Originally Posted by austintxchick
I just started the deep litter method in my run using pine shavings and turning/raking them around every day or so. I've recently noticed a huge fly problem. I also have noticed alot of food spillage in the run. The feeder is on the ground right now and I plan on hanging it. Is hundreds of flies a normal thing? I haven't yet added diatomaceous earth so maybe that will help?
I'd start by adding more litter. It's not really "deep litter" unless it's at least six inches deep. It needs a certain volume before it acts like its own little micro-climate, where the microbes in the litter dominate the scene and don't leave much left over for flies and such. This also takes some time to develop.
Here are some specific suggestions:
* If the litter gets soggy, rake it into a heap, where it'll heat and compost, which dries it back out in a couple of days.
* When in doubt, use a LOT more litter.
* Hydrated lime will deodorize the litter and keep the flies away. It also acts as chicken repellent, so on the floor of the chicken coop, stir it in. Elsewhere, you can just sprinkle it over the top. (I've never found much use for diatomaceous earth.)
* Stirring the litter is really about dealing with any crust that forms on top and any soggy spots. There's no need to turn it like a compost heap.
* If you throw some scratch grain on the floor, the chickens will stir it for you.
* I have a "deep litter FAQ" at http://www.plamondon.com/faq_deep_litter.html which also reproduces the original deep-litter experiment station bulletin.