Can you clarify the deep litter method for me?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kari_dawn, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, so I have been doing a lot of research on having an enclosed coop. Right now, I have a 10x10 dog run with a wire mesh top, and corugated metal half roof with a corugated metal back wall for a coop. Free standing nesting box, and multiple roosts.

    I have purchased a deer blind I am working on modifying to become my enclosed coop, as the corugated metal roof is not providing enough dry area for my girls when it rains, and when we DO have severe weather, I am always scrambling to get everything set up to be comfortable for my girls. I am very interested in the deep litter method for when I finally get my deer blind set up, but I have some questions that just seem to get more confusing when I read other threads about DLM.

    I have a basic understanding of how it works, but DOES IT WORK IN COOPS THAT DO NOT HAVE DIRT FLOORS? I mean, isn't part of the concept that partial composting of the bedding creates some manor of warmth? How does that work without access to dirt? Is it solely the decomp of the chicken poo that helps the DLM work?
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011
  2. karlamaria

    karlamaria Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:What is-dear blind? So you do not have a coop, just a run with a top and back to it? How cold does it get? Deep littler method is awesome if.... You have a coop. Sounds like your birds pretty much have a lean to. Not sure how deep little would do the trick, unless this deer blind is water proof and makes it a real coop
     
  3. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I live in North Texas. The main concern is summer heat, so in essence, I have an enclosed dog run with shade provided. They are basically living in a half way enclosed wire mesh cube if you want to look at it that way....I guess it is reffered to as an open air coop?

    [​IMG]

    The back half has corugated metal as a roof over the top of the wire mesh.

    a deer blind is usually what hunters use to hunt out of.

    [​IMG]

    This is what I am working with.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Per advice here on BYC, I will be cutting ventilation slots at the top, and enlarging the "windows"...thinking about eventually putting actual glass windows in it...will the deep litter method work with a solid floor?
     
  5. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes, it works in coops with solid floors. You can make garden compost in a plastic bin, which also isn't in contact with soil and has a solid floor. It's the same basic concept, even though they have their own individual differences.
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    I definitely agree, you do not want an enclosed coop in Texas. They will not even notice Texas "cold," but will suffer in the heat even in a very breezy setup. Kari_dawn's setup is a very good one for this climate. hot weather coops

    As for deep litter, the problem is, there isn't one deep litter method, there are multiple ways of managing poop drying in litter. The original method was probably on dirt and left for months, only adding litter as needed, partly for the warmth from the composting litter -- but you don't need the warmth in your area. At least around here, traditional chicken shelters are always dirt floor. I believe the shaded dirt actually provides a little cooling for them in summer; mine tend to go in the coop during the heat of the day.
     
  7. johnson215

    johnson215 Out Of The Brooder

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    i have a solid floor in my coop and we just put hay or pine shavings twice a year and clean it out twice a year. most of the poop gets on top of our nest boxes which we just shovel off. the floor never really gets that bad!!! they are mostly just in there at night anyway.... they prefer being in their run or we let them out to run all over the farm during the day...[​IMG]
     
  8. clairabean

    clairabean Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2010
    Kootenays of BC!
    I have wood planks for a floor in the coop. DLM will work with solid floors, but in a different way than dirt floors.

    Is the floor MDF (pressboard, chipboard, whatever you call it) in your deer blind? That stuff will soak up all sorts of yuck fast.
     
  9. Will work just fine. Depending on where in Texas you are....you could actually stick with the open air coop and not need the enclosure at all. I would probably just panel up 2 sides and the top of half the length of the dog run as a wind and rain buffer as well as shade. I go out every morning and break the ice form my waterers in my uninsulated shed conversion. The only thing I worry about is that it is draft free. My hens are healthy, happy, and I am getting 6 eggs a day from 9 hens of laying age in 30 degree weather with short days.

    As matter of fact if I did not have to worry about cold transfer, I would not do deep litter. I would do sand. Sand is perfect except that it conducts cold like crazy. In hot climates this is a big advantage. As already stated, you need to worry about heat...not cold.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011
  10. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I do have the back wall covered, half the top, and also a small section on the side to kindof create a wind block in the corner, but my "roof" is not really any good for keeping the girls dry, and with as much rain as we have been having, coupled with the cold, they need somewhere dry to go.

    [​IMG]

    This kindof gives you an idea of the "roof". Since this picture, a section of fencing has been put up on the outside of the nest box. The problem with the coop as it is, is that the roof is not keeping moisture out enough. Everything (including my poor girls) ends up soaked when it rains, and in "extreme" weather, they have no protection. Last year, it was bitter cold. My silkie x cochin rooster nearly lost his comb a couple of times before I got it right. Ended up creating a windblock tarp with hay bales as insulation. It worked very well, but I would rather have a good structure that I can use over and over again if I need to.

    [​IMG]

    The floor of the deer blind is plywood. it is framed with 2x2s and has a little bit of a lip to keep whatever bedding I choose in, and debris out. I am looking in to putting down some vinyl tile or something just to help keep everything clean and sealed. I had not really thought about sand...that may be a better option for me if is provides cooling qualities in the summer. What kind of sand would I use, and how deep would it need to be? Can someone tell me more about the benifits of sand?
     

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