coffee chaff: upcycled chicken bedding

People are always teasing the modern backyard farmer with their thousand-dollar chicken coops about the true cost of their eggs. While our coop was closer to half that price tag, we have talked about our choice to use pricier organic, local chicken feed. With that in mind, anywhere we can cut costs seems like a great idea. How about free bedding?

Coffee chaff is a byproduct of coffee roasting. Have you ever roasted hazelnuts? Those papery flecks of skin that come off the hazelnuts are similar to coffee chaff.

We learned right away when we brought our chicks home and had them all set up in the brooder that there is one downside to using coffee chaff. It is really lightweight and easily gets kicked up into their food and water. While they were in the brooder, we mixed coffee chaff with pine shavings to solve that problem. Thanks to the smart design of our Garden Coop, our chickens always have access to their outdoor run and their food and water can be kept separate from their bedding. As we run out of pine shavings, we have been using more and more coffee chaff without any problems.

Here the ladies are strutting around in freshly changed bedding. I keep saying bedding, but it is really more like chicken litter. They sleep up on their roost. We have found that we can just layer more bedding on top once a week and change it out once a month. Some people do a deep litter method where they encourage the chickens to turn it and add layers as needed, going for as long as a year before changing it out.

You can see we still have some pine shavings left. We continue to use a higher chaff to pine ratio and expect we won’t have to buy another bag of wood shavings.

We store the coffee chaff in a big garbage can in the garage. It is so lightweight that it is easy to transport back and forth. The first local coffee roaster we went to was more than happy to let us take some bags of coffee chaff before it was tossed out. Thanks, Olympia Coffee Roasting Co.! We just have to stop by on the right day of the week. It’s been pretty easy so far, and we have a few other coffee roasters we could check with if we were in need.

Having the faint aroma of coffee in the coop is just an added bonus.

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3 Comments

Filed under chickens

3 responses to “coffee chaff: upcycled chicken bedding

  1. Interesting. I had no idea about coffee chaff. I’ll have to find a local roaster when the time comes.

  2. Nice idea. I hadn’t heard that one!

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