Deep Litter Method - Starting Over

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by tdgill, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. [​IMG] Food + Water + Warmth = Mold

    I had a nice (or so i thought) deep litter going on, really surprising how poop seems to disappear, floor feels nice and cushiony for the jump down from the roosts, had quite a bit of dirt in it from chunks of sod I brought in when the weather was not so nice out (turns out the dirt made way too much dust! and if I hadnt had hay and food mixed in, I would have misted the litter to keep it less dusty and better composting but since I put in my nice window that dear BF says he'll make somekinda shutters or awning or such for, then we got all this rain blowing in...and all would have been well if I had mastered the food spillage problems. If that IS possible. I saw some mold where the feeder spills over in there today along the windowed wall and I just cringed at the thought of how much food was mixed in the litter and could also get moldy...

    SO, I gots lots of nice composting material. Any one else have this happen? Please tell me it DOES get easier. At least to the point where I am not freaking out all the time...hahahha
  2. sandy sea

    sandy sea Songster

    Mar 19, 2008
    Gavilan Hills, CA
    I keep my water and food in the run not the coop. I have a dirt in the run and only use the shavings in the coop. Live in California so I do not have much of a problem with too many nights of freezing water.
  3. I to never put feed or water in my coop, only out in the run.
  4. espressola

    espressola Songster

    Feb 19, 2009
    River Pines, CA
    I do keep food and water in my coop, but there is plenty of room and I use a hanging feeder, so don't get much waste. I put in vinyl