We use the 'deep litter' method in our coop/house and run - i.e., pine shavings ( the larger ones that are not too fine as they can cause the chickens to have respiratory issues ) - it helps that my DH is a professional woodworker so we
have 'tons' of it - we also use pine straw in all the nest boxes and when it gets
soiled we just throw it out onto the coop floor then add fresh to the nests - we
have lots of pine trees/needles on our property too, also in late fall when all the hardwoods lose their leaves and they dry out we add them to the coop floor and run. Our flocks love greens and flowers to we give them lots of organically grown ones from our gardens - marigold ( the old timey ones ) are what we have in the gardens to ward off the leaf-eating bugs and the chicks love them and it makes their yolks extra orange - yum! Get creative and use things from around your property - I like the idea about using the mulched wood too.
Our coop and run hardly ever has a bad odor and if it does we know it's time to add a few of the large black garbage bags full of shavings and more pine straw.
I also add some food grade DE as well as the birds
love to use it to dust bathe in.
The flock turns all of this into 'sand-like' consistency
in no time and DH and I laugh that tending our flocks is like 'going to the beach' as it's like walking on sand!
When we want to add to our compost pile we just shovel out several wheelbarrows full of the 'deep litter'
and within a year it has become 'cool' enough to add
directly to the garden and work into the soil.
Where else can we get all these benefits for so little?
- wonderful healthful fresh farm eggs
- meat w/o harmful additives or hormones, etc.
- more entertainment than Hollywood ever imagined
- music in the way of the egg song and their perpetual happy chicken chatter and talking to each other
- Eye candy ( We raise, breed and sell Welsummers and Barred Plymouth Rocks ) and they are so beautiful
- Effortless perfect compost for organic gardening