What is the Best Bedding for Chickens in the WINTER?

Two chickens in the grass

What is the best bedding for chickens in the winter, or just in general? There are a few options available, each with its benefits and drawbacks. This article will discuss the different types of bedding available and tips on choosing the right one for your flock. So if you’re looking into what the best bedding is for chickens, then keep on reading.

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Benefits of Using the Correct Type of Bedding

white chickens in a group
There are many benefits to using proper bedding with your chickens. Be sure to choose bedding that stays dry and is comfortable.
Using the correct type of bedding will help your chicken stay clean and dry, which will help prevent diseases and parasites. Chickens also like to scratch and peck at their bedding, so using a material they can easily manipulate will help keep them entertained and prevent boredom. In addition, bedding can provide insulation against the cold and absorb noise, making it ideal for use in chicken coops. Plus of course, you want the bedding to be comfortable for them. Ultimately, the best bedding for chickens is the one that best meets their needs and provides them with the most comfort as they sleep at night. Read our related article, Do Chickens Sleep Standing Up? See how chickens sleep in this informative post!

How to Choose the Best Bedding for Chickens

white chicken
Take everything into consideration when choosing a bedding material. Be sure to pick what’s best for your chickens.
When choosing the best bedding for your chickens, there are many things to consider. The type of chicken, the climate, and the available space will all play a role in determining what bedding is best for your flock.

Chicken Type

One of the most important factors to consider is your chicken type. Different chicken breeds have different preferences when it comes to bedding. For example, some chicken breeds like to scratch and dig, while others prefer a softer surface. Read More: Black and White Chicken Breeds. These beautiful chickens would make a great addition to any flock!


Another essential factor to consider is the climate. If you live in a hot environment, you’ll want to use bedding that helps keep your chickens cool and comfortable. Conversely, if you live in a cold climate, you’ll wish for bedding that helps keep your chickens warm and dry.

Available Space

The final factor to consider is the amount of space you have available. If you have a large flock, you’ll need more bedding than a small flock. Additionally, if you have limited space, you’ll want to choose bedding that doesn’t take up too much room. Read More: What is a Chicken Tractor Coop? Chicken tractors can be moved around your yard to fertilize the grass and give your chickens a fresh place to graze. Learn more!

Types of Bedding

chickens on farm with a barn in the background
Straw and wood shavings are the two most popular bedding types for chickens.
Chickens need a dry, clean place to sleep that is comfortable and offers some insulation from the cold. Several types of bedding can be used for chickens, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s look at some popular options.


Straw bedding is one of the most popular options for chicken bedding.
  • It’s very absorbent which helps to keep the chicken coop dry and free from bacteria.
  • It can also help to provide a bit of insulation when it comes to cooler temperatures.
One downside is that it is a bit difficult to clean as you typically must just replace the straw. Removing and replacing the straw can be a hard task and it can get a little costly with having to replace it often.

Wood Shavings

Wood shavings are a great option if you live in a wet climate as they are very absorbent. They also provide adequate insulation in cooler months. It’s easy to access but it is a similar situation as with the straw where cleaning is more like replacing the bedding. 


Sand is actually pretty absorbent as well so it’ll be great for those in wet climates or who have bodies of water close by their ducks. Unfortunately though, sand is not very insulating for the winter and it can get very hot in the summertime if it’s not shaded.

Grass Clippings

Grass Clippings are free and probably one of the most natural chicken bedding materials as this is likely what they’d use in the wild. Grass clippings can be easy to have if you have a yard with good tall grass. Otherwise, it might be hard to find in large quantities. They also will need to be replaced frequently as the straw or wood chips would. Each type of chicken bedding has its benefits and drawbacks, so choosing the style that best suits your needs is essential. Read our related article on How to Keep Duck Bedding Dry. Wet bedding spells disaster for your livestock. Here’s how to keep it dry.

How to Prepare and Use Bedding for Chickens

There are a few different types of bedding that can be used for chickens, but not all of them are equally effective. Here’s a step-by-step guide to preparing and using bedding for chickens:
  1. Choose the type of bedding you want to use. Straw and wood shavings are the most common options, but others are also available.
  2. Prepare the bedding by fluffing it up or chopping it into smaller pieces, depending on your type.
  3. Place the bedding in the chicken coop, leaving enough space for the birds to move around freely.
  4. Change the bedding regularly, at least once a week, or more often if necessary. It will help to prevent the spread of disease.
  5. Safely dispose of the old bedding by composting it or placing it in the trash.

Which Type of Bedding is Best for a Flock?

When it comes to chicken coops, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to bedding. Various materials are used, and the best bedding for your flock will depend on several factors, including the climate, the size of the coop, and the preference of your chickens. Some of the most popular types of bedding include straw, wood chips, pine shavings, and sand.
  • Straw is a popular choice because it’s absorbent and insulating, but it can be challenging to clean out and may harbor pests.
  • Wood chips are absorbent and help control odors, but they can be messy and difficult to keep dry.
  • Pine shavings are soft and comfortable for chickens but can be dusty and pricey.
  • Sand is an excellent choice for absorbency and cleanliness, but it can be hard on chicken feet and tough to keep dry in wet climates.
Here’s a video testing out three different types of chicken bedding:

Ultimately, the best bedding for your flock will depend on your circumstances. You’ll find the perfect solution for your coop with a little trial and error.


So, what is the best bedding for chickens? The answer to that question may vary depending on your specific situation, but straw or hay generally make excellent chicken bedding materials. They are absorbent and help keep the coop clean and dry. It’s going to take a bit of trial and error to help you find the best bedding for your chickens, but hopefully, this helped you out with that decision.

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