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Enlcosed Run/deep litter

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hello all, I am new to chicken culture (4 new chicks) and am embarking on building my coop. I live in an area with just about every predator from above and below around (a neighbor had a chicken carried off by an eagle!). So I am thinking about building a 4' x 4' coop with a 4' x 10' enclosed run. For the run I'm planning on having hardware cloth under the entire run, sides and under roofing. I have been reading about deep litter and would like to try that. I'm wondering if I need to dig down (how far?) or just remove grass with sod cutter and start from there? Does anyone use deep litter in the coop itself? how deep? how do they manage it? Is this enough room for the chickens to be healthy and happy? Will there really be no odor?

Also do chickens like window in the coop? I see windows in lots of fancy coops but I Always though chickens like to roost where it's dark. Am I wrong?

I realize this may be a common thread, so if there is already stuff to read, point me that way!

Thanks- any comments on deep litter appreciated!

post #2 of 7
Just a bit of advice: go bigger if you can. There is never such thing as "too much room" in a coop and run and I've found that the more room you give them, the easier it is to manage poop and litter.

I do deep litter in my 8x12 run and I love it. LOVE IT! Your birds will enjoy digging down into it so you may want to reconsider the hardware cloth bottom. Many people either bury hardware cloth down around the run or lay a hardware cloth apron that extends 2' from the run. Either will give you great predator protection and your birds will be free to dig in the litter without risk of damaging their feet.

One more tip. Plan on at least 8-12 inches of litter in the run for best results. Boards around the bottom will help hold in the litter. Maintaining a deep layer of litter might mean you need to build taller to give yourself headroom if you plan on having a walk-in run. Even if you won't have a run you can stand in, remember that the chickens need headroom too so just add a foot to your plan's vertical dimensions and you'll be fine.
post #3 of 7

I am new but here are my plans. I have had my 9 birds for 2 weeks now, they don't have the grass in the run down to the dirt yet. I am going to allow them to do that then I will start adding grass clippings, leaves, etc to the run to keep it from being muddy and be the deep litter.  I don't see a need at all for you to remove the grass, the birds will do that for you in no time.  I don't yet know how my plan will work out and it could very well change but those are my thoughts.  I have 5 acres and lots of trees, so grass clippings, leaves, etc are an abundance around here. I am just going to fill the run with the stuff as needed.

post #4 of 7

Ditto the Go bigger.

Ditto the No need to remove grass.

 

Windows are good, for both light and ventilation.....especially if the are hinged at the top so can be left open all summer despite rainfall. Must be protected with well attached 1/2" hardware cloth against predators.

 

2 articles in my signature on Space and Ventilation...excellent reading before you build your coop.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #5 of 7

I also use the deep litter method in my run.  However, don't do what I've done.  I've used primarily wheat straw in addition to the food scraps and occasional dusting of DE.   I don't have issues with smell nor is it muddy/mucky.  My issue is the straw is compacting more than composting.  Now deep down - it looks awesome.  But roughly the first 5 inches or so is just compacted poop and straw.  

 

I think the best route to go when doing the deep litter is diversity.  Use can use wheat straw, pine needles, leaves, grass, shredded paper, etc.. Diversity is the key.  

post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by DntBrnDPig View Post
 

I also use the deep litter method in my run.  However, don't do what I've done.  I've used primarily wheat straw in addition to the food scraps and occasional dusting of DE.   I don't have issues with smell nor is it muddy/mucky.  My issue is the straw is compacting more than composting.  Now deep down - it looks awesome.  But roughly the first 5 inches or so is just compacted poop and straw.  

 

I think the best route to go when doing the deep litter is diversity.  Use can use wheat straw, pine needles, leaves, grass, shredded paper, etc.. Diversity is the key.  

Absolutely ....you need a mix of size and types of materials......

......and leave out the DE, waste of money and may kill organisms that you want alive.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #7 of 7

I'm a big believer in DE.  I use it in my potting soil mix - I've even used in my worm beds.  

 

I use it to kill ants in my garden, keep fungus gnats at bay for indoor pots, and helps keep mites off the chickens. 

 

I know it works for these things which to me outweighs the possibility that it hurts other beneficial organisms.  I can tell you though my soil is very active and alive.

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