Deep litter method? Help please

Sunny Day

In the Brooder
12 Years
Mar 27, 2007
I'm new here and I'm trying to understand this deep litter method. Are we talking about within the coop, under the perches only or in the whole fenced area? I'm trying to design a coop that will make cleanup easy, so I was thinking to catch the droppings from under the roost in a large plastic bin. I thought I could just empty it out once or twice a year, but maybe I'm not understanding this part right. I was thinking this might be easier than a dropping "board". Can you help me understand this a little better? Do I need to put litter everywhere they go?
Thank you for your advice. (I'm waiting for the babies to arrive in early May.)


12 Years
Feb 8, 2007
I've used the deep litter approach during the winter, and put it all over the floor in the coop for warmth. But in the spring and summer I use less litter because I find I have to clean the coop more often because of the heat and the smell. I still put it all over the floor of the coop but only 3 or 4 inches deep. In the winter I go about 7 or 8 inches and keep adding as the winter progresses.


9 Years
Aug 23, 2010
I'm just starting to read about this deep litter method . I use pine shavings on the floor of my chicken house. An inch or so covering the entire floor, which measures 9'x5'. Hubby, who grew up on the farm, told me I only need to clean it out about once a year but this sounds awful to me. Now I'm thinking it might be a good idea for winter to help insulate the floor. I couldn't let it go 6-8 inches or my girls couldn't get thru the doors! My big question is about cleanliness and doesn't this just invite insects and rodents?

Yay Chicks!

9 Years
Apr 15, 2010
Forest Grove, OR
My coop is small and I just have 4 birds. The dropping board is great because I can just slide it out and dump it in the compost. I use pine shavings on the floor, add some DE and stir it up once in a while. sometimes I scoop a bit out if they drop a bunch in one spot. I'll add some more pine shavings at that point. I clean the whole thing out if it smells, which isn't often, and even then the poop is mostly dried out and I'm dumping more shavings than anything.
The run is a different matter. Mine is covered and dry. I've been using dried leaves, adding a wheelbarrow full weekly, which the tramp down into pieces with the poop and dirt creating a pretty clean compost. Only thing, I've run out of leaves and the sweet gum won't drop for a while. May have to create a sand run and scoop it frequently like a litter box


In the Brooder
Jun 2, 2015
I've read you shouldn't use DE because it kills organisms which work to reduce the litter to compost. Can anyone help clarify this?


7 Years
Feb 22, 2012
Eastern WA
I have some DE, but I have a fairly large coop, 12x16. I use stall fresh (which I think is basically lime) to sprinkle over the old litter before I add the new. I also use it when I clean out the nest boxes (which is more often than I clean the coop) and sprinkle it to cover the bottom of the box before I put fresh shavings or straw in them.

The stall fresh is way cheaper than DE, and it does a great job with odor.


Mar 17, 2015
SW Ohio
We use the Deep Litter Method in our covered run. It's a mixture of grass clippings, straw, leaves and pine needles. The poop drops through it to the ground below and decomposes. There is no odor or flies, In the spring we'll scoop a couple of inches out to throw on the garden. Other than that we never "clean" it.

Since the run is covered, it stays dry. If we have a blowing rain, I fluff it up around the edges with a stall fork. It's amazing how easy it is to keep fresh.

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