- Make sure you clean your coop out thoroughly before laying down your cardboard bedding. I always put a layer of Diatomaceous Earth down first to get rid of any lingering bugs and parasites. Allow the coop to air dry out (if there were any wet spots from feces or bedding) for an hour or so before putting your bedding down.
- Put your bedding down in a thick layer on your coop floor. You want to make sure it’s a few inches deep so that the chickens feces never actually touch your coop floor when it falls to the ground from the roost. You also need room to “stir” the cardboard bedding, so you’ll need lots of bedding.
- Every morning or once a day before roosting time, take a rake and stir your cardboard bedding all around. This makes the feces that lay on top of the bedding dry out quicker and detracts flies and other unwanted bugs. You are basically composting inside of your chicken coop.
- On extra hot summer days, it might need a boost of Sweet PDZ. However, if you’re doing it properly, your coop will most likely never “stink”. If you do need to add sweet PDZ, just sprinkle a thin layer over the entire surface of the cardboard bedding. Sweet PDZ is a natural deodorizer and can actually help in the breaking down process.
- Your bedding should NEVER be wet or heavy. If maintained properly, it should remain light and dry the entire time. If it becomes wet for whatever reason, change it immediately.
- This bedding should last 4-6 months with a small to medium sized flock of chickens. For a flock of 25+ chickens, you may find that you change it more often, depending on your location and preferences. When it comes time to put down new bedding, simply rake out the old bedding (it should NEVER be wet or heavy enough for a shovel) and use it in your compost or worm bins.
However, my biggest love about this bedding is that my chickens love it. We saw quite the health improvement versus straw and other dusty beddings. Whenever we put down new straw or wood shavings, the chickens often have irritated sinuses. But not with cardboard bedding.There is no dust or pollen in the cardboard bedding, which is also a wonderful option for me since it allows me to put down bedding without wearing a mask and while also taking unnecessary allergy medicines.
Overall, it is the healthiest option for our chickens, and we will now be using it all year long rather than just the summer months.
Amy K. Fewell is an author, family herbalist, entrepreneur, homesteader, and homemaker. Living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, her and her family live a natural homesteading lifestyle where they promote self-sufficiency and liberty. Amy is the founder of the Homesteaders of America organization and annual events. You can discover more on this website and at homesteadersofamerica.com