Deep Litter...For Babies?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ElioraImmanuel, May 25, 2010.

  1. ElioraImmanuel

    ElioraImmanuel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 8, 2010
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    Well my chicks have been home for 5 days. My layers have been upgraded to a 45 gallon tote and the meat birds to a 50 gallon. I've found that changing their bedding each day was getting messier and messier. Then I saw a post on deep litter for the coop. I have cob and pine pellets, but I do not want to put them on that until they are older. I had them on straw and hay. Boy, are those Cornish X Messy!

    So, there I was attempting to manage our 5 acres. We were city dwellers until last Dec and I've never had to cut 5 acres! Some of it is waaaay to long and we're having someone come and do it. But, I'm off topic....So, I'm doing as I'm doing a "second cut" on some areas that my sweet hubby couldn't get to, I'm looking at all of the "hay" from the stuff he cut 2 and 3 days ago. It was annoying me to see it sitting there all mess and clumpy and then I thought....Bedding!

    So, I have my 5 and 7 y/o a huge plastic tote and a rake and told them to fill it up...then a huge box. I was in our semi-sized garage cleaning and disinfecting the little coop (aka huge brooder) that was lent to us. It was sooooo gross. So, we bring our fresh hay into our regular garage and I clean their totes and instead of the 1" of shredded paper, I used 3 inches of hay and a bit of straw and packed it down. My broods are as happy as happy can be!

    I'm sold on deep litter. I'm going to fill our chick house up! Then, when DH builds our coop w/in the next 10 days I'm going to fill up my coop! All the free bedding I could ever want! Yippie! I'll add cob and pellet and DE and leaves to 'em, too!
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2010
  2. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    I would caution you against using your grass clippings as bedding without proper drying. Even well dried hay easily molds when used as bedding and grass clippings are even worse. Not only can the mold cause respiratory and other illness in your birds, the grass, when bedded deeply like that will heat up just like hay and can cause a fire. There's a reason people steer well clear of hay that's been rained on. Moist hay is a huge risk for both the health of the animals and the safety of your home, coops and barns.
     
  3. haTHOR

    haTHOR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    interesting...so what about DLM for chicks with pine shavings instead?
     
  4. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    DLM with pine shavings works great. Even for chicks.
     
  5. haTHOR

    haTHOR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i am doing it right now for two groups, but it does feel odd to just stir the shavings each day or two rather than change them all out. i am going the unmedicated route, and i do want to be very careful with cleanliness...but you have found this ok huh? or are there any modifications i should make? sure does save on time and energy...and i love that my babies are experiencing what their later litter will be from early on...seems to me like they scratch and hunt more since we started DLM than when they were in just a few shavings, newspaper, etc.
     
  6. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    If you feel icky about leaving the pine shavings in the brooder, just add some more over the top of the old. Voila! It looks fresh again. The CHICKS will stir it all up. You'll start to see them make little depressions for "dust baths" and they will also snuggle down into it sometimes. I've always used DLM in my brooders.
     
  7. SarahIrl

    SarahIrl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 4, 2010
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    Mine are deep littered on wood shavings, about three or four inches and as they get bigger, will add more. They stir it up trying to dust bath in it, scratching in it (which is so funny as they go scratch scratch fall over). I pu tthem in a large tote (about 3 foot by 18 inches) on Monday night, all five of them, and it still looks clean and fresh and there is no smell. I will chuck it out maybe this weekend, maybe mid-next week and replace the lot, but right now it's great. I was changing their bedding every 6 hours until Monday.
     
  8. Lotsapaints

    Lotsapaints Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2010
    Paso Robles, CA
    DLM is the way to go-I was worried to try it too and now well there is no smell and the babies make dust bowls and I buy them special scratch (finch feed) and they really keep it stirred up and I use it with my 7 week olds they have a 12x12 with rubber mats and it is no smell very dry I was going to use sand but when they are gone I'll just finish composting the bedding and I'll have beautiful mulch...We redesigned my pens to utilize DLM by putting concrete blocks for the foundation since we had to redo the roof..my chicken pens are aviary pens that we were given a long time ago big steel frames I really never knew how lucky I was to have until I priced the material out and my husband is a welding contractor that wire is spendy like expanded metal....all you need is poop boards to help keep it cleaner way better for your birds you just need to keep it dry you can't have any soggy areas...
     
  9. haTHOR

    haTHOR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    so those of you doing DLM in the brooder...

    what do you do about the shavings area that gets wet from splashed out water, etc?

    i have been stirring mine really well because the spillage is NOT huge, just enough to get the immediate area under the waterer damp. then i've been moving the waterer and pointing the lamp at that damp spot where it was, after stirring. seems like it is drying it up well. but i do have residual worry about mold, etc.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2010
  10. Lotsapaints

    Lotsapaints Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2010
    Paso Robles, CA
    I put my water up on blocks right away less water mess on the litter I also use when I have more than 30 in the brooder a piece of expanded metal for them to walk on that helps too but raising the water up is the big thing
     

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