Can I use Deep Litter over a linoleum floor if I put down garden soil first?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Coop de Grass, Jul 19, 2016.

  1. Coop de Grass

    Coop de Grass Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have a coop with a linoleum floor. I tried deep litter for 8 months, even adding some soil, but nothing was composting. Then I tried dropping boards with sweet PDZ (my favorite, but my shoulders can't take it). I have sand in the coop right now, but I don't like it, and it is pretty smelly although I clean it every day.

    I would like to be able to do deep litter, and I wonder if I put down an inch of garden soil first, will it work?
     
  2. Whittni

    Whittni Overrun With Chickens

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    Nothing is going to compost without microbes. Microbes come from dirt, so it won't work on your floor. BUT you can do it in your run (which will need to be turned often to keep the hummus layer happy).
     
  3. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have to think that things will compost on your linoleum floor. The added garden soil will inoculate it with microbes and other crittters...the chicken poop will contribute, too. If it didn't compost then those plastic tumbling compost barrels wouldn't work either, would they? :) The problem with composting on the floor, though, will be having the moisture content right for composting...most litter in this environment tends to be on the dry, dusty side. Also, for composting you would want the dirt mixed thoroughly with the shavings and slightly wetted. Composting will be slow. But, why hurry it? What was wrong with your litter other than it wasn't composted/composting? Did the coop have a bad smell or something?

    Best wishes,
    Ed
     
  4. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Deep Litter also needs moisture to decompose, which you don't want in the coop especially living in a cold climate. We have deep litter in the run (grass clippings, hay, straw, leaves, pine needles). Even though it's covered rain/snow blows in at times providing enough moisture. We have deep bedding (pine shavings) in the coop. The poop that does make it to the floor dries up in the shavings. Some is visible at times but disappears for the most part.

    We have a dropping board with PDZ, it's about chest height (I'm 5'4") which is easy on the shoulders.
     
  5. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    But, the litter being *too* dry may not be good, either. Here is a quote from the University of Georgia Extension Office... http://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.cfm?number=B1267

    Litter that is too dry and dusty can also lead to problems such as dehydration of new chicks, respiratory disease and increased condemnations. Ideally, litter moisture should be maintained between 20 to 25 percent. A good rule of thumb in estimating litter moisture content is to squeeze a handful of litter. If it adheres tightly and remains in a ball, it is too wet. If it adheres slightly, it has the proper moisture content. If it will not adhere at all, it may be too dry.
     
  6. jennyf

    jennyf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is an interesting question! I wonder if adding worms would help, if they'd survive in the depths of the compost long enough (and not get eaten by hens)?
     
  7. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just be sure and get worms that are faster than the chickens!!!! [​IMG]
     
  8. Coop de Grass

    Coop de Grass Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks! I hadn't thought about those plastic compost tumblers.

    The coop was built in the fall and I started with Pine shavings. It didn't smell, but it didn't decompose and it was very dusty. I added some garden soil though it was mainly clumps, and it was quite dry. I used DE sprinkled on the floor which might have killed the things that I needed for the composting process.

    Then I tried straw, which I didn't like at all. After that, it was a poop board under two roosts. The tray was almost 24" deep and chest height. I am 5'1" and although I really liked the system of Sweet PDZ on the board. Scooping it was alright except for the issues with my shoulder. It didn't smell at all.

    Since the sweet pdz worked on the board, I thought to just use it on the floor under the roosts, and to spread sand. Unfortunately, I got play sand. Big mistake. Didn't matter that I cleaned it everyday, it stank!

    Today, I removed the sand/Sweet PDZ and put down pine shavings.That was the easiest of all the methods. If I could get it composting that would be terrific. I could add grass clippings for green material, as well as garden soil for the microbes.

    If I put down wood over the linoleum would that help?

    Could I add the composting wood shavings from the compost heap if they haven't broken down completely?

    So many questions!
     
  9. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I do think the DLM is the better litter method. I'm sure others will disagree, too. :)

    Remember that for composting you have to have a moist environment. That's not really what you want in a chicken coop. But, there again, you don't want it to be a dust bowl, either. While it's summer time I'd almost say try sprinkling lightly with water once a week or so and see how it works. Don't get it soggy, of course, maybe just enough to settle the dust a bit and then stir the litter up some.

    I don't know what effect wood over the linoleum would have. The wood *could* possibly absorb some moisture and then release it back. Personally I wouldn't go to the trouble.

    I don't see why it would hurt to add some of the composting wood chips from the compost pile. Also, if you can get them....leaves!!! That would be a great addition to the chips and other things.

    The moisture content seems to be the "biggie" and it will require a sufficient depth of litter for it to hit a "balance" of sorts and to maintain that balance. A shallow layer will dry out quickly and won't have much thermal mass to it. How deep was your litter the first time?

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. I'm still debating on building my coop with a raised floor or a dirt floor. I have been figuring on the raised floor but some good conversations with some folks (Beekissed, for one of them!) has me considering the dirt floor. At the moment it's a toss-up for me....got to make a decision soon!!! :)

    Best wishes,
    Ed
     
  10. Coop de Grass

    Coop de Grass Chillin' With My Peeps

    @Intheswamp I am also planning a second coop and have been wondering about building it with a dirt floor.

    My litter was 8" deep when I cleaned it all out. That was how wide the board was that stopped it from falling through the doorway. I was thinking about adding grass clippings as well as leaves.

    I am definitely puting leaves back into the extended run which extends into the woods on my neighbor's property. The fence line is bare dirt. I've had straw inside the smaller runs but raked most of it out of them because of a post somewhere on BYC. The back end of those 2 runs slopes down to a wet area and I was worried about mold.

    BYC has the best exchange of info thanks to people like @Beekissed and @aart and many other friends that I have found here!

    Best,
    Eva
     

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