Common Types of Poultry Litter Material

This table suggests some common types of poultry litter material for your farm.

(Each option has its own features and a final decision should be carefully considered.)

Poultry Litter Examples #

Litter Material Advice
Pine shavings and sawdust Popular. Supply becoming limited - high competition = higher prices.
Hardwood shavings and sawdust Can readily soak up moisture. Mould threat.
Pine or hardwood chips Popular. If left wet can cause birds to get blistered breasts.
Rice hulls Good if you can get it at the right price. Young chicks can eat this. Little moisture absorption.
Peanut hulls Can be cheap where peanuts are produced. Can cake and dust - but there are ways around this. Can grow mould leading to aspergillosis. Can contain pesticide (toxins).
Coconut husks Can get it cheap where produced. A tendency to dust or cake.
Sand A thin layer in dry climates can work well. Needs constant management to keep clean, level and well distributed. Doesn't provide as much insulation to cold through floor as other litter materials. Need lots of drying time before use.
Crushed corn cobs Not as widely available as other materials. Can cause breast blisters on birds.
Chopped straw or hay Cakes and moulds easily. But if used 50/50 with wood shavings this improves results. It is slow to decompose.
Straw pellets Compared with sawdust: holds more moisture, but cakes less easily.
Processed paper Difficult in high humidity. Can cake easily, so why not use wood shavings on top?
Chemically treated straw pellets
Peat moss Has been successfully trialled.
Flax straw No cake, no dust, highly absorbant.
Recycled litter Simply not a good idea - a massive risk of disease.

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