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Deep litter method, I think I messed up.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ChknsMyLove, Nov 28, 2016.

  1. ChknsMyLove

    ChknsMyLove New Egg

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    I am trying the deep litter method in my coop. I have 2 hens. My mixture is dirt, sand, and wood shavings.

    I was reading on the internet NOT to put DE or any other pesticide in the deep litter. and that's where I screwed up. I do have DE and permethrin in my deep litter (we had a bout of scaly leg mites). Did I completely screw up? Should I remove the litter I have in there and just use sand and start over in the spring?

    How do you know your deep litter is working? I don't smell any odors, it's pretty open. When I turn it, about once a week or so, I do not see any poop, just a dark colored "dirt". It's about 4-5 inches thick. Thank you in advance!
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2016
  2. Phyllis Lee

    Phyllis Lee New Egg

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    Oct 7, 2016
    I wasn't aware you could use litter in chicken coops
    Tell me more
     
  3. ChknsMyLove

    ChknsMyLove New Egg

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  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I’d leave it. I don’t think either substance will do any harm in the long run.

    First there are different versions of deep litter or methods called deep litter. The one people like to talk about on here is where you have some sort of bedding which is the carbon or brown in composting along with chicken poop which is the nitrogen or green. For the stuff to actually compost though you need moisture. You don’t want too much moisture or it will stink. If it is too dry the microbes that do the composting cannot live. The perfect moisture content for composting is when it is about as wet as a well-wrung out sponge.

    I don’t do that and I don’t think most people on here do either. I have bedding in there but I keep it dry. I’m not composting in there but the dry bedding absorbs the moisture from the poop and it does not smell. That may be closer to what you are doing.

    The Permethrin has a relatively short life. It fairly quickly breaks down and no longer kills microbes or bugs. If you are actually composting you want the microbes and bugs, so permethrin is not good thing. But in a pretty short time span the effects will have worn off and it will no longer kill microbes or bugs.

    The DE is a dessicant. It absorbs water and dries things out. When it is dry it has tiny razor-sharp edges that can cut a bug’s surface and injure it, even kill it by drying it out. It will not harm microbes, just bigger things like certain bugs that it can scratch. The microbes are what actually do the bulk of the composting. The bugs are a help but marginally so.

    As long as yours does not smell, what you are doing is working. I would not change a thing.
     
  5. ChknsMyLove

    ChknsMyLove New Egg

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    Thank you for your response! You calmed my fears a bit. I live in the Pacific Northwest, so I don't have problems with moisture at all. If I notice the coop getting too wet, I throw more shavings on it. I've been lucky so far in that it's never been really dry.
     
  6. jcoz

    jcoz Out Of The Brooder

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    @Phyllis Lee by litter they are talking about the stuff that you use in your coop for absorbing waste, such as pine chips, straw and such, I believe. Not clay cat litter. Don't use cedar chips either, as they can be toxic to chickies from what I've heard.

    @ChknsMyLove If it smells like dirt, it's good. Just like a good compost heap. If I smell ammonia I add more chips to dry the mix out. I use DE as needed and it hasn't affected my flock or their poo pile adversely.
     
  7. ChknsMyLove

    ChknsMyLove New Egg

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    Jul 11, 2016
    Thank you @jcoz it does smell like dirt, not ammonia.
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    :thumbsup
     
  9. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not an expert by any stretch but haven't heard of people mixing dirt and sand in with the DLM. Some have a dirt floor but after that I don't think it is necessary. If you were not doing DLM then you could use sand and scoop it out but I don't see the point in using sand if you are also using wood shaving. I keep mine very simple. Grass clippings, leaves, and sometimes I will throw in some straw if I get a bale. Works out perfect. Maye there are people adding sand to the DLM??
     

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