This is our first time with chickens. I attempted deep litter in the brooder after reading about all the benefits. I used a cardboard box and put in a layer of finished compost with the idea of inoculating the mix. Then I added some plane shavings (mostly maple and oak) and dry leaves I saved last fall (both free) and topped with the larger size pine shavings. My thought was that I wanted to use available materials as much as possible, but I thought pine shavings might be easier for very young chicks to walk on. I picked out bedding that was obviously wet and turned in soiled areas and added additional pine shavings. Around the 3rd week it began to smell of mold and it was mostly directly on top of the compost. So I dumped the whole thing and started over. I had to use the same box, but I peeled out most of the floor, let it dry, put new cardboard on the bottom and filled with dry leaves. For about a week I was putting out everything soiled or damp I could find. Then we got busy and the chicks have been in the run during the daytime, so I wasn't as careful. And today, at week 5, I found mold again. What I don't understand is that it wasn't that wet. It doesn't seem wet enough that it could even compost properly. I never had an ammonia smell. Is there something about cardboard? They will be moving to the coop this week and I want to get it right there. It has a painted plywood floor. Thanks!