Deep litter and leaves - question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by AriLovesChickens, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. AriLovesChickens

    AriLovesChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2011
    N Seattle, WA
    My Coop
    I've been using fallen leaves in my coop and run. I read about it somewhere and latched on to that idea immediately. Free litter material! However, I don't think they're breaking down very well. The area under the perches gets caked. The leaves in the run stay wet - of course, nothing really dries out here this time of year. And there's a bit of smell. Would it help to get shavings and mix them in? Do I need to buy hydrated lime? I also have some wood pellets I could use. What's the best way to create a good deep litter and utilize the leaves that are already in there?
  2. clairabean

    clairabean Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2010
    Kootenays of BC!
    You can try mulching your (DRY!) leaves and mix it with shavings. Laves tend to flatten and compact, which usually helps molds grow.
  3. mommissan

    mommissan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 4, 2011
    Diatomaceous Earth dries everything out and prevents lice/mites. I resisted using it for a while but finally gave in when I had a lice infestation. Coop smells so much better! remember to use a mask when you stir it up!
  4. DancingHen

    DancingHen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 11, 2011
    Central Oregon Coast
    Try raking your leaves together and running over them with a lawnmower. Smaller pieces will stay fluffed up better and break down faster. Less flattened layers. Then mixing in some wood shavings or pellets can't hurt. Toss some sunflower seeds down now and then to encourage the chickens to keep things stirred up.
  5. BlazeJester

    BlazeJester Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2011
    Midway, GA
    I have the long, flat oak leaves in plenty and they did the same thing. I put them in the run and it immediately rained; they NEVER dried out. I just got the last of the leaves out this past weekend. I do not have a lawnmower or tool to mulch the leaves, so I need a different option for the part of the run that gets very wet in rain.

    I have silt/clay soil and my current plan, after lots and lots of consideration and research on here, is to lay pea gravel with coarse construction sand atop it and a "cistern" (post hole dugout filled with railroad gravel) at the low end for drainage purposes.

    I don't have much helpful input since I'm still in the middle of my project, but I will let you know as it progresses and I will post the project to my BYC page as I go.
  6. AriLovesChickens

    AriLovesChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2011
    N Seattle, WA
    My Coop
    I don't think the mower mulching idea is an option for me. It would be a lot of work. The run isn't big enough to mow inside*, and I don't have the energy to haul it all out and put it back. We're talking about maybe 10 wheelbarrow loads worth, plus a few yard bags I picked up in the neighborhood. [​IMG]

    I'm not going to use sand or gravel. We're renting our house, and I don't want to deal with trying to move and dispose of something that heavy when the time comes to move out (in the next few years).

    *May have to check on this - maybe doing it inside would be somewhat feasible.

    DE is a good idea...and getting the chooks to dig around for me...

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