Deep litter method. A little confused.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Chickens in the Grove, Sep 11, 2010.

  1. Chickens in the Grove

    Chickens in the Grove Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm new to chickens and have been trying to figure out what would be best to put in the coop and the run. It seems like the deep litter method would be the easiest, but there are a few things I just don't think I'm getting.

    1. Is it just for the coop or the run? Can you use it for both? Does it work better for one or the other? I originally thought that I would use it for the run until I realized that I didn't know what I was doing for the coop! I've been reading threads about it, but I couldn't find any that said, "yes, go for it" or "no, this works better" or "yes, but not in this climate."

    2. In the coop: I've heard that the deep litter method will help keep your chickens warm in the winter, which would be nice, but I was wondering if it would help with the moisture in the coop? I live in Oregon. It rains 9 months out of the year. Everything is moist. So, would several inches of composting chicken poo be a problem? Would the litter absorb the moisture and actually help with the rain? Or would litter absorbing moisture trap moisture in the coop and make things worse? With proper ventilation would it not matter?

    3. In the run: What is the best litter to use for very rainy climates? Most people seem to use wood shavings, but I was worried something like that would just absorb all the rain and be useless for when the chickens want to use it. I saw someone who used pellets, instead, and I thought that that would be perfect since I have a pellet stove and use them anyway. But, again, I was worried that that would have the same moisture problem. I left some in a bucket outside and they did kind of puff up when it rained, but I don't know if it's enough to be a problem or not. So, does anyone have ant experience with lots of rain? My boyfriend's allergic to barkdust and hay, so I want to stay away from those, but is there a better alternative? Or would wood shavings or pellets work just fine? I don't know if it will help or not, but the coop and run are going to sit on top of what used to be a little walkway, so most of it is on concrete. There's a little strip of dirt in the middle, but only 6 or 7 inches. So, I'm hoping that that will help with a mud problem. I was trying to keep from having to put a piece of plywood on the bottom because I thought that that would just trap water when it rained, but maybe something like that would be better...? I don't know.

    4. And then I don't quite understand how people use the poo for compost with this method. Does the litter just compost with it or do you have to pick it out later? It sounded like some people had the poo draining out of it into something else, but is that a completely different method?

    Thanks for the help! I've been trying to read up on it all day and I'm more confused than when I started [​IMG] So thanks in advance for all of the help [​IMG]
     
  2. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Key component of the deep litter method is that it stays dry.
     
  3. SassyKat6181

    SassyKat6181 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi! I am new to this as well, I have an order of chicks coming next week. Here is a link to the forum on here about the deep litter method. https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=70 My thinking is that if you are in a moist climate that this may not be your best route to go. I am not sure how much the DE will dry it out.
     
  4. MissJenny

    MissJenny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May I preface this with a great big [​IMG]

    In answer to your basic question, "Where does the deep litter go?" -- it goes IN the coop. Although in your climate the litter might need to be changed more frequently than in other areas, you should do fine with deep litter. As your boyfriend is allergic to bark dust, I have no idea what reaction,. if any, he might have with wood shavings (NOT pine shavings, which can be harmful to your birds.) Error [​IMG] I meant NOT CEDAR!!! [​IMG]

    Outside, in the run, the most common material used is a combination of gravel and sand. This tends to drain well and it keeps the odor down. Wet dirt that's been piled up with chicken poop tends to stink -- a lot!

    When composting the litter, the whole she-bang gets dumped in the compost heap -- the wood shavings are bio-degradable and will compost down just fine.

    You'll do fine,
    Jenny
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2010
  5. Chickens in the Grove

    Chickens in the Grove Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 29, 2010
    Oregon
    Do you know what method would work best? Because the run, at least, is almost always going to be wet. It rains so much here!
     
  6. Chickens in the Grove

    Chickens in the Grove Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 29, 2010
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    Quote:Thanks a lot! That really helps.

    How often does the gravel/sand need to be cleaned and/or replaced? I don't know anything about it.
     
  7. MissJenny

    MissJenny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For the most part -- unless there are way too many chickens in too small an area, the sand and gravel never need to be cleaned or changed. It might be necessary to add more sand every several months to every year, but essentially the poop should break down and drain out through the gravel when it rains -- in your case it will be self-cleaned constantly.

    Jenny
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2010
  8. SassyKat6181

    SassyKat6181 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I thought pine was ok and cedar shavings were bad? I just bought a bag of pine for my brooder.
     
  9. Chickens in the Grove

    Chickens in the Grove Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 29, 2010
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    Quote:Oh, that's perfect! Thank you so much. I'll definitely do that.
     
  10. True Grit

    True Grit Chillin' With My Peeps

    I tried to do the deep litter method in my coop but since early July I have cleaned it out completely and replaced the shavings at least twice, when it started to smell. It wasn't wet and i added a cup of DE every week and cleaned off the poop board every few days. I don't know what I'm doing wrong but I have a feeling I will be cleaning it out every month in the winter. Not too big a deal I guess. [​IMG]
     

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