Deep Litter Method... in the Run? 3 part question!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Neilette, May 26, 2010.

  1. Neilette

    Neilette Songster

    Apr 18, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    In an extremely wet temperate climate, what would be the best substrate in the run? Please help a new Seattle chickener!

    1) I live in Seattle, and I'm looking for something to line the run with that will A) prevent mud, B) be cheap, and C) be low maintenance. I'm enamored by the idea of DLM, but is it any good in the wet? My coop floor is exposed to rain -- it's an ark tractor, so the edges get rained into.

    Would DLM work if wet? The bottom frame of the ark is about 4" tall, so I was considering DLM inside the ark, and then just mucking out the rest of the run regularly...?

    2) I'm looking for something for the run, as well. I dug all of the straw out of the top layer of soil after I read that it retains moisture! Yikes! That mess is now keeping some blackberries very happy in high-clay soil. Wood chips are currently blanketing my run, which is "sort of" working: Half of the run regularly looks great, but the poopier half is slowly disappearing under poop and into the soil.

    3) Also, I think it isn't thick enough on the poopier side; I'm considering buying another yard. But at $30/yard, I can't keep it up! Will it help to mix the chips? I have to admit that I haven't been. What do you think?

    I would appreciate your ideas/help. [​IMG]

    ETA: Oh, and anything that degrades the soil can't used. This plot of land is going to be garden in the future. Otherwise, it would be sand in an instant! And it would be beyond a pain in my... neck to cover, or else it already would be. Hm hm hmm...
    Last edited: May 26, 2010
  2. Neilette

    Neilette Songster

    Apr 18, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    Haha, to summarize:

    1) Will DLM work if it gets regularly rained on?

    2) What's best for a rainy run?

    3) Should I mix the wood chips in the run, or do I have to just keep topping them off?
  3. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I'm only going to be able to partially answer your queries.

    My run is clay soil. That horrible adobe *crud* (Insert stronger, pithier word). It WAS crab-grass before the chickens took it down to the hardest clay in the entire universe (unless it rains for days on end). Well, when it DID rain, it became slicker 'n snot. I fell more than once, and once rather spectacularly. I added pavers for safe spots to step; they had to get sunk into the wet clay before THEY were safe.

    In mucking out the coops one dry day, I got tired after I raked all the DLM out onto the ground. Vowed to scrape it up into the plastic tub things I use for garden trash, then put it in the compost heap.

    Later that day, I noticed the chickens were having a field day scratching in it, spreading it around. Great, gonna be hard to gather NOW. Then the dog knocked over the compost pyramid thing, and the brooder pine shavings were in a heap. The chickens - free ranging that day - knocked that down and spread it around, too. No biggie for the compost, as it's tucked away in a hidden spot, but I noticed something.....

    ... in the run, the "used" pine shavings totally changed the ground behind the coops. Especially when it rains, it's not as slick as it was when it was just clay. I feel it's an improvement. I'm cheap and lazy, so I don't think I'll buy enough to totally cover the run. Instead I'll just continue to dump the used DLM into the run (raking up the nasty clumps) to augment that clay soil. And the chickens love it.
  4. Neilette

    Neilette Songster

    Apr 18, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    [​IMG] That's sounding good!
  5. illegal avian

    illegal avian Cooped up

    Apr 21, 2010
    Third World, Texas
    Quote:SEE #2
  6. Neilette

    Neilette Songster

    Apr 18, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    [​IMG] Well, darn.

    Thanks for the heads up!
  7. Bossroo

    Bossroo Songster

    Jun 15, 2008
    Straw and wood shavings and wood chips all retain water by their very nature as well as acting as a binder. That scenario is mighty close to the tamped mud house on the prarie during the settlement times ... that is now also tauted by some ... take clay soil , add some straw then add a little water mix well, place in place and tamp well. Solid adobe walls. Now try to clean out that pen after the mud dies out. NOT ME , too much hard work !!!
  8. mstricer

    mstricer Crowing

    Feb 12, 2009
    I use straw. My run gets muddy when it rains so I just throw straw in the deep mud holes and around watering stand and then throw a big pile and add scratch and the chickens spread it out. I just leave it and it does fine. And my chickens also think that huge piles cleaned out from the coop are great fun.
  9. carolinagirls

    carolinagirls In the Brooder

    Jan 22, 2009
    I live in SC. We put hay in our run and now we have a stinky mess. We have to rake all the
    straw out before our neighbors complain about the smell. Hay breaks down really fast once it
    gets wet along with sunflower seeds and laying mash----yuk. We wont make that mistake again. The fresh hay looks so nice and the chicks love scratching around in it. I was looking on the forum to see what everyone else uses in runs, seems like sand would be the best option for us. It will be 90 here tomorrow and it has rained all week-- not looking forward to
    that. Thanks for all the info here about everyone's experiences.
    Love our Carolina Girls.
  10. Dingleberry

    Dingleberry Songster

    Apr 22, 2010
    I heard sand is the best. I have the top of my run covered with the see through vinyl coorgiated material found at hd in the roofing isle. The run is not as bad as in front of the coop, When I clean the girls coop I just let the shavings stay on the floor .# 1 to soak up water. #2 I don't have an area yet to put the stuff in.[​IMG]

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