bedding/DE ?????s

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ladybuglives, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. ladybuglives

    ladybuglives Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2010
    humboldt county
    Hello! I am very new -- I have six 13 week old chickens who are happily playing in their 15 x 7 foot run and 9 x 6 foot coop and foraging in my yard for several hours a day (supervised so they don't tear up the garden and get carried away by hawks). I was interested in doing the Deep Litter Method at first and had a nice thick layer of shavings with a sprinkle of DE. The first night with the DE was unbearable!!! -- the girls didn't go into the coop for several hours after I mixed in the DE. It was soooooooo dusty in the coop that my friend's eyes were all red and watery. This was six hours after I mixed it into the shavings. I was also affected but it was my chicks that concerned me the most -- soooo dusty!!! So I pulled all the bedding out and shopvac the coop. I have since just sprinkled the DE in their outdoor dustbath box and around on the run dirt floor. One of my girls (a golden laced wyandotte) was a HUGE pine shavings eater. She developed a raspy cheep and seemed like her sinuses were having major issues -- they puffed out when she breathed unlike the other girls. The DE fiasco didn't help matters. I took her to the vet (bad idea) and the doctor said I should change my bedding so Maude would stop eating the shavings. She flushed her sinuses and looked at the fluid under the microscope -- no major bacterial issue but a lot of debris. SOOOOO I cleaned out the coop AGAIN and this time put down wheat straw. The girls love scratching around in the straw and searching for wheat berries. Several weeks later, Maude is completely healed -- the same as the other girls. The problem is that I wanted to do the DLM and use DE to keep mites and other creepy crawlies to a minimum. I do give the girls ACV in their water and the DE is in their dustbath outside but do I need to have it IN the coop??? I know wheat straw can harbor bugs. What do I do???????? Maude is so much better now -- I'm afraid to try the DE again. Can I still do DLM with straw???? The floor of my coop is plywood with a solid wood plank floor under that to keep out predators.
     
  2. scbatz33

    scbatz33 No Vacancy, Belfry Full

    Jan 23, 2009
    South GA
    Did you use food grade or pool grade DE?
     
  3. moetrout

    moetrout Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 5, 2010
    Milan, MI
    As scbatz33 asked, was it food grade? Also how much did you use? I have a small 3.5' x3.5' coup and I would say I probably put 1 cup of it in my litter when I change it and then redust every few days when I scoop out the big stuff.
     
  4. ladybuglives

    ladybuglives Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2010
    humboldt county
    The feed store sells it as Food Grade DE and I even called the company -- they said the kind I have is food grade as well. I put about 4 cups in my coop. Are you sprinkling it on the floor first and then putting in the bedding or vice versa? I think my husband will kill me if I have him help me shopvac the coop again : ) !!!!
     
  5. pharmchickrnmom

    pharmchickrnmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2010
    I think you are using too much de. I sprinkled a small amount of de on the floor of my tractor and then added the pine bedding. I mixed it up and left it. I also sprinkled a tiny amount on their roost area as well. I am also using the deep litter method and only add a sprinkling of de if I feel that it needs it. You have to be carefull not to use too much and pine bedding itself can be very dusty. My girls have no problems with this method, even when they are inside scratching around for the boss I throw in. Most of the threads I have read about de will tell you that you should use only a little bit. Make sure it is foodgrade. I also sprinkle some in their sandbox, which is inside the tractor, so they get the benefits of it while dusting. I put my de in a folgers coffee can with a few small holes poked in the lid and sprinkle it that way. Keeps the de dry and only allows a small amount to come out without a lot of dust flying around. Important--make sure you have the windows and/or doors open to the coop as good ventilation while sprinkling is a must! If your friends eyes were red and watery, it means you used too much and there wasnt enough ventilation to keep the dust down. I have all the doors open on my tractor when I do it and am careful not to do a lot of shaking of the litter. Again, a little goes a long way so give it a try again.
     
  6. moetrout

    moetrout Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 5, 2010
    Milan, MI
    4 cups sounds like too much to me too. I sprinkle some on the bottom add shavings, then sprinkle some on top. I close my pop door when I do this because if I don't it blows the stuff around so I guess I don't agree with the previous post on the ventilation, but it probably depends on your circumstances. I might use a cup (if even that much) for a fresh and complete change of litter. then as the previous poster said I redust when I think it needs it, maybe twice a week?
     
  7. ladybuglives

    ladybuglives Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2010
    humboldt county
    Has anyone had chickens get respiratory probs from the dust added with DE??? The wheat straw in the coop at the moment is relatively low dust and it is nice that I can breathe easily when in the coop. I have been spot cleaning the coop every few days (pulling out poop as I find it -- basically just under the roost. I don't think I want to go back to pine shavings because of Maude eating so many of them -- she got in the habit in the brooder. The straw just seems healthier for her and it is more usable in my garden.
     
  8. HottentotTeal

    HottentotTeal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 12, 2010
    I think 4 cups is a lot to put in there.

    I put about 1/4 cup of it in my 14x6 aviary. To cover the whole place, I could probably use 1 cup, but i only put it in a few select spots, where there is loose dirt/sand near the spot i feed my ducks and just around a few edges of the aviary near that.

    I do sprinkle another 1/4 cup outside though all around the perimeter.
     
  9. kichohana

    kichohana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 28, 2009
    Johnston County, NC
    Quote:4 CUPS?!? oh my. my coop is 3x6, and the run is 7x6. i maybe put half cup in a flour sifter for the coop. wear a breathing mask so you don't inhale the dust too much! i may use a cup through the same sifter sprinkled in the sand-filled run. the chickens do a great job of mixing it in to the shavings and the sand - each in their appropriate places.

    as far a coop bedding, i've heard abort chickens eating hay/straw and getting impacted crops. i also understand that hay/straw can be easily infested with mites (maybe not with the PROPER amount of DE added...). i use pine shavings and have had no problems with chickens eating it. it yours are eating the pine, maybe you try shredded paper? cheap, easy and absorbent. just a thought [​IMG]
     
  10. ladybuglives

    ladybuglives Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2010
    humboldt county
    where do you get shredded paper???? I checked the feed store and they only had little bags for guinea pigs, etc -- the large bags they could order seemed pricey if I'm changing it a lot...
     

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