Keeping Chickens in Winter w/Deep Bedding

Imagine…It’s 15°F out, the wind is ice cold and your getting all bundled up to spend the next hour cleaning out the smelly chicken coop….sounds appealing right? If that doesn’t sound like a fun time to you, don’t worry, there’s a better way….

The Deep Bedding Method:

What is the deep bedding method? The deep bedding method is a simple process of laying down fresh carbon bedding (pine shavings, wood chips, leaves, grass clippings, etc.) once the previous layer has become soiled by your chickens.

Why Use the Deep Bedding Method?:

  • Cuts down on coop cleaning and eliminates the stink! We keep our chickens in their coop area all winter without cleaning the coop once. If the coop starts to smell then you need more carbon bedding. The coop should always smell earthy never “stinky.”
  • Provides compost for the gardens! Chicken poop is rich in nitrogen which falls into the carbon rich bedding; the chickens then scratch and peck naturally turning the nitrogen/carbon mixture causing it to slowly break down into a nourishing compost for your soil.
  • Provides warmth to the coop! When the nitrogen and carbon begin to break down they put off heat which naturally keeps the coop warmer.

How To Start Using the Deep Bedding Method:

Start with 4″-5″ Carbon Bedding
  • Start by laying down 4″ – 5″ of carbon rich bedding (woods chips or pine shaving work great!).
  • Let the chickens do their thing! The chickens will drop their waste and then scratch and peck which will incorporate the waste into the carbon material.
  • Once the initial layer of bedding becomes soiled or starts to smell “stinky” add more carbon bedding.
  • At the end of the winter pull your new compost out of the coop and use where needed. You can leave 4″- 5″ of composted bedding in the coop to jumpstart the next batch.
  • Enjoy the winter, without cleaning a “stinky” coop!