How often should you change your chickens’ litter?
First, what are Wood Shavings?
The Wood Shavings of La Vieille Cheminée are made from Albizia trees. This species of tree, invasive in Mauritius, offers a light and neutral wood (without strong essence) therefore perfect for the bedding of your animals.
These wood shavings are used for our animals’ bedding on the farm: horses, ducks, goats and chickens. You could use it at home for your hamsters, guinea pigs, cats or other pets that require litter.
The large Albizia trees are cut down and the trunks goes through a large planer machine. We then obtain small, soft and thin wood pieces that are natural, untreated and non-toxic: perfect for your pets’ bedding.
Is it difficult to take care of chickens?
One of the biggest myths in keeping chickens is that their litter stinks quickly and they are difficult to care for. This is not necessarily the case!Hens are low maintenance and can be very easy to keep in your garden.
Here is a link explaining how to care for chickens
How often should their litter be changed?
The litter can be changed every week or every 4 to 6 months. True story!
Let’s call these two methods the “Deep Litter” and the “Classic”.
The effectiveness of these methods will of course depend on environmental factors to be respected. We explain these two options for litter maintenance in more detail.
The “deep litter” method
Many breeders like to use it as this method is simple, effective and sustainable. It simply consists of creating a good amount of compost, thanks to the excrement of your hens, directly in the henhouse.
To make compost, you need approximatively 60% of nitrogenous green matter – or wet matter – and 40% carbonaceous brown matter – or dry matter.
You start by applying a thick layer of litter in the coop (carbon material) and the hens will bring in the nitrogenous material through their droppings (i.e. hens do not produce urine, they only poop). You also need to regularly feed your chickens with greens (lettuce leaves, cut grass, etc.) in addition to the usual chicken food. It is essential to their health and nutrition and it will add green matter to your compost.
You then add wood chips regularly to help with the composting. The hens will also help the composting process by scraping and turning the litter to look for small insects and microbes – which is very good for the hens!
After several months, you will have a superb compost to use in your garden.
This method requires that the litter is not too wet, that is to say, that it is sheltered as much as possible from rain and bad weather.
The Classic method
The second option is to change your chickens’ litter regularly, as you would for any other pet.
Most breeders spread only a few centimeters of litter in the coop, which they change every week or so. It could also be monthly, depending on how many hens you have for the surface area of your coop and if they soil it heavily.
You can also compost your litter yourself afterwards, by accumulating it in a compost bin or other appropriate place in your garden, adding green matter and turning it over regularly.