deep litter and linoleum floor?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ebonykawai, Jan 28, 2008.

  1. ebonykawai

    ebonykawai Chillin' With My Peeps

    Will that even work? I hope so because I want to go the deep litter route, but I've read a couple things about the litter not composting on anything but dirt. Does anyone have experience with deep litter on a built wooden floor covered with linoleum? Would it be better if I leave off the linoleum and just put the litter on the wood floor?
     
  2. Dawn419

    Dawn419 Lost in the Woods

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    Check out my Deep Litter Method page.

    Our main coop has a wooden floor that we covered with linoleum. Granted, the pooh doesn't seem to compost, but it is dry and there is no smell.

    Hope this helps!

    Dawn
     
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  3. skatcatla

    skatcatla Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmm..well, in my old coop I had the pine shavings covering a wire bottom, and definitely it didn't compost much at all. I suspect you are right, it won't compost on linoleum (not enough moisture, no microorganisms from the dirt, etc).

    Are you worried about warmth for your girls?
     
  4. ebonykawai

    ebonykawai Chillin' With My Peeps

    No, not really. It's a small coop and they will definitely warm it in the winter. I thought deep litter was better for them, but it doesn't matter either way. I'm sort of fanatical on cleanliness. I just wanted to know if it works. Thanks for the link, Dawn!
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    The thing is there are really two different things that "deep litter method" can mean.

    "Real Deep Litter Method" - the historical version, the one with all the many actual benefits to the animals.

    This is the one where the litter starts to compost in place, providing warmth, vitamins, bugs to eat [​IMG], microbial control of some pests and diseases, etcetera.

    It only works if your litter is damp enough to compost AND has a good inoculum of composting organisms -- both of which will occur automatically on an earthen floor and are unlikely to occur on cement, wood, or vinyl. You can get a little composting going on one of those non-earth surfaces by *making* the litter a little damp (be very careful with this, you don't want to be making a swamp!) and adding a few shovelsful of good garden dirt. However, from experience with horse barns I will say that this still does not produce anything like the deep-litter composting you get on a real earthen floor, and all in all I am not sure it would be worth trying.

    "The Lazy, no wait - Efficient <g> Deep Litter Method" (I do this myself, so don't think I'm picking on it!) is when you do NOT have an earthen floor and have no hope of significant composting etcetera, and yet you let the litter pile up anyways because it isn't possible to just pick the poo out like you could in a horse stall and really who'd want to throw away all that perfectly good bedding when it's not bothering anybody yet [​IMG]

    This may not have as many benefits as old-timey 'let the bedding pile up til the cows' ears are scraping the rafters' deep litter, HOWEVER it is still perfectly fine for the chickens and conserves time, energy, and bedding. I can see no reason whatsoever not to do it.

    [​IMG]

    Pat
     
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  6. skatcatla

    skatcatla Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Ebony: I know what you mean about wanting to keep it clean. I feel the same way. So far the best tip I've read on these boards is to put something underneath the roost to catch the poop. It really is where most of the poop in the coop ends up! So far I've just been putting an extra piece of wood under the roost, but I've been pondering a design that I could hang under the roost. Each morning when I check on food/water and collect eggs, I've been using a cat litter box scoop to pick up an large clumps and I dump the whole poop board into the composter pail.
     
  7. CarlaRiggs

    CarlaRiggs Chillin' With My Peeps

    So the only major difference between the two 'methods' is that the deep litter with soil contact will decompose, while the wood/linoleum contact will not, is that correct? Because I'm in southern California, my hens would not need the heat from decomposition in winter....
    The cleaner wood floor seems more my choice.[​IMG]
    If I could change out the deep litter twice a year, just tossing it into the garden or a compost pile, things would be great!
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    you may not even have to change it that often (your 'twice a year') if you use droppings boards to allow you to remove much of the poo daily and start with good quality shavings. Just wait and see how it goes... you may end up changing it out due to dustiness more than anything else.

    One thing to remember is that if it isn't composting in the coop, it will probably have to compost outdoors a good while (probably requiring addition of additional high-nitrogen material if you want fast composting - if it's mostly shavings it can take a long time). If for some reason you clean it out while it's still fairly clean, you can put it straight on a garden but as the shavings break down they're going to suck N out of the soil for a while, so it would be good to add a high nitrogen fertilizer at the same time.

    Have fun,

    Pat
     
  9. McGoo

    McGoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    I use deep litter and I use something under the roost. I continually turnover the litter in the main part of the coop and as for under the roost I have a screen with a big tray under it w/corncob pellets to catch the poop. Every other day or so, I pull out the tray/draw and scoop out the poop and put it in the compost.

    Here's how we built it. See the roost to the left and the screen under it? Well under that we slide in a draw/tray which I fill with corbcob pellet. I use the corncob cause it's fine for the compost vs kitty litter which isn't.

    [​IMG]

    And here's it as they began to use the coop. It's still really clean looking, but honestly, even after months, there is no smell.
    [​IMG]

    Good luck and hope this helps.
     
  10. CarlaRiggs

    CarlaRiggs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi, Pat ~
    Yes, I will use plenty of nitrogen in my composting. [​IMG] Here in the West, we seem to be nitrogen deficient in many places. After garden for 30 years, I have wonderful soil [​IMG] with lots of earthworms/anglers. I'm expecting the hens to have lots of fun with that!
    The dropping boards seem to be an excellent idea. I was planning on using a board with linoleum on it (ala Seachick). The fresh droppings will go into the compost with lots of leaves and kitchen peels until they're broken down and won't burn the plants.

    Thanks for the photos of your coop, McGoo. I have a question about your door. I love the way it opens for easy cleaning, and ventilation. Do you find that it sags at all because of its weight? Do you ever leave it open for extended times?

    I'm thinking it would be great to have here where the summer gets very hot. If I could leave the door open for evening breezes, that would help. I'd have to secure it with 1/2" hardcloth....


    Carla
     
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