I am retired and home a lot. I have 11 Wyandotte chickens in a 5' x 20' coop. I added about 8"-9" deep of wood shavings in hopes that I would not have to change the bedding more than once in a year or more. I clean the droppings about 3 times a day from the top of the shavings and have a large dropping board under their perch with PDZ. So in effect the 8" bed of shavings stays almost pristine as if new indefinitely. I haven't yet, but might add some Diatomaceous Earth powder to control mites or bugs if needed. But my question is, am I doing a good thing by keeping the shavings free or nearly free of droppings or do the droppings serve a beneficial purpose? Would I be better off just letting the droppings stay in the shavings stirring them up occasionally to keep them dry and let it become some sort of mulch? It seem almost counter intuitive to have months and months of accumulated bird poop in the bedding. The poop is pretty disgusting especially that gooey secum poop, (you know what I am referring to).
I should mention, I also have a 5' x 60 foot long dirt run that the chickens use during the day although they do seem to spend a lot of time in the coop during the day because it is so clean and comfortable and they seem to love it. I don't mind cleaning although it is something I just started doing so maybe down the line it will grow into more of a chore and less of something I will keep doing. Anyway, I am not sure entirely if just poop and dry pine wood shavings is enough or okay for the deep liter method of coop management. Most of the people who do the deep liter seem to add other things like leaves and grass etc. I don't want to do that nor do I have the resources to do that so it will never be more than wood and poop. Approximately how long can I go between changing the bedding if I allow all the poop to stay in the shavings and just stir it up occasionally and do I run the risk of contaminating the coop with all that built up bacteria from the poop with no dirt or other bedding material besides the wood shavings?
Thanks, I am really trying to understand the coop liter issue but there is so much conflicting information I am just a bit confused.