Originally Posted by Daisy8s
Regarding the comments about the deep litter method...yes, this is a method instead of a precise bedding ingredient but no, it would not work with all of the ingredients listed in the poll. For example, you could not do the deep litter method with sand as the purpose of the deep litter method is to have the bedding ingredient breaking down alongside the poop in a continually composting action. The compost action releases some heat, which is why it's a great method for cooler climates as it is warmer underfoot than I imagine sand to be in the midst of winter.
Straw and hay would also be poor deep litter ingredients as they are too big to break down easily and tend to clump and hold moisture. The ideal deep litter bedding can be easily churned under by the scratching of the chickens because a) you want the fresh poop turned under to eliminate smell, and b) you want to introduce oxygen into the bedding to support composting.
I began my bedding with a 3-4 inch layer of composted dirt from my 2-yr-old compost pile to transfer all the necessary micro-organisms for composting. Then, I added yard waste (grass clippings and leaves). Every day I throw kitchen scraps (only fruit and veg, no meat or dairy) onto their bedding, especially targeting areas under the roost that have fresh manure. My goal is to have the chickens scratch under fresh manure in the process of eating the kitchen scraps. Every 8 weeks in summer and every 4-6 weeks in winter (depending on how much time they spend inside) I add another 6 inches of leaves and rake around any clumped/wet spots so they can dry out.
Every visitor I have to my coop comments on the fact that there is no smell. And, I only have to clean it once a year... in the spring this bedding will go right into my garden.
So, here is my question that I've been wanting to ask for awhile. Why do people use poop boards? In every other aspect of society we seek to bury poop as it it smelly and nasty to handle. Yet, poop boards are specifically designed to hold the poop up in the air (which means maximum smelliness, to me). I understand some people clean their poop boards daily but...what if you can't? Life happens and there would be times the poop boards wouldn't get cleaned. So, why create a system that requires daily cleaning or else there are seriously stinky consequences? I'm truly curious as I always feel like I'm missing something when people exclaim that they love their poop boards.
I like the deep litter method with yard waste as bedding because I clean only once a year and there is no smell from my coop.