Using Straw as Coop Bedding for Chickens
Coop bedding is vital for chickens because it keeps the bird comfortable, warm, and clean.
Straw is among the best coop bedding options for chickens, although there are equally other options, such as sawdust, hay and wood shavings, recycled paper, and sand.
One of the many things that make straw a great coop bedding option for chickens is that it insulates pretty well and is also low in dust. Straw is also affordable and readily available.
Is Straw Good for Coop Bedding?
Yes, straw is suitable for coop bedding, unlike other chicken coop bedding materials. It provides several advantages over other bedding materials.
For instance, straw insulates well compared to other materials, ensuring your coop doesn’t lose heat during winter. Chickens love scratching, and using straw as coop bedding will give your birds something enjoyable to scratch on.
Furthermore, straw is low in dust, and your chickens won’t have respiratory problems if you use straw as coop bedding.
Most importantly, straw is an inexpensive coop bedding material for chicken raisers.
7 Benefits of Using Straw as Chicken Bedding
Using straw as coop bedding for your chickens can have several benefits over other materials.
These are the seven benefits of using straw as chicken bedding:
Straw is Light
Unlike other bedding materials, such as sand, straw is exceptionally lightweight. It’s easier to spread in your coop.
Removing the straw from the cage is also easy because it is light. Chickens can easily maneuver on the straw without hurting their feet. Because of its lightweight nature, you must use a little straw to set up good bedding for your chickens.
Small quantities of straw are enough to make comfortable bedding for your birds.
Straw is Easy to Compost
Many chicken keepers don’t utilize the deep litter technique to compost their coop bedding.
Instead, they use the old, worn-out bedding as compost. Because straw compost quickly, you can remove the old straw bedding from the coop and add the bedding to the compost pile.
Composting straw is easy because you only have to add it to the compost pile. This method is suitable for chicken raisers who want to make fertilizer for their gardens.
Thus, consider using straw as bedding for your chicken coop if you want to keep your chickens comfortable, and also get some fertilizer for growing vegetables in your garden.
Decaying straw can help add nutrients to your garden’s soil, ultimately boosting crop production. Simply put, you don’t need to purchase fertilizer if you use straw as coop bedding for your chickens.
The old straw bedding will compost fast, and you will have sufficient fertilizer for your garden in a few days after adding straw to the compost heap.
Straw is Cheap
Setting up good bedding for your chicken coop can be expensive, mainly if you use costly materials like hay.
Using straw can help you set up your coop bedding at a lower price. Straw is cheaper than other coop bedding materials, and almost every chicken keeper can afford it.
You can buy straw at an affordable cost from various suppliers. Besides being an inexpensive coop bedding material for chickens, straw is also widely available.
It’s readily available in many stores nationwide. You won’t strain to get straw because you will undoubtedly get it from your nearest store.
Straw Absorbs Moisture
Straw is highly absorbent compared to other chicken bedding materials. It can hold more water than most coop bedding materials.
One crucial factor chicken keepers must consider while selecting suitable bedding material for their coops is how well the material absorbs moisture.
Absorption is vital because you don’t want water to accumulate on your chicken coop bedding. You also don’t want a bedding material that will get soaking wet because it is non-absorbent.
Using straw as coop bedding for your chicken coop will ensure your chickens don’t sleep on wet bedding due to excess moisture.
Straw is Less Dusty
Chickens have delicate respiratory systems. It’s good to select a bedding material low in the dust to protect your chickens’ respiratory organs against dust.
Although some straw sources can be dusty, most are low in dust. For instance, non-chopped straw is relatively low in dust. However, you should use something other than non-chopped straw as the priority for your chicken coop bedding.
Non-chopped straw can lead to serious chicken problems, such as crop impaction. Furthermore, non-chopped straw can encourage pathogen growth in your chicken coop.
Overall, straw is low in dust and hence a good choice of bedding if you want to protect your chickens from the adverse side effects of living in a dusty coop.
Straw Insulates Really Well
The best insulation material for your chicken coop should offer the best insulation. Good bedding for your birds should offer the best insulation, especially during the cold months.
The advantage of straw bedding is that it has the best insulating features compared to other bedding materials. During wintertime, for instance, your straw bedding will keep your chickens warm even if you don’t have a heating lamp to keep your chickens warm.
