Deep liter/composting bedding method

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Angiebubs, Sep 17, 2011.

  1. Angiebubs

    Angiebubs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2011
    Amery, WI WI/MN border
    How many of you use the deep liter (composting) method? Any pros/con's?

    I read about this in "Storey's Guide to raising Chickens" and Im curious..
    Putting down 4 inches shavings, , then routinly breaking up the surface/fluff it, and add a few more inches. Supposedly this decomposing litter adds B12 to their diet as well (Ohio State Ag Experiment Station) and rather than getting filthy, after 6 months it the resulting compost dvelops sanitizing properties?
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2011
  2. Barred Babies

    Barred Babies Red Roof Farms

    Sep 20, 2009
    Pride, La.
    I don't use it but I'll give you a bump and maybe someone can help you out!! [​IMG]
  3. lizzy14

    lizzy14 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2011
    Rochester area/WNY
    I also read about this in Storey's and am interested in hearing the responses to your question. My chickies are about a month old and I'd like to try this method when they are full grown and their feeder and waterer are higher up off the floor! [​IMG]
  4. wishingbee

    wishingbee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2011
    SW Washington
    I've visited one run over the summer that utilized the deep litter method, and I'm very interested to see what info you dig up on it!

    I asked the guy in charge about it, as it was really clean and it smelled woodsy, and not at all like chickens. He used some sort of wood chip mulch, if I recall it was about 6" deep... but it's been several months and I completely forgot to write it down. [​IMG]

    I did find a video of the pen if you're interested to see what it looks like. Hope you find the information you're looking for soon!

    Danny Woo Garden in Seattle:
  5. Frithest

    Frithest Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 22, 2011
    Quote:Wishingbee, I'm in Seattle too also visited a deep litter coop on the Tilth coop tour this spring. The owner said he maintains it like a compost pile, noticing if it's getting smelly or wet and adding greens or browns as appropriate. His worm bin is right next to his chicken coop and worms come up into the litter, which the chickens love. It really was a lovely place - no chicken smell at all, no poop around, and it's inspired me to try this method. I'm not going to use pine shavings, but am going to toss everything edible that comes out of our yard and kitchen onto the pile and see how it goes. I figure that if it's on the ground, which mine will be, eventually it'll break down into great compost.
  6. clairabean

    clairabean Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2010
    Kootenays of BC!
    I do. Love it. Extremely minimal smell, and it smells not of poop, but of pine! It can be very dry/dusty when removing the litter, but if you use a mask it is no problem. And beside you only scoop it all out once or twice a year! Bonus! Every week or so I toss some nuts or seeds in for the chickens to scratch up the shavings. Other than that it is easy.
  7. swatchick

    swatchick Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 3, 2011
    I've never used anything other than the deep litter method. Never had a problem, always loved the ease of it and the annual results for the compost/garden. It's great insulation on the ground, too. I use a hammock under the roosts, though, because I like having a more frequent supply of manure.
  8. wishingbee

    wishingbee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2011
    SW Washington
    Quote:Sounds great- I can't wait to see how it works for you! I bet you're going to have both very happy chickens and an incredible garden. [​IMG]
  9. Angiebubs

    Angiebubs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2011
    Amery, WI WI/MN border
    Thank you for the responses!

    clairabean & swatchick:
    So if I start this now, will it still be ok with the winter approaching? I put down a solid 4 inches of shavings, then jsut add an inch or so every couple weeks? And Im starting to get nervous about the "worms deal" the bedding becomes "buggy"? (I was hoping to keep the maority of bugs OUTSIDE the coop as I plan on hanging out in there with them during the winter months....

    What do you mean about "adding greens or browns?"
  10. Barbedwirecat

    Barbedwirecat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 16, 2011
    I have heard of layering it with Food Grade diatomatious earth to keep the bugs out, plus I have hear it helps w/ mites/lice/internal parasites etc. I actually use it in my house and carpeting to keep the fleas away. FOOD GRADE is important, don't just go out and get the stuff you can find at Lowes or home depot. I get my stuff from TSC and have made sure it says food grade on it. It is safe for the chickens to eat (mind you not a TON of, but a normal foraging eating is fine)

    I just started my deep litter with the diatomacous earth, I'd have to let you know how it goes---but my coop does not smell like a coop at all.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2011

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