Softwood or hardwood chips

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orchardlady

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Softwood or hardwood chips
« on: November 28, 2020, 23:00 »
Hello everyone. Itís been a long long time since I last chatted about hens. Five years or more. I kept a flock of 50 hens then but due to a family member becoming very ill very suddenly the birds were all given away. I kept my hens in a small field at the bottom of my garden and they had an idilic life free ranging. Iíve now come to the decision that Iíd like to keep hens again but this time in an enclosed environment in my garden. As Iíve never done this before Iíd very much value advice about what to put on the floor of the run. The coop will be stocked with hemp as bedding snd interior litter but what should I put in the exterior run. I hope to have it mostly covered. Iíve read that hardwood is wonderful but also read that it doesnít rot down with any speed and can carry nasty spores etc. I definitely donít want the floor if the run to be straight earth. Iíve seen chickens kept on earth and frankly it looks rather miserable. Iíd love your ideas and opinions. Orchard Lady. X

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grinling

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Re: Softwood or hardwood chips
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2020, 15:25 »
spores will grow on damp chippings.
Is it not possible to have an outdoor run grassed and divided in 2 to alternate use.
I use a wired greenhouse and a tunnel attached to the covered house and run.

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New shoot

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Re: Softwood or hardwood chips
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2020, 16:01 »
Welcome back to the forum and to poultry keeping  :)

On a covered run, bark chips donít really rot or get mouldy.  I use bark chips from the garden centre and also chuck in other things like leaves from the garden.  It is a fairly deep layer, but the hens excavate down to the soil for dust baths and general digging.  I think the bagged bark chips are mainly conifer, so they are soft wood.  It does break down and every few months, I dig the lot out and replace it.  In between, I hose it down and turn it over as I think it needs it.

We seem to get bird flu warnings almost every year, so I would encourage to cover the whole roof.

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Planner

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Re: Softwood or hardwood chips
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2020, 17:00 »
For my enclosed run, originally it was on soil, so I laid some weed suppressing membrane and then covered with B&Q chipped large bark. I also have the run roofed with perspex so it stays relatively dry.

I change the bark about twice per year, however normally the girls are free ranging in the garden, but now with the HN Flu, they are in the run all day so I expect to be changing more frequently. I have 10 chickens.

John
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The man with a plan



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