When you first start keeping livestock, be it poultry, horses, goats or other animals, one particular item comes up fairly quickly. Dealing with stalls, coops or other housing, would be much easier with some type of bedding.
Livestock bedding comes in a wide assortment – and you could easily find people willing to argue for or against all of them. However, you are that one that is still stuck having to make the decision about which one is best.
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The Best Livestock Bedding
It boils down very simply. You want something that gives the animals a healthy environment, but also makes your life a little easier as well – and you want it cheap. Not asking for much, are you? Actually, we do not think you are!. For some time we have been using hay as our bedding in both our goat pen and duck coop.
However, we recently have been looking to permaculture (imitating nature to do all the things we want to in a small farm environment) and have really enjoyed the idea of using wood chips – for just about anything.
So, that is what we are doing – we are chipping wood to use as a bedding in these areas. So far the results are great – less mess, stays cleaner looking, more abundantly available for us — and free (ok, we do have to put some gas in the chipper, but it truly is negligible).
We will keep you up to date on how this process goes, but we cannot imagine any foreseeable changes.
Bedding that Pays you Back
Our livestock areas, most specifically the duck coop, or duck house if you like, pays us back for our bedding efforts. It takes no effort for us to find handfuls of garden worms, known as red wigglers. As the bedding decomposes the worms are fed, procreate, and make even more worms for our use.
In the near future we plan to use these worms around here, by expanding their habitat throughout the property – but ultimately we plan to harvest the worms and their vermicast (worm manure) for sale. Until then, their efforts in repairing our soil throughout the property is ample return for our bedding efforts.