Deep litter method (Feathers)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Excogitate, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. Excogitate

    Excogitate Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 2, 2016
    Apache Junction, AZ
    I am trying DLM and my chicks are getting big (4 months old). Feathers are building up in corners of the run. Well with deep litter method will the feathers decompose in there or should I be cleaning them out?

  2. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Chicken Obsessed

    Jun 23, 2013
    Hilo, HI
    Hope someone with more experience will 'peep' in.... I myself would gather them & toss in a compost pile. Think they'll eventually decompose? That's an interesting question, I've just started doing DLM but haven't had molting or much loose feathers, if I see any I pick them up, don't want the chicken eating them.
  3. Leigti

    Leigti Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 22, 2015
    Walla Walla WA
    This is just a guess here but I don't think the feathers will decompose very quickly at all. Have you ever noticed that if you find the remains of some animal or bird in the woods the feathers and the for our left but nothing else is? I would try to pick up the majority of the feathers.
  4. JadedPhoenix

    JadedPhoenix Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 29, 2012
    Tyro-Lexington, NC
    I've never bothered with collecting feathers from around my run. Even during molting season. I suppose that a lot of factors go into whether or not they will become an issue.
  5. HennyPenny2

    HennyPenny2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've had feathers composting a good while and still are there, at least the bigger ones mostly although I have still seen even the smaller feathers. I still just add it all in my raised vegetable beds as I'm sure it's good for the soil but they must take ages to completely decompose. At least from my experience.
  6. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 18, 2012
    Northern Virginia
    My Coop
    I do deep litter and I don't bother the feathers. They shortly get mixed in with the litter and eventually decompose. It may take a while but they don't cause any problems so I don't see any reason to remove them.
  7. Excogitate

    Excogitate Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 2, 2016
    Apache Junction, AZ
    Thanks for all the replies. I think I will just let them stay for now if I notice an issue when it comes time to empty and start over then I will have an idea for sure. Side note I had a customer tell me his neighbor had chickens and he has artificial grass in his back yard.... the feathers would get stuck in the grass and were impossible to get out completely. He didn't seem to mind too much but that was his only complaint LOL.
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I don’t worry about the feathers. They will eventually decompose or just get scratched to shreds.

    A lot of people that think they are doing deep litter really aren’t actually composting the stuff in the coop. The microbes that turn that stuff into compost need a certain amount of moisture to live and many of us keep their coops too dry for that. A lot of what some people see as composting is actually the chickens scratching that stuff to shreds. When I empty mine out it’s in the fall so it has the winter to break down before spring planting. I spread it on my garden.

    My chickens eat a lot of the small feathers flying around, especially those little light fluffy ones. It’s mostly free protein. I’ve never seen any problem with them eating those feathers. I’ve never had a problem with any of mine becoming feather pickers and they eat feathers all the time.
  9. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    If the run is outdoors and or gets enough moisture regardless, feathers will compost, eventually...

    Makes a good addition to the deep litter.

    I think you will also find that as the birds get bigger, the feathers just seem to disappear (eaten).
  10. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2008
    I have taken the shop vac and sucked up after the molt. Coop only.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by