The straw bedding will ensure there is no heat loss taking place on the coop’s floor. That’s why your birds will remain warm during winter if you set up comfy straw bedding in the cage.
Straw is Great for Deep Litter
The deep litter technique is increasingly becoming popular among chicken raisers. You will only have to change your chickens’ bedding using this method.
You will only have to add a fresh layer of straw bedding if your existing bedding gets old or is too worn out.
Your job is to add a fresh layer of straw bedding to the old bedding once it starts to become too worn out or when it starts becoming stinky. Adding a new layer will make the existing bedding deeper and deeper.
The straw bedding will compose gradually in the long run. You can use the bedding after a couple of months. Another advantage of adding a new layer of straw to the old straw bedding is that bacteria will break down the old layer while maintaining the new one.
As a result, you will have new bedding while eliminating the new layer in your coop. This is all that the deep litter method entails.
As a result of this method, your chicken coop will remain warmer, particularly during the cold winter months.
That’s why straw bedding is the best for chicken keepers interested in getting compost while keeping their chickens warm.
Can You Use Straw for Nesting Boxes?
Yes, straw is an excellent material to use on your chickens’ nesting boxes. This material is less dusty and more comfortable than most bedding materials. It’s also low in dust, and it insulates pretty well.
Your egg-laying hens will enjoy scratching on straw as they find a good laying point in the nesting boxes. Nonetheless, straw won’t release moisture accordingly, and it also doesn’t remain for a long duration.
Furthermore, straw can encourage the growth of the pathogen in your chickens’ nest boxes.
Nonetheless, straw can be a great material to keep in the nesting boxes if you can keep the boxes moisture-free or if you are ready to change the straw bedding frequently.
Drawbacks of Using Straw for Chicken Coop
Straw has its benefits as a bedding material for your chickens. However, it has drawbacks like other chicken coop bedding materials, including sawdust, hay, and wood shavings.
These are some disadvantages of using straw as a bedding option for your chickens:
- Straw isn’t a suitable litter– Straw may not only work as a proper bedding for your chickens. This bedding material should also work as good litter for your chickens. Unfortunately, straw doesn’t work as a suitable litter for chickens because it doesn’t stop the birds from getting dirty from their droppings. Although straw composes quickly and is highly absorbent, it only dries chicken droppings slowly.
- It doesn’t stay clean-Although straw can absorb moisture, it could absorb it better. Furthermore, straw doesn’t remain clean for long, so chicken keepers must replace straw beddings. A straw bedding won’t stay clean for your chickens in the long run.
- Straw may contain pesticides- leftover straw from farmers countrywide may contain pesticides because farmers grow straw using pesticides. Pesticides are toxic to chickens. They can also cause death.
- Straw can cause impacted crops– Non-chopped straw can lead to impacted crops in your chickens. Straw is hard for chickens to digest, so your birds will most likely suffer from impacted crops if they start pecking at the straw bedding in their coop.
Straw Bedding Alternatives of Chickens
Straw may be an excellent bedding material for your chickens’ bedding. However, the material is subject to limitations, and that’s why they are other alternative bedding materials for chickens.
Here are some excellent alternative bedding materials for chickens:
- Wood shavings-Wood shavings make great coop bedding for chickens because they are highly absorbent. They are also easy to clean, and they are odor free. Wood shavings from different woods are also readily available and cheap.
- Sand-Sand might sound like difficult bedding to apply to your chicken coop. However, it is easy to clean your sand bedding because you only need to remove the droppings on top of it. Sand is also absorbent; thus, your chicken coop will remain dry throughout if you use sand as bedding in your cage. Sand is also excellent for odor control in the cage. Sand is less dusty than straw, and it’s suitable for giving your chickens dust baths to help them get rid of mites and other external parasites.
- Recycled paper- Although it will take plenty of recycled paper to cover your chicken coop, recycled paper can make a great alternative to straw bedding. Recycled papers make good bedding for young chicks since it is gentle and soft on young chickens. However, recycled paper is highly absorbent, and you must change it frequently as bedding in your chicken coop.
Straw is among the best bedding materials to use in your chicken coop to keep your chickens comfortable and warm.
This material is readily available and less expensive than other chicken coop bedding materials.
Furthermore, it is perfect for chicken owners who want to try the deep litter method to compose their chickens’ waste or make fertilizer for their gardens.
Straw is one of the sustainable coop bedding materials, notwithstanding its drawbacks.