Originally Posted by cutestchickens
Hello BYC community!
I read a lot of different articles/posts about the deep litter method and I'm interested in doing that for my chicken coop. However, even after reading a lot of posts, I am still a little confused so here are some questions I'm hoping can be answered:
(1) Some people say to sprinkle some food grade diatomaceous earth in the mix to help reduce odor and natural pest control. However, I also see some posts that discourage the use of diatomaceous earth because it kills the healthy composting microbes. So which is actually better - do I use it or not?
(2) Do you use the deep litter method inside the chicken coop itself, inside the run, or both? I purchased a coop online that contains both the coop to house the chickens inside and a run, so I'm wondering where I'm supposed to do the DLM.
(3) Some people suggest using "sweet pdz horse stall refresher" to help with odor. Can I use this in conjunction with the deep litter method? Or will it be unnecessary?
Welcome to BYC! This forum was a lifesaver when we first got chickens. Everyone was so helpful. I enjoy passing on what I've learned.
1- I have used DE but honestly, not routinely and can't give any pros or cons. I have sprinkled it in the the nesting boxes under the hay to deter mites/lice. We haven't had any mites with or without. Since we use wood ash in the dust bath mixture and that is suppose to naturally deter mites and lice, I stopped buying it.
2- We do the Deep Litter Method in the run. Our coop floor is OSB so we don't encourage moisture which is needed for the breakdown of the "litter". We use pine flakes in the coop. Our run is covered with a solid roof but gets enough moisture from blowing rain to allow this decomposing. We use hay, straw, grass clippings, leaves, landscape debris and pine needles, whatever is available. We add these materials through out the year then do a complete clean out in the spring. All that beautiful compost gets tilled into the garden.
The poo breaks down along with the materials. We have someway found the correct balance that works for us, so there is no odor or flies but each situation is different with climate, size of run, and number of chickens. You want to balance the greens with the browns.
3-We have a poopboard under the roost, it's filled wil PDZ. It gets sifted out everyday or so but the PDZ does help with odor. We use the granular type and makes sifting much easier, sort of like cat litter.
Hope this helps.