1. BlackRose89

    BlackRose89 Out Of The Brooder

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    Idk if this is the right place to ask, but it's coop related, so I'm hoping I'm putting it in the right forum.

    What is the best litter to use in a coop if I want to use the litter for the garden? I think if I remember right pine shavings don't break down very well and I'm on a tight budget so I want to stick with something cheap... Suggestions?
     
  2. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There is no "best" for everyone. We all have what we prefer depending on our climates. If you are looking for something for the garden I would suggest that you look into the deep litter method. I have seen some people that do it with once or twice clean out a year and grass clippings, leaves, hay, or straw as bedding. The deep litter method needs to start out with at least 4" bedding and you add as needed. It is basically a compost pile in your coop and needs to be treated that way. It needs to either be stirred by you or your chickens on a regular basis. Some throw scratch in their coop on areas that need a good sturring and let the chickens do the work for them. This is a compost pile so it requires good ventilation.
     
  3. DanEP

    DanEP Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pine shavings will break down just fine it just takes longer. I do deep litter and clean the coops a couple times a year. When I do I just pile it up and just leave it alone till I clean the coops again and by then the old pile is ready for the garden. I used the last batch for garlic and sugar snap peas,worked great.
     
  4. BlackRose89

    BlackRose89 Out Of The Brooder

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    We don't have a real compost pile, just an old tomato crate I throw stuff in that I cut a section out so I can shovel stuff out. It's a "no turn" compost so oldest stuff is on the bottom where u can shovel it out, and so far I've never got it full enough to use lol. I was thinking shoveling the coop out into a wheelbarrow then spreading it down the center walkway area in between rows and tilling it under. The bug control and fertilizer are more important to me than the eggs honestly.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2014
  5. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Leaves, pine needles and other yard debris will be your best compost-able litter materials. You might try looking into using deep litter in your coop...there is a large thread on it with good information about such things: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/70/deep-litter-method
     
  6. karen18

    karen18 Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm a new chicken mama & found hay & wood shavings stressful: too much volume that takes way too longe to break down. One day while shedding some mail I got the idea to use the shedded paper for litter and it works great!! Highly absorbant and easily broken down. AND IT'S FREE! I shread all my newspaper and appropriate junk mail. I'm going to try layering it this winter with a little added pine needles and some hay. I would like to try "deep Litter" for the winter (I live in New England...Burrrr) but it sounds kinda mean to make them live in a dirty cage...I currently have 4 chickens in a 4x6 quaker coop.
     
  7. gggeek

    gggeek Out Of The Brooder

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    I am personally using fine pine shavings, but have only had my coop and chickens for a few days. However, I am a resident composting expert and I guarantee you pine shavings mixed with a high nitrogen item like chicken poo is going to compost just fine. I have an electric chipper shredder that I grind up sticks from my yard with and they compost down just fine and are much heftier than pine shavings... and that is without chicken poo to help speed it along.

    You will also want to research DLM (deep litter method) which essentially composts the litter and poo actively in the coop/run and you scoop it only once a year.
     
  8. emptynesters

    emptynesters New Egg

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    Oct 9, 2014
    What is the deep litter method?
     
  9. gggeek

    gggeek Out Of The Brooder

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    Search the forums here for DLM or "deep litter method". A lot of the threads will point you to http://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/388/litter-quality-and-broiler-performance

    And at a higher level explanation DLM is basically letting litter build up in the coop over time with a high carbon material that will naturally compost as the chickens poop in it. The key is the litter stays relatively dry. The chickens can be put to work to scratch and mix the bedding by throwing scratch grains in them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2014

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