this bedding, you have to make proper preparation. Dry the leaves before using them as it not remains fresh or raw. Remember fresh one contains water inside the leaf so if you do not dry it before applying them as bedding, the wet chicken’s wastage can generate bacteria and insects.

Changing period: In every few days


  • Easy to get
  • Not expensive
  • Easy landing for eggs
  • Soft bedding
  • Easy to apply
  • Effortless cleaning


  • Breaks very fast
  • Unable to get dry fast
  • It needs frequent changes
  • Creates a slippery walking surface
  • Stick together if it’s not dry properly, which is uncomfortable for the chickens

4. Recycled paper bedding

Shredded newspaper or other recycled paper is an excellent source of almost free bedding. Have them with caution while they’re free. Office paper is carefully processed and cleaned, and ink can be hazardous to chickens.

keep in mind that you’ll need to replenish it several times each week to maintain a consistent supply to get it ready when you need it.

Changing period: In every few days


  • Easy to get
  • Ideal for usage
  • Cheap or free
  • Easy to clean
  • Effortless apply


  • Unable to get dry fast
  • Gets slippery early
  • Need to replace in every per week even if the quantity is not more than enough

5. Pine shavings bedding

This pine shaving is prevalent among farmers. It comes from pine wood breaks. You can use this bedding for long term. It is a bit expensive, but the benefits are worth the cost.

Changing period: Once per quarter


  • Smells good
  • Do not break easily takes time
  • Easy to get dry
  • Long term useable like once per quarter
  • Safe for chicken’s health
  • Comfortable bedding
  • Easy landing for eggs


  • Expensive for a small budget holder

6. Wood Shavings bedding

There are a variety of wood shavings available in the market. Wood shavings are safe as it comes dust-free, so there is no chance of chicken’s respiratory problem. Typically, these are absorbent and hygienic; nevertheless, they may contain pesticides, larger chunks, or sawdust.
So, make sure you’ve got all-natural and dust-free. The shavings come from wood.

Changing period: Once per quarter


  • Very hygienic
  • Good absorbent strength
  • Dries fast
  • No need for frequent changes
  • Long term use
  • No bad odor


  • The wood shavings are mix sized which are similar to their foods which they can eat easily and cause stomach issues.

7. Straw and Hay Bedding

This bedding is trendy among chicken owners due to its easy availability and its smell like nature. But it has many disadvantages. Being expensive and noneconomic many farmers are switching to other beddings.

Changing period: Once every week


  • Easy availability
  • Hygienic
  • Chicken loves to play with the straw
  • Due to its warm nature, it is suitable for winter
  • Easy landing for eggs
  • Comfortable surface


  • Non-economical
  • Breaks easily
  • Not easy to clean
  • Not mold risk-free
  • Gets wet faster so can cause sickness like cold and viral flu

8. Sand bedding

Sand is a fantastic and spotless choice for people who have the time to dedicate to it as coop bedding. Sand as coop bedding only needs to be replaced once or twice a year if cleaned and appropriately controlled.

Changing period: In every six months


  • Best as deep litter
  • Easy to scoop
  • Gets dry fast
  • The best bedding for long term use
  • Amazing dust bath material
  • Doesn’t break
  • Sand is the best bedding for chicken coops in winter as they are able to hold warm for long


  • Too expensive
  • Unable to control odor
  • It can’t be used as compost
  • When it gets dry, it gets too dusty, which can cause a respiratory issue

9. Hemp bedding

Hemp is another best option in demand. It comes from the cannabis plant. It is very hygienic for a chicken coop. This bedding gets dry very fast, so that is highly recommended.

Changing period: In every six months


  • Not easy to break
  • Very hygienic
  • Odorless
  • Suitable for long term use
  • It helps to keep the coop’s environment clean for the long term


  • The pricing is too high
  • Not preferable if your budget is low

Also Read: How To Choose The Right Materials For A Long-Lasting And Easy-to-Maintain Chicken Coop

How to Manage Used Chicken Bedding?

There is no other option to reuse the bedding unless you have a garden. You can use the waste bedding as fertilizer if you have a garden or plants. But keeping those bedding near your house can cause foul odor and flies. So, if you are not interested in foul odors or insects, you can dump them by digging a big hole and covering them with soil.

Another thing which you can do is burn the wastage. But it’s better to skip that as it will create heavy smoke and generate a vast portion of carbon dioxide, which is heavily wrong for you and your chickens.

So, soil cover-up is the best option for you.

Selling Used Bedding in the Market.

The gardeners are always ready to purchase animal wastages. The exciting part is that you can sell them immediately after the clean-up as the buyer composts them by using their own method. You can even find your buyer from different availability like pages or groups based on agriculture and gardening.

Benefits of Using Dropping Board

Using a board on the bedding at night can increase the bedding’s longevity. It has been found that chickens mainly discharge wastages at night during their roosting. If you use an extra dropping board at night and in the morning, you can clean it up easily. After that, you can use it as fertilizer if you have a garden or you just can dump it. Dropping boards also make transferring pure waste to compost bins is efficient and straightforward. A board can be used in addition to the deep-litter method, and when both ways are used together, you may save more money on bedding than if you only used one.

Final words

To keep the coops environment healthy and clean, bedding is the best option. Chickens are very delicate domestic birds and get infected very quickly. At the same time, if you give proper care, they can provide you with the desired outcome. Hence, select the best chicken coop bedding for your chickens. This article contained multiple bedding options elaborately and hope the suggestions will help narrow your choice to find out the best bedding for a chicken coop.

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