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.
By Dawn419 · Jan 11, 2012 · Updated May 1, 2012 · ·
  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.


    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.

    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.

    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...


    Layer of food grade DE on stirred liter...

    Layer of fresh pine shavings...

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

  1. Kate Shaw
    "Great info!"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jun 5, 2019
    Newbie here. Thanks for the simplified info!
    Iditarod likes this.
  2. Celticdragonfly
    "Good bedding article"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jun 3, 2019
    This is a good article, that encouraged me to try this.

    I would have liked more information on the pros and cons of DE - I've seen a lot of questions about using it on other threads. I am using PDZ on the poop boards, and am unsure whether adding that to the litter would do as well.

    And extra points for naming your bantam coop the Teacup Pterodactyl Townhouse!
    Iditarod likes this.
  3. Caden Clinton
    "Good advice"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed May 30, 2019
    This is a great information “getter”.
    It has good advice and facts that back her up.:D
    Iditarod likes this.


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  1. Nychickenfam
    We use DLM in our concrete coop[
  2. carmeldean
    I have an open air coop and have been using straw as liter cover. Is this an acceptable for the deep liter method?
  3. auntie tee
    Thanks for the info on the DLM. I have 2 questions: 1) will this method work with a concrete and NOT an earth floor and 2) how much ventilation do you need for this method? I plan to add only passive ventilation (windows, vents). If I have enough openable windows and regularly add more litter when it gets "smelly," should I be okay? Do you water inside and outside the coop or inside only? Is there a problem with water spillage causing damp areas in the litter?
    So, I guess I went to 4 questions....Thanks !
  4. ThatChick
    The DE you want in your coop is FOOD GRADE DE, and the stuff you put in your pool filter is NOT food grade.
  5. gailm549
    I'm curious, is the DE the same as what you would use for a DE pool filter or is it different?
  6. sanndd
    it is the best way to keep a coop for sure. I just did the spring clean today( i have not cleaned my coop since Sept 2011) and other than the pile on the floor, you wouldnt know. its smells earthy not stinky, and i have healthy happy chickens. i use shavings on the floor, but have hay in my nest boxes so of course that falls in the mix and it doesnt seem to make a difference.
  7. Monroetrio
    I just found out that feed stores, the ones that actually mix the feed on site, have DE in stock! They mix it in their feeds. It's .69/lb here.
    I'm definitely using this method once I move my chicks to their permenent coup!
    Thanks for the article!
  8. crittergarden
    I buy timothy hay by the bale to feed my house rabbit. Would I be able to substitute that for the shavings?
  9. hamster
    Yep, picked it up the other day
  10. melissahov
    diatomaceous earth. You can pick it up at tractor supply.
  11. rickh
    What is DE?

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