Can I "deep litter method" in a small house?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by TheSpiceGirls, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,569
    250
    241
    Oct 6, 2010
    Bay Area, CA
    Do you think I can deep litter method in a 3x4' coop?

    I've been searching this group and it seems like most who do this have much larger coops and have poop boards to catch most of the poop. In my tiny coop, there just isn't a way to install a poop board. (I so wish I had bought the next size larger coop.)

    So I'd have to just mix in the night's droppings into the shavings. I put down about 4-5" of shavings and mixed in a sprinkling of PDZ. Last night was the first night. There are only three hens in there but they are BIG girls and well, make big poop piles so I'm just concerned how this is going to work after a week or so.

    And I'd be happy cleaning out the coop say once a month. I don't need to go all year or even 6 months.

    I hope I didn't just do a whole lot of work for nothing yesterday.
     
  2. AlienChick

    AlienChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,918
    91
    211
    Apr 9, 2010
    Glasgow, KY
    Yes, you can deep litter in any size coop or pen. I use deep litter in my brooders, too.

    I do not use poop boards (yuck) because the purpose for my deep litter is so I do NOT have to clean poop.
    I use a rake to “stir it up” on occasion or toss bread crumbs for the chickens to stir it up for me.
    Whenever needed, I toss more shavings in.
    (I keep my litter dry --- wet litter stinks.)


    I change the deep litter just before winter and toss it on my garden bed for mulching over winter.

    Good luck!
     
  3. kian

    kian Chillin' With My Peeps

    508
    18
    118
    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancaster, CA
    Our coop is 4 x 8 and we're doing the deep litter method. I use straw for the bedding. I stir it all up once every two weeks or so and add fresh straw. In the meantime I will toss treats or scratch in so the girls stir things up. We have excellent ventilation so everything stays dry. We're two months in and there is only the odor of straw so.... so far, so good!
     
  4. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,569
    250
    241
    Oct 6, 2010
    Bay Area, CA
    Thanks. I'm inspired. I did notice a bit of smell this morning but I stirred it around with my kitty litter scoop and it's amazing, the smell was gone.

    I'm using course pine shavings (cuz my silly birds eat the finer ones) and some PDZ. Or is it PZD? I forget. I can't use straw. My JG eats it and gets sour crop.

    I know some people use Alfalfa for their bedding. It's more expensive than straw. But if you just have a tiny coop like me, then maybe not so bad. And alfalfa is okay for them to eat. I just need some help getting a bale home and figure out how to store most of it in a safe, dry place so it doesn't go to waste. Maybe I can find someone to split one with.
     
  5. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,534
    174
    186
    May 18, 2012
    Northern Virginia
    My Coop
    The coop portion of our hen house is about 4 x 4 and I have three girls in there now. I've been doing deep litter since the end of summer and love it!

    I use about 50% pine shavings and 50% chopped leaves that we sucked up with our mower. The good thing about adding the leaves via our mower is it also incorporated some grass clippings which helps in the composting. I added a thin layer of dirt taken from our woods so as to include the necessary bugs and tiny critters to get decomposition rolling. No poop board as that would be counter-productive, I need the poop to get the deep litter cooking. I give it a stir about once a week and it's breaking down beautifully.

    If your coop has a wooden floor, you might want to protect it in some fashion. I laid sheets of tin on mine. Also, I do feed my girls fermented feed which seems to change the consistency of their poop as well as greatly reduces the odor.
     
  6. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,569
    250
    241
    Oct 6, 2010
    Bay Area, CA
    Well, I'm only 5 days in but I'm really pleased with the deep litter method. I put a sprinkling of DE and PDZ in the shavings and there is no smell. It's amazing.

    I only have 6 hens but it's really simplified my morning routine out there as I try to get out the door to work.

    Now I'm curious how long I can go before I need to rake it all out and start over. I know some people only do this once or twice a year. But I suspect that isn't going to work in my little 3' x 3' coop.

    And it does seem warmer in there. I highly doubt there's really a temperature difference yet. If there ever will be. It just feels cozier in there with 5 inches of pine shavings on the floor under them rather than sand.
     
  7. AlienChick

    AlienChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,918
    91
    211
    Apr 9, 2010
    Glasgow, KY
    You may just want to clean it out in the Spring.
    It may not need it, but it will give you an idea of how long you can go.
    For the time being, just keep it stirred up and add more litter if you notice any odors.
    And keep it dry!
    During the winter (where I live) the poop will freeze and I sometimes shovel the frozen poop and toss it out the door.
    My litter is only about 4 inches deep right now (just cleaned out the coop in November).
    By Spring my litter will probably be about 9 inches deep.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by