Coffee GroundsMore and more folks are just learning about using [used] Coffee Grounds as bedding for their chicken coops — but is it even safe?! We’re sure you know how important it is to keep a clean coop; which of course includes scooping out poop weekly if not daily, keeping your Poop Board, nesting boxes, and overall coop clean. Using pine shavings is a great substrate to use (over many others), which substantially improves smell, moisture, mess, etc. The only issue is that, although considerably low, the cost of pine shavings over time, can certainly add up. Not to mention the fact that pine shavings break down into dust and fine particles which linger in the air.

Then, there are coffee grounds. Used coffee grounds as bedding for chicken coops is becoming more and more popular, and in addition to the aroma of coffee in your coop, the honest truth is that most chickens don’t really actually “eat” it. That’s not to say they don’t peck at it here and there; but even if you’re using your own coffee grounds that have caffeine in them (yeah, not so good for chickens), using ones that you got from your local coffee shop or even Starbucks should be just fine.

Disclosure: Coop bedding and management are entirely a personal choice, and vary greatly based on experience, geographical location, climate, resources available, etc. To us, coffee is the best choice, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the best choice for you.

Several years ago, it wasn’t hard to find bags of coffee ground litter at Tractor Supply Co (TSC for short), however not only were they more expensive than pine shavings, but they’ve since been discontinued by the manufacturer.

So the big questions are: What are the benefits of using coffee grounds? and of course, Is using coffee grounds in my coop SAFE?

Luckily the answers to both of these questions are easy. Besides having your coop smelling like breakfast — who doesn’t love the aroma of coffee (which does fade over time), old grounds are given a second life. Then maybe even a third chance when (or if) you dispose of them because they can be composted too! The grounds are perfect for scooping like cat litter, and so you’re able to remove most of the droppings from the coop on a daily basis really easily.

Coffee is lightweight and dust-free, so it is more manageable than sand, which can’t be composted or reused. If you collect your own used grounds, the bedding is also free! Who doesn’t love free? Plus, if you don’t drink THAT much coffee, many local cafes will keep their used grounds for you upon request.


Used Coffee Grinds Now Available at StarbucksIs Using Coffee Grounds Safe for Chickens?

This is the most common question, and the most debated question. In our experience, chickens do not eat the used coffee grounds inside of their coop so toxicity has not been a concern.

As to whether it is safe for chickens to actually eat, that is a hot topic! Caffeine is a member of the methylxanthine family, and methylxanthines are potentially toxic to pets in certain quantities, but research is limited on chickens.

It’s easy to find various opinions online from bloggers; several of which state that caffeine can be toxic to chickens. Hobby Farms states that coffee grounds shouldn’t be fed to chickens, but that coffee chaff makes acceptable bedding. Remember, chickens are not mammals, and mammals are the pets that most data is based upon in terms of toxicity…

If a chicken or any pet ingests caffeine, it will only take about 30 minutes to one hour before signs of clinical toxicity will manifest. Besides affecting calcium absorption rates, it can also interfere with their central nervous, respiratory, and circulatory systems; and in rare cases, may even lead to death!

When researching scientific publications, “no scientific articles on feeding coffee to poultry were found, and therefore, further studies using coffee dregs, because it is a cheap byproduct and with economic potential, are recommended.” The unspoken conclusion here would be coffee does not appear toxic to chickens when consumed continuously in moderate amounts for a period of five to six months.

Drying Coffee Grounds

Before using coffee grounds in your coop, drying is very important because coffee grounds can mold. In the beginning we didn’t stir our drying coffee often enough and would find moldy clumps. That went straight to the (green) compost! We dry our personal coffee grounds on a tray in the kitchen. The larger bags of used coffee grinds that we get from our local coffee shop, we spread out on a large baking tray in a thin layer then throw it in the oven at the lowest setting for an hour or two.


Unfortunately, it’s been temporarily discontinued until the manufacturer can catch up to pending back orders (late summer). The company “Grounds Powered By Coffee” gets all of their coffee grounds from a company called JavaHouse. The owner of Grounds says that JavaHouse isn’t making enough coffee to keep up with the demands of the coffee ground bedding. In an effort to help, they’re offering coupons for JavaHouse products in hopes that it will help with the high demand for the bedding…

This is the Promo Code the owner is giving everyone:
Use discount code GROUND10 for 10% Off your first purchase.

Using Coffee Grounds