But interested in learning more.
Does deep litter have any benefits for the chickens? Or is it mainly a convenience for us?
Lots or I wouldn't even be doing it.
Here's a link to information about the health benefits of it all, though there are a few points in his article I don't necessarily agree with regarding the type of material to use and how to manage it, but the rest is spot on:
ETA: I'm definitely no expert on this method, though I have explored it for some years now, I still feel like I'm learning about it every year. Every year I learn something else about the ways to encourage this stuff to flourish in my coop. I'm still learning right along with y'all!
You wouldn't be using "caustic lime" at all, but garden lime or what folks call sweet lime. You don't have to mix it, either, but just sprinkle a thin layer in the DL when you want to, though many don't use it at all. I've only used it a time or two, but plan to use it more this winter for one reason and one reason only....because I like using my compost for seedling mix and in the garden and would like it to be more balanced for that reason. But, then again, adding lime to the DL can also give the chickens more opportunity to ingest calcium, phosphorus and potassium....all things that they would use in making egg shells.
Yes, wearing a mask is a good idea and also, do it when the chickens are not in the coop, and I'd limit where you place it to just under the roosts where the DL is the most moist and where it will do the most good. If your coop is already too dry, I'd not use it at all until that was corrected.
Hope that helps!
That will all end when next they visit your coop and run...they'll be amazed at the lack of smell, flies and mud. My mother is 81 and had raised many a chicken in her day and is STILL amazed that my coop doesn't smell like a chicken coop. She tells everyone about it. She particularly loves the absence of flies...she HATES flies.