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Deep Litter Method, Please explain, Questions from Newbie thanks Sunny

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Hi all,  I was interested in the "deep litter" method.  Essentially it sounds like you let stuff compost on the ground under the chickens and the heat keeps the coop dry and warm.  Here are my questions.  1.  Do you did out the ground a bit so the compost does not pile up next to the wood walls.
2.  How do you keep the side walls from rotting if the coop is directly in the dirt.  3.  What type of shavings to you use?  I desperately need materials for compostings so I would be happy to have 2-3 chickens or so.  Thanks Sunny

post #2 of 28

i don't think that deep litter necessarily means a dirt floor. It means that the litter you use, be it shavings or what have you, is piled, layer by layer as needed. Hopefully, the chickens will turn it over or move the litter around by "scratching". I think you start with a few inches and build from there. My question is,  How much litter do you add before you have too much?

post #3 of 28

Here is a link to some good information in another thread about the deep litter method.   
But here are the basics:

Start with a 4 inch layer of shavings and stir it up once a week and add a little more shavings as needed to keep things fresh.  Some folks throw corn/scratch on the coop floor occasionally to get the chickens to do the stirring for them.   Since the shavings can build up to as much as a foot deep,  you will most likely need to add a board across the bottom of the door way so that the shavings dont spill out everytime you open the door.  Oh yeah,  and your coop door needs to open outward rather than in. 



In answer to your specific questions:

1. If you already have a dirt floor, then  no,  I would not dig out the dirt at all.  Just leave it packed tight.  Deep litter method can be done on top of dirt, cement,  wood,  stone,  brick, or even linoleum.

2.  Is this an existing coop?  If so,  the bottom boards that contact the dirt may be made out of pressure treated wood or a rot resistant wood such as redwood or cedar.  On the outside of your coop you should make sure that the ground slopes away from the coop to avoid water causing rot.  The build up of composted litter inside the building will not cause rot.  The deep litter method is a dry compost.  You will need to make sure that you dont have a leaking waterer  or other leaks that allow the shavings to become soggy.

3.   Use pine shavings.  Do not use cedar shavings because of the harmful fumes.   Some people mix a tiny bit of cedar shavings in with the pine to deter pests but most people do not. 

chel

post #4 of 28

Does this mean over the entire floor and you just walk on it?  My c&d will not sleep in the roosts only the floor. How do I get them into their nesting boxes?

Michele

post #5 of 28

or anyone who has an answer.

post #6 of 28

Need help do I need to cover the whole coop for deep litter method

post #7 of 28

Hi Michele45,  Yes, you'd be covering the whole coop floor. If you covered only part it'd end up spread out over the whole area eventually anyway, wouldn't it? It sure would in mine. I use pine all shavings, but the idea of adding a small amount of cedar to keep it fresh sounds good to me too, especially in winter. As long as there's nothing harmful to chickens in the cedar. I'm brand new to ALL of this so I have a million questions!!

This Chicken Lady has 5 BR, 4 BSL, 8 RIR, 3 Buff Orps,4 NHR, 1 cochin mix chick hatched at home, 1 hubby (42 yrs now, I think I'll let him keep me), 1 daughter with hubby and two girls, 1 son with wife, 2 girls, 1 son still single, 7 ducklings of yet to be determined breeds and sexes and 1 sweet terrier named Grace. Life is good.
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This Chicken Lady has 5 BR, 4 BSL, 8 RIR, 3 Buff Orps,4 NHR, 1 cochin mix chick hatched at home, 1 hubby (42 yrs now, I think I'll let him keep me), 1 daughter with hubby and two girls, 1 son with wife, 2 girls, 1 son still single, 7 ducklings of yet to be determined breeds and sexes and 1 sweet terrier named Grace. Life is good.
Reply
post #8 of 28

The off gassing from cedar is harmful to chickens.

Owned by two old dogs (yellow lab and a big, red, fuzzy mutt) and four chickens (Buff Orpington, Barred Rock, and two Easter Eggers)
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Owned by two old dogs (yellow lab and a big, red, fuzzy mutt) and four chickens (Buff Orpington, Barred Rock, and two Easter Eggers)
Reply
post #9 of 28

I only use dried tree leaves, have four laying chics and one cock, giving them whole wheat, rice husk, lentil, different oilseeds only as daily meal. No smell in coop and do well for the last eight months.

post #10 of 28

Hey Folks,

I just ordered Easter Chicks.  I am trying to figure out coop details.  I live in Florida and am wondering if the DLM works well here with all of the summertime humidity?  Anyone with Florida DLM experience?tongue


Edited by xany xu - 2/16/11 at 2:16pm
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BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance › Deep Litter Method, Please explain, Questions from Newbie thanks Sunny