Advice needed if I don't use the DLM

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by NHCrazy4Chicks, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. NHCrazy4Chicks

    NHCrazy4Chicks Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 20, 2010
    Southern NH
    Hello! There are SOOOOOOOOOO many posts about litter/bedding but I'm having a little trouble searching for some specific information. Is there anyone NOT using the deep litter method? Say I wanted to start out not using the DLM. How deep do my pine shaving need to be and how often would I need to replace them? I have a couple of books about raising chickens but they really only talk about how pine shavings is the preferred type and to make sure to keep a clean, dry and dust-free coop. They don't go into specifics about depth, etc.

    My apologies if this has been answered dozens of times before. I tried to do a search but came up with so much about DLM and couldn't really find anything else. [​IMG]

    Thanks in advance for your advice! Much appreciated!
  2. Baymen Moe

    Baymen Moe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 17, 2009
    Pembroke, Ma.
    I have 4-6 inches of pine shavings in my coop. I stir the shavings once in a while. I believe deep litter is more layering than stirring. Even with the 4-6 inches in my coop I only do a full cleanout twice a year. I guess you could call that a DLM but I'm really not letting the bottom compost itself completly. Hope that help's.
  3. True Grit

    True Grit Chillin' With My Peeps

    I do the same but I pick up the droppings from under the roost on the poop board in the morning before they can trample it around very much. I add some fresh shavings every 3 or 4 days and clean out every 2-3 months. It is a small coop though. 4x4.
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I would say to put down just as little as you can get away with, and change it when it starts to smell bad. That is what I do in my two rabbit hutches/coops. They are too short to use the deep litter method.
  5. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    There isn't any such thing as THE DLM. Rather, there are a number of different ways to go about using litter in the coop -- sometimes I think there are about as many ways as there are people on this forum.

    Perhaps you should describe what you have in mind, and see what feedback that brings. Do include what your coop floor is made of. Or, throw a few inches of pine shavings in there, turn the chickens loose, and see what happens. It will be a while before it smells bad, if it is well ventilated, big enough for the number of chickens, and especially if you use a poop board and scrape it clean in the morning. How long "a while" is depends on so many things, including your nose.

    There are so many variations in what people think of as "clean enough." There is no such thing as a clean, dry, dust -free coop, unless you lock the chickens out. It's a relative thing. There IS such a thing as an odor-free coop, or at least very nearly so, though. If I smell poop or mustiness, or see flies, I know it's time to do something, and that about sums up my personal approach; I let the coop tell me if it needs attention.
  6. NHCrazy4Chicks

    NHCrazy4Chicks Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 20, 2010
    Southern NH
    Excellent! Thanks for the info and good questions! I suppose I was totally vague and there does seem to be about a trillion different thoughts on the matter! The coop will be 6x8 (or really 5.25 x 7.25 if you want to be technical! [​IMG]) Plywood floor topped with textured vinyl. It probably will be a trial and error kind of situation. What if I start out with maybe 2-4 inches and see how long it stays fresh? I will have a poop board and my plan is to scrape that in the AM and scoop any visible poop out of the shavings (does anyone use a doggie pooper scooper?). Really that should only take me about 10 minutes tops. I'll probably just have to see what works best like ddawn said. I'd like to hopefully get a few weeks out of the litter before I have to replace it. My ideal situation would be to only have to do a monthly swap out of shavings.

    For anyone else interested, I actually found a thread on this.

    for all the help! It is greatly appreciated! [​IMG]
  7. TomG

    TomG Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 26, 2010
    Lake Oswego
    You said your coop is 6x8 but didn't mention how many birds. My coop is 6x6 and I have four birds that sleep over a droppings board. The Droppings board is covered with pine shavings and gets cleaned once a week. The floor of the coop rarely gets dirty or smelly but I sweep up and replace the 4" of pine shavings every four to six weeks. Mostly because I like the smell of fresh pine and the shavings are cheap.
  8. NHCrazy4Chicks

    NHCrazy4Chicks Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 20, 2010
    Southern NH
    oops! Sorry! 6 chickens. Thanks!
  9. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    The problem with using a doggie scoop to pick chicken droppings out of pine shavings is that you end up having to take a bunch of the shavings with the poop. That's only a problem in the sense that you'll just have to replenish the shavings more frequently, though. If you wanted to save more shavings, you could put on a disposable vinyl or latex glove and go around picking up the droppings by hand. I do this in one of my runs (the one that still has some left grass in it).

    In my other runs and in my coops, I use sand and a reptile sand scoop: it sifts out the droppings and leaves the sand substrate behind. Sand is a "cold" bedding for a harsh winter climate. It works fine where we are with our mild winters, though.
  10. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    My coop is a 6 x 8 as well, with 6.5 birds (I only give our bantam roo half credit [​IMG]). I'm in an area that gets decently cold (single digits overnight), so I use about 4 inches of bedding. But really, I still use about 3 inches in the warm months; I have a few heavier breeds, and figure it helps cushion the landing when they jump their big butts off the roosts. I do use a dropping board (scraped off daily), and only spot clean my bedding; when I see droppings in the bedding, I pick them up and toss them in my dropping bucket. I do add a little bedding about once a month, since some has been picked out as I pick up droppings...and because I toss a few handfuls of the finer stuff on my dropping board after scraping (helps absorb watery stuff).
    Anyhow, my bedding really doesn't get too dirty because of the preventive measures mentioned. So I only do a total bedding toss 2X a year. Once in early spring, because they do spend a lot of time inside over the winter. And once more late fall. In the warmer months, they're really only in there for egg laying and roosting, so the bedding stays amazingly clean. I do stir it around a bit and fluff it up on occasion, more for the smell of the pine and because it looks nicer (fluffy) than anything else... [​IMG] I probably go through 4 - 5 bags of pine shavings a year total...about $20-25.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2010

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