Deep Litter Method

DLM is basically a method in which you allow your coop litter to build up over a period of time. As the chicken manure and litter of choice compost, it helps to heat the coop, which in turn helps keep the chickens warmer. I had never heard of this before BYC and cleaning the coops once or twice a year, as opposed to weekly cleanings fits our lifestyle.

I began using the DLM in early September '07, when we moved most of our Bantam flock from the Teacup Pterodactyl Townhouse into the main coop. I started out by adding 4 - 6 inches of pine shavings to the coop floor. After laying down the shavings, I used my sifter to sprinkle a fine layer of food grade DE over the litter, then stirred them together. I'm using the DE to help dry the pooh faster, which helps eliminate odor and reduces the fly population. The DE also helps protect the flock from mites/lice as they love to dust-bathe in the shavings/DE mix.

Litter first added to coop in September.

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I added a "kick-board" to the doorway to help keep the litter in the coop. I just used a piece of scrap 1/4" plywood that we had handy. It's 10" tall.
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I stir the litter every few days, sometimes everyday, it just depends on how much time the gang spends inside and how much pooh there might be. The Banties do a great job helping me keep it stirred when they're dust-bathing in the litter, which helps cut down the work for me also.
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About once a month, I'll add a fresh layer of pine shavings and food grade DE. Again, this varies depending on how much time the birds spend inside. That's what I like about using the DLM. There are no set rules, you do this however it works best for you.

Before adding new shavings...

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Layer of food grade DE on stirred liter...
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Layer of fresh pine shavings...
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At this point, I just let the flock stir in the new shavings and food grade DE. I don't measure how much of the shavings I add, I just add it until the old stuff is fully covered.
As of today (11-20-07), I've been building the litter up for just over 2 months. There is no chicken smell in the coop what-so-ever, which really surprised visitors. It is approximately 6-8 inches deep at this time. I may do a clean-out in spring, but I may let it go longer...it will all depend on smell, how deep it is, are the shavings covering up the pophole door (just kidding)...

I've had some dust issues, nothing major though. I just use a plant mister full of warm water and mist the shavings before stirring them up to help keep the dust down.
I'm also using DLM in the Chick-N-Barn. I just added a few pieces of wood in the access door to help hold the litter inside. I won't be able to go very deep, about 6 inches, so I'll probably have to clean it twice a year. Only time will tell.

Deep Litter Method Threads:
Deep litter method...by ChrisnTiff
Deep litter method ?...by domromer
Deep litter method? Help Please...by Sunny Day
Deep Litter Method, Please explain, ? from newbie...by sunnynparadise
Can I use the deep litter method with Southeast Texas humidity?...by bionic_chicken
Deep litter and linoleum floor?...by ebonykawai
Getting mixed up...deep litter...by Sunny Day

Thanks for stopping by! I hope more people will make a page showing how they use the DLM.

Dawn & Skip
updated: 4/12/08

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