considerations in building coop for deep litter method?


5 Years
Mar 26, 2014
davidson, north carolina
hi all, I’m building a new coop at my future home and would like to use the deep litter method like I have in the coop that came with my current home. It was built in the olden days on a dirt floor. has anyone done this? What all do I need to know to build it this way? Does anyone NOT recommend this? if so, why and what do you recommend? Please and thank you!
My chicken shed is a pole building. Parts are concrete others are dirt floor. Generally when you build for a dirt ground you set your posts and build off them like a pole building is built. I might bury hardware cloth to try to deter rodents and predators from digging under.

With a dirt floor you need to be more conscious of rodents. We deep litter in the goat area during winter, but the rest is cleaned up on a regular basis and manure is composted in piles outside. The ammonia smells build up in spring as the deep litter thaws out. We clean out the deep litter once a year. We aren't currently interested in letting it to continue to compost in the shed all year round.
A removable batten board is a must! Ours sits inside the entry door and slides in from above. We have to step over it to get in and out, but it keeps the litter in and we can lift it away when it's time for a good clean-out. We have foxes in the neighborhood, so we plan to put a latch along the top to keep Mama from getting her snout under it and lifting it up. She can just feed her family something other than my chickens!
I can't wait until Spring finally kicks in for good, so we can start all of the upgrades and necessities we left out the first time around.
Good Luck!
I've never done it before, but one thing you'll need to take into consideration (the reason I built my coop raised) is drainage and moisture. I'm not worried about drainage from the run, but no matter how sunny and airy your coop is, it's typically less sunny and airy than the run, and the fact that my coop location is kind of at the bottom of a slope, I wasn't sure what the moisture buildup would be like once I boxed the area in.
I would suggest raising the doorway to a height of a least 12" to allow access to the coop after a DL of at least 6-8" is established. Also I have found that swinging the door to open out helps with the DL. I would use aged wood chips at a depth 6-8 inches with other materials such as leaves, grass clippings, garden waste, mixed in, as the DL decomposes add more of these same materials to maintain the depth of 8-12 inches. I have found this system to provide the healthiest and cleanest bedding system possible for my flock. The end result after the wood chips and materials have broken down provides some of the greatest compost for gardens and flower beds, the manure is broken down in a natural way and can be applied directly to your garden or flowers. You will be amazed to see how the bedding stay's dry at the surface after a rain quicker, and the odor is controlled by the depth of the DL. If ammonia odor is detected just add more wood chips or the other materials to correct the balance and let the worms, and other good bugs process the manure.
My barn is 80 ft by 60 and four stories tall. I have a seperate are in the very back where all the used bedding goes so it can compost. It about 12 by 12. in the spring I have plenty of compost. I scoop it out with my bobcat and start a new pile om compost next to last years that is ready to be used in the growing ares. When this rain stops, I need to get on my beds so I can get some peas in the ground.

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