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DLM for run design questions

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

I am planning to get my first chickens soon, and am working on how to design the coop and run. I have learned so much about the deep litter method on this site and will use it in my new run.  My question is how to design the run to best accommodate it.  I will have a coop with a roofed walk-in run attached.  My question is how to avoid having the litter spill out when I open the run doors.  The site for the new coop and run is currently a 7' by 18' raised bed framed by 2x12's.  Should I have the bottom of the run door set above the 2x12 and dig out the soil that is currently in the frame to accommodate the coop and run?  Or would you start at the current level of the soil and build up from there?  Also, in your opinion, how deep should I allow for the deep litter method. My current plan is for 3 chickens in a 5'by5' run with a 60 sq ft run attached.  When those three hens slow down with the egg laying I would like to get three more chicks, but don't plan on ever having more than a flock of six total.  I am hoping to allow them to free-range when I am outside during the day and can keep an eye on them.  Thank you for any suggestions you have for me.

post #2 of 9

I'm not a DLM person (love my dropping boards), but I'll ask for some clarification so that others might be better able to advise you...

 

The 5x5 measurement is for their housing???  (you mentioned two different run sizes, so wasn't sure whether that was a typo)

 

I was under the impression that DLM was used inside the housing - is it used inside the runs too?? 

 

Not having good knowledge of DLM...digging out the beds would be more work, but less cost.  Building up would be quicker and less work intensive, but obviously would be a bit more money, as you'd need more lumber.

 

Hopefully a DLM expert will chime in here...

Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 


Oops.  I twas supposed to say a 5ft by 5ft raised COOP, attached to a 10ft x 6ft run.  And yes, I am asking about using the DLM in the run.  From perusing the forum, it sounds like many people are very happy with it.  This was the first question I've posted on the forum.  Thanks so much for pointing out my mistake to me.  Next time I'll try to proof-read better!

post #4 of 9
You'll want all doors (human and chicken) to be raised up about 12 inches to accommodate the litter. Whether you dig out your existing bed or build up is up to you.

I installed two 1x6 boards around the bottom of my coop. That holds the litter in but the birds can still fling it through my welded wire fencing. Using hardware cloth will prevent that.

Don't forget that you'll be standing on that litter when you're in the run so make sure you make the run tall enough to accommodate you.
post #5 of 9
Our run sits on blocks, which sit directly on the ground. The blocks are eight inches high, and above that there's about a foot of fine netting. The original aim of this was to stop litter from being kicked out, but it seems to keep flies out as well -- flies that fly low to the ground tend to bounce along the fine mesh horizontally and give up, instead of flying vertically and gaining access.

Will the wooden framing of the raised bed hold up over the years?
post #6 of 9

Think forward as to what this thing is going to look like after its in use for awhile. Rather than a muddy, smelly mess, maybe 6" to as much as 12" of deep litter.....not packed hard.....maybe a bit spongy.........more like having them run around on a large compost pile. Since it is covered, a bit dry on top and maybe moist underneath. If it gets a bit rank over time, toss on some more litter of some type, and/or a hand full of scratch grains and let them go to work turning it.

 

At first glance, that size run for only 3 birds may seem excessive, but in the long run, probably not. Probably about right.

 

And do set the door to the top of the 12" side boards. Pretty easy for you to step over to enter and it will help keep things from spilling out when you open the door, or worse, if it opens inward, prevent you from getting in at all.


Edited by Howard E - 5/30/16 at 5:55am
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for your replies.  This is just the information I was looking for.  I am hoping that 2X12 wood framing will hold up for quite a while in our climate.  We are in Santa Cruz county (California) on a ridge top lot with extremely fast draining sandy soil,  although idea of setting the run on blocks is something I will consider.  Also, I think I can enlarge the run to 7' by 10" with an additional 25 sq ft available of run space under the coop.  Thanks for giving me the push to make it as large as I possibly can.

post #8 of 9
We use the DLM in our covered run. The door sits 4" above the ground (on the 2" x 4" frame the run is built on). The deep litter is usually 4 - 6" deep. We haven't had any issue with it falling out or hindering open/closing of the door. Any litter that comes out through the hardware cloth sides is scooped up when we do the clean-out in spring.


2 Buff Orpingtons, 4 Black Sex Links,. 1 Golden Retriever, 1 "old man" cat and 2 Betta.
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2 Buff Orpingtons, 4 Black Sex Links,. 1 Golden Retriever, 1 "old man" cat and 2 Betta.
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post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

That would sure be a lot simpler, and look better than the 12" frame all around that we were planning.  We will be using ½ " hardware cloth so it sounds like it is just the door we need to worry about.  Thank you for your post and the pictures.  Very helpful!

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