Deep Litter Method - Light mist or not?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by imthedude, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. imthedude

    imthedude Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do those of you who use the DLM give the shavings a slight mist before you stir them up or leave them dry? The composting process tyipcally needs a little bit of water, so I was wondering if water in the form of mist would help the decomposition process as well as keep the dust down a bit.
     
  2. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    It's not really going to compost in the coop. If it's on a dirt floor it will have enough moisture to start to break down a little, but not really hot compost. If it is moist enough to actually start aerobic composting it will blow off large amounts of ammonia.

    When we had a small coop in Texas I used to mist the litter and stir it in to keep the dust down, but it was never moist enough to actually start decomposing.
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Well other livestock bedding packs can for SURE compost hot in a barn (if managed correctly in a situation that permits it), and I can't see why the same couldn't be true for chicken coop bedding (again, in the right circumstances). I've dug out deep-litter style horse stalls where a foot or foot and a half (? - it was quite a while ago) below the surface the stuff was literally hot enough that you did not want to touch it for very long. (Also stunk to high heaven in some strata).

    HOWEVER those conditions are not going to be produced in the vast majority of backyard chicken coops, and probably *shouldn't* be produced in a lot of coops/climates because some undesirable conditions will result too.

    There is no such thing as "the" deep litter method. People need to stop saying that, IMHO, it just confuses and misleads people. There is a whole huge range of ways of managing deepish litter -- a huge range on each of several axes in fact -- each of which has its own pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses, ins and outs, and different applicability to different situations.

    Do not worry about some "the" deep litter method recipe. Just manage YOUR litter pack. Experiment. See what works for you. If it seems dry and dusty, and you do not already have a humidity problem, you can try misting it if you like and see what happens. If you like the results then do it more in future; if you don't, then don't. Etcetera. Work out what works best for YOU, not some airy-fairy generalization or some other particular person's experiences in a different coop than yours.

    JMHO, good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2010
  4. jerseygirl1

    jerseygirl1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yup. you have to do what works best for your coop. I tried the DLM and no matter what way I managed it, it just did not work. So, now I just stir it up every day, once a week clean out the really bad shavings and repalce with new and some DE. Twice a year I empty it all out and bleach it
     
  5. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    Quote:One could make it compost in the coop, but I seriously doubt that they would like the results. I can only envision ammonia, foot pad problems, and breast blisters from the moist litter.
     
  6. jerseygirl1

    jerseygirl1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a serious ammonia problem, and I tried like heck to make it work for a year.
     
  7. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    Quote:Why didn't it work for you?
     
  8. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    Quote:That's pretty much the nature of it. The manure is going to give off ammonia no matter how you manage it. You can only try to minimize the build up with good ventilation, keeping it at proper moisture levels, burying it in fresh bedding, etc. The ammonia is what makes it "self-sterilizing" and somewhat keeps the bacteria in check.
     
  9. spartacus_63

    spartacus_63 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, I have always thought the D(S)LM was the most care free method on the planet. Although it can be very dusty when the ladies start kickin' it up in there. If I get to much ammonia, I just add fresh air. I do get some compost action down low in the litter (and I am not on a dirt floor). That is the way I thought it was supposed to work. It would never compost completely as long as there are chickens in there though. I'm in agreement with Pat though. Go with what works for you. The worst thing that could happen is that you would have to clean out the coop and restart.
     
  10. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    Quote:Where's the moisture coming from? Even when I used to mist down the litter in our coop Texas, it would pretty much be bone dry again within days.
     

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