Best Chicken Bedding for Coop Nesting Boxes, Baby Chicks, & Run

Are you searching for the best chicken bedding for coop nesting boxes, baby chicks brooding areas, and run. Hemp, paper, pine shavings, and straw are different types of chicken coop beddings.

But which chicken bedding is right to use in the coop floor, nesting box, brooder house, and run? Selecting the best bedding for a chicken coop is most important in poultry management.

Most of the chicken raisers were confused after looking at different types of chicken coop beddings in the market.

Choosing safe and suitable chicken coop beddings makes your coop free from ammonia and keep flocks healthy.

What is Chicken Coop Bedding?

Chicken coop bedding is the litter used on the coop floor, nesting boxes, and inside the chicks brooding area. It is used to avoid poopy floors and infection in flocks.

A fine chicken coop bedding provides a comfortable sitting to broody hens in nesting boxes. The hens lay their eggs safely. Eggs do not break because of the soft bedding inside chicken nesting boxes. 

Also, it keeps the chickens clean because the coop floor bedding absorbs all the moisture from the poop and keeps it dry.

The chicken coop bedding has so many different names like chicken bed, litter, bedding for nesting box, bedding for baby chicks, etc.

Top 7 Best Chicken Bedding for Coop Nesting Boxes, Baby Chicks, & Run

Let’s understand which chicken bedding is best for your coop nesting boxes, baby chicks and run area –

Last update on 2024-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1. Best Natural Paper Bedding for Baby Chicks

Paper chicken bedding is great for small baby chicks. Natural paper beddings are soft, which helps chicks to live comfortably.

You can use paper beddings inside the brooder house for newly-arrived baby chicks. It would help if you change paper beddings because they get dirty and wet quickly, but it is best for chick’s bedding.

My chicks love to run on paper bedding. I provide this type of bedding for the first 2-3 days.

Carefresh Small Pet Bedding: It is another paper fiber bedding that you can use for your baby chicks. You can use it for your brooding house and also inside the nesting box. It is also a good absorbent so you will not see any foul smell from the litter. Here is our guide on the best odor eliminator for a chicken coop.

Carefresh 99% Dust-Free White Natural Paper Small Pet Bedding with Odor Control, 50 L
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Last update on 2024-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Small Pet Select Natural Paper Bedding: This bedding is soft and comfortable for small chicks. You can use it during the brooding process. In place of using a newspaper, you can use this natural paper bedding because it takes time to settle.

Small Pet Select Premium Small Animal Bedding, Natural Soft Paper Bedding for Small Indoor and Outdoor Pets, Made in USA, 56 L Pack
  • Only the Best for You and Your Furry Friend: The ideal...
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  • Comfy Is Key: Super cozy and soft but still super...
  • Recommended Use: Line the bedding inside the pet's...
  • Pawtastic Products for Your Pet: When it comes to pet...

Last update on 2024-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. Best Hemp Bedding for Chickens

Industrial hemp bedding is one of the best bedding for a chicken coop. This soft bedding can absorb four times more than its weight.

It is more popular than pine shavings because of its good absorbing capacity. After absorbing droppings, hemp beddings release very little odor and also contain very less dust.

Hemp beddings easily trap ammonia and bad odor from litter. It is one of the best economical beddings for chicken farms. 

You can use this hemp bedding following the deep litter method. Turn over the hemp shavings every 1-2 days for better getting absorbent.

RentACoop Hemp Bedding: The best part of this branded hemp bedding for a chicken coop is that it is pesticide and insecticide-free. Also, it does not produce any bad smell and absorbs droppings and other moisture very fast.

RentACoop Premium Hemp Bedding (300 L) x 1 Pack - E.U. Grown for Chicken Coop, Nesting Boxes, Rabbits, Hamsters, Small Pets, Horses, Etc.
  • HIGHLY ABSORBANT & REDUCES ODOR - Chicken hemp bedding...
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  • DIMENSIONS - Package: 15" x 8" x 30" Weight: 31.4 lbs/...

Last update on 2024-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Rural365 Chicken Hemp Bedding: It is another popular brand which is selling most chicken products. This hemp chicken bedding shaving has no chemicals and bleach. It absorbs better than pine shavings and also it is safe for chickens.

Last update on 2024-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

3. Pine Shavings for Chicken Coop Bedding

Nowadays pine shavings are one of the popular bedding for chicken coops. It is fine pine shavings used in most of the small animal and backyard chicken coop.

If you want to keep the chicken coop clean and dry during the early stage of chicks, it is the best bedding. Pine shavings are natural and biodegradable.

The pine shavings do not break easily and dry fast. So, they are good for chicken coop bedding. Also, pine shavings are soft, so your roosters and hens will live comfortably on them.

