Deep Litter Method The Easiest Way To Deal With Chicken Litter Dlm

Deep Litter Method is basically a method in which you allow your coop litter to build up over a period of time.
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  1. Dawn419
    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


    Coop & Run - Design, Construction & Maintenance Forum Section

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Comments

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  1. ChicChaser
    Thanks for sharing, love seen it mentioned but until reading this post I didn't understand.
  2. SuperK
    Wonderful article! I was sure that letting the coop cleaning "go" for months at a time would mean horrendous smells and unsanitary conditions, but wow! We got hooked on this after JoAnn and I visited a farm down the road a piece that had 200 chickens in a Deep Litter coop that was a delight to be in. We have just started this method ourselves here in Hawaii and the high humidity here isn't defeating the wonderful benefits to this style of coop care. The smell of the chickens in the coop is markedly reduced (almost zero) and the lack of poo smell results in lower numbers of flies. Once we got the DLM in place in the coop, most of our chicken odor issues are now in the run due to the high rainfall mixing with the little dirt we have, and the chickens manure. This method requires the litter to stay dry to keep it's odor absorbing ability so monitoring water systems and keeping the rain out is very important. Due to an over active bout with Chicken Math, we are enlarging our coop and run area and will be enclosing the entire space with roofing so we can keep the run dry for a modified DLM system. We are going to be using a method called the Korean Natural Farming system. This method is a modified DLM in that we apply, use and encourage the beneficial natural bacterial flora that attack the fresh stinky manure and it's odor causing bits and convert them into a more inert form decreasing the smells in minutes. There are a few things to know before starting this method, but once started it is an easy way to be able to spend more time with the birds and less time cleaning.
  3. JDisme
    Best way to go! If you have a door that goes all the way to the floor, tack in a board about 10+ inches high in front of it. It keeps the mess in!
  4. ewaugaman
    What is DLM I read the article and I was wondering what the DLM was.
    1. 6MotherCluckers
  5. jrun808
    I love this idea, I will give this a try very soon.
    Joe
  6. Lesli Hodges
    Are you doing this inside of the henhouse where they lay the eggs or in the chicken run ? I have a small chicken coop about 4 1/2' x 8' long . Trying to figure out the best way to keep the chicken run smelling good clean healthy and most definitely the flies away .
  7. addyor
    what is DE ?
    1. PastaChickenBoo
      Diatomaceous Earth. It's a white powder that people say really helps keep away bugs, although some people don't like it. Personally, we use it in or around our coop, but the decision is yours.
      medicperkins and Egg-citable like this.
    2. Egg-citable
      Quick question. Where can you get the DE?
      Thanks
    3. PastaChickenBoo
      You can get it online or at tractor supply. Make sure it's food grade.
  8. cra-zchicknlady
    This method is a lifesaver during the winter months! I don't do it during the summer because of the heat it puts off. We do a thick layer of alfalfa hay, then pine shavings on top, and add more pine shavings as it becomes necessary. Then in the spring, onto the compost heap!
  9. Yardwork
    I designed my coop with this method in mind. I made the coop larger than most allowing 20sqft per bird. I do keep rabbits in the same coop but they are in cages hanging above the floor area. I cover the floor with a couple hay bales and the chickens spread out the rabbit litter as they scratch mixing it all up and keeping the material turned. I don't always let the free range simply because they will tear up my garden in the spring. So having a larger coop and only having to clean it once a year is perfect. Living in Alabama there is little cold temperature issues. My coop is not closed but designed to block the wind off the birds and allow the winter sun in. This coop has been very easy to maintain.
  10. rngrbill
    Love the DLM. Started using it in MA for my flock of 6 and now in KY with my flock of 8. I also use a poop board under the roost and this keeps most of the Poop out of the litter. I has 1" sides on it so holds quite a bit. Usually clean out 2 -3 times a year depending on condition.

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