Most of the pine shavings are completely dust-free, which ensures their durability. This can be easily used in the deep litter method.

Manna Pro Fresh Flakes, Pine Shavings for Chicken Coop Bedding: It is one of the best-recommended pine shavings available that is completely natural. You can use this in the kennel run area and open coops with chicken wire.

Manna Pro Fresh Flakes | Chicken Coop Bedding | Pine Shavings for Chicken Bedding | 4 Cubic Feet
  • All-natural & compostable pine shavings for coop...
  • Low dust
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Last update on 2024-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Small Pet Select- Pine Shavings: This is natural sustainable pine shavings bedding for chickens. It is heat dried for avoiding pathogens and phenols. It is suitable for all types of poultry birds in the barn, coops, and run.

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4. Paddy and Wheat Straw Bedding For Nesting Box

Staw beddings are another popular coop bedding for nesting boxes used by most poultry lovers. I also use wheat straw bedding in my backyard coop.

In a few countries with a lack of pine shaving and wheat straw, people use rice straw for small chicken flocks. Rice straw is not good as compared to wheat straw.

If you are living near a village area, you can easily get it from near farms. You will get straw for chicken nesting boxes at a very less price.

Wheat straw bedding is best for egg-laying hen nests because they provide a soft and cozy egg-laying inside nesting boxes.

AA Plus Shop 100% Natural Wheat Straw: This natural wheat straw is best for egg-laying hen bedding inside the nesting box. Placing it inside the big coop is not suitable but if you have a portable chicken coop then you can use it.

AA Plus Shop 100% Natural Wheat Straw Grass, Animal Bedding and Farm Wheat Straw (4LB)
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  • What you will receive - 1 Slab of Wheat Straw weighing...

Last update on 2024-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

5. Rice Hulls or Husk for Bedding

In most countries, rice hulls or husks are easy to get chicken bedding for coop and run. I use this in my broiler farms for beddings using the deep litter method.

It is one of my best chicken beddings which I’ve been using for the last seven years. This is cheap and good to use.

Rice husk is good for both chicks and adult chicken coop bedding. Because I am using it inside a broiler farm, I usually replace them with new ones every 20-21 days. 

But for free-range chickens, it will go longer than that. It is also easily dry; you have to flip by digging it using a trowel every 1-2 days. 

If it is available at a very low price, you can use them in your coop. Below we have provided a link from Amazon to show how it looks. It is very costly in online portals. First, try to buy husk from your nearest rice mills or store.

Nature’s Seed S-RICE-25-LB Rice Hulls: These rice hulls can be easily used as bedding in any type of chicken coop whether big or small. It is a natural, safe product for chickens as well as other poultry birds. Also, rice hulls and husks are a good absorbent to use inside the chicken coop as a litter option.

Nature's Seed S-RICE-25-LB Rice Hulls, 25 LBS
  • Rice hulls absorb liquid and can provide an anti-skid...
  • There are many other uses for rice hulls besides Their...
  • Prevent bridging of fluffy seeds in the drill
  • Made in United States

Last update on 2024-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

6. Sand Bedding

Sand bedding is one of the best litter options for a chicken coop. It is natural and non-toxic to chickens, and sand has a very low amount of pathogens.

Chickens also love to dust baths on sand bedding. Sand is also easily available in most of the states.

Always use granules sand for chicken coop bedding. Very fine granules like sand from the sea are not recommended for bedding because they easily get wet, and it takes time to dry.

You can also use sand inside chicken nesting boxes. Your birds will love to lay eggs on them. It is an economical, low cost and eco-friendly material for chicken bedding.

Sandis is best for both summer and winter chicken coop bedding. Sand becomes cooler in summer and warmer in winter. So your flocks live comfortably in all types of seasons.

7. Leaves for Bedding

Using leaves for chicken bedding is another good litter option that you can use inside the coop. But before using leaves, you must know their pros and cons and how to use them?

Always use dry leaves for chicken coop bedding because wet leaves are slippery, and they do not absorb liquid droppings.

We all know not getting dry leaves is a big deal because dry leaves fall once or twice a year. But it will help to save your hard-earned money for a few months.

You can use leaves bedding in a deep litter method, but you need lots of leaves compared to Pine shavings, rice husk, and straw bedding. 

I recommend you use shaded leaves for chicken bedding. To shred leaves put them all in a bag and jump or move on it. Then dump all shredded leaves inside your chicken coop.

There is a drawback of leaf beddings that if they are not turned, they get mold which may cause infection.

Uses of Chicken Coop Beddings

Beddings for a chicken coop are used in various stages of a chicken’s life. From the early days of baby chicks until their whole life. But the process and the places for chicken coop bedding are different.

For example, after buying chicks, we need to give brooding to them. In that situation, we need bedding for the brooder. 

If you raise chickens in the backyard you need beddings inside the nesting boxes. When pullets and hens lay eggs, they need comfy bedding inside their nesting coop.

It avoids the coop floors from getting wet if you put 10-12 inches of bedding.

Let’s understand it more clearly.

Bedding Used On Baby Chicks Brooder Guard Floor

Baby chicks are very sensitive to all environmental facts. In the initial stage of life, they need special care, like brooding, electrolytes, and pre-starter feed.

But bedding is most important inside the brooder guard because it avoids contact with their body from the floor. This provides them with a warm environment and cozy living.

If the bedding for chicks is not given, the brooder floor becomes wet because chicks spill watery around the waterer (chicken drinkers) and poops a lot.

If baby chicks become wet they may shiver from cold which may cause initial viral and bacterial infection.

Also, baby chick bedding inside the brooder house provides a warm temperature to them, helping them live comfortably. This helps in the better growth and development of chicks.

On the first day of a chick’s arrival, giving clean newspaper or paper is one of the best beddings for chicks. You can also use natural paper beddings, wood shavings, hay for chick’s beddings.

Always remember to change chicks’ bedding inside the brooder daily till 6-12 days of age. After that, you must flip the litter upside down daily using a trowel. It keeps the chicken bedding dry and clean.

Chicken Coop Bedding for Adult Flocks

Adult chickens make more mess by dropping poop on the coop floor. For keeping the poultry house and flocks clean, you must need the best chicken coop bedding.

These chicken beddings help regulate clean air inside the coop, keep the flocks beautiful, and save birds from cold in winters. This also keeps the chicken’s body temperature warm and saves them from other health problems.

The most common types of chicken coop beddings used in poultry houses are : 

  1. Natural paper bedding.
  2. Hemp beddings.
  3. Pine shavings for bedding.
  4. Paddy and wheat straw bedding.
  5. Rice hulls or husk for bedding.
  6. Sand bedding.
  7. Shredded Leaves.

We will discuss all the above beddings and their pros and cons below.

Most industrial chicken farms and small-scale backyard farmers use the deep litter method (build-up method) using any of the above beddings. 

In this method, the coop bedding is flipped every 24 hr. It helps in avoiding dampness and coccidia inside the coop.

Also, in a deep litter system, the waste is removed by the growth of good microbes, which make their homes in the litter. The litter is replaced with fresh beddings every 2-3 weeks.

Bedding For Chicken Nesting Boxes

Chicken bedding is required inside nesting boxes if you have good egg-laying chicken breeds.

If you do not provide good chicken bedding inside the nesting boxes, the egg may break. Also, providing good bedding encourage hens to go broody.

Overall, good coop beddings provide a safe, clean, and relaxing egg-laying experience to the broody hen. It also helps the hen for a comfortable egg-laying, hatching, and brooding.

Can we use cedar shavings for the chicken coop bedding?

No cedar shavings are not recommended for chicken coop beddings. Dust present in cedar shavings is toxic to chickens.

They release plicatic acid, which causes various types of respiratory diseases in poultry birds.

Most of the research says that it may cause asthma, cough, rhinitis, breathing problems, and may cause death. Cedar shavings may increase the normal mortality rate from 3 to 50%.

Are pine shavings safe for chickens?

Yes, pine shavings are safe for chickens. They are one of the popular chicken coop beddings used in poultry coops. Some chicken raisers recommend it and some do not.

Due to its good absorbent, it is widely used all over the world. It is soft and dry easily. Use can also use it in deep litter system chicken coop floors.

As compared to other chicken beddings it is cheap in price and also reusable as compost in backyard gardens. They are easy to use and lightweight.

The litter has a high tendency of bacterial growth and has a high odor. So, few backyard chicken raisers do not recommend it. Now the decision is yours.

How often to change chicken bedding?

Over the period the chicken bedding becomes hard and unusable because of excessive deposition of chicken poop (litter). When the litter becomes hard and gives a foul smell you need to change the chicken beddings.

If you are raising a lots of chickens in a coop you must change the litter or chicken coop beddings once a month. For a coop with 3-5 chickens, the beddings may last up to 3-5 months.


We have explained a few popular types of chicken coop beddings. We have also discussed their pros and cons and which type of bedding you should not use inside your coop.

Now we all know how chicken bedding is an essential part of poultry management. We can conclude that paper bedding is best for baby chicks and pine shavings are best for coop bedding for adult chickens.

Wheat straw bedding is best for nesting boxes. Also, send is one of the cheapest and easy to get materials you can use for your small chicken coop.

I hope this informative article on chicken coop bedding helped you in your backyard farming. What type of bedding do you use inside your chicken coop?

We will love to read your comments below.

Bijaya Kumar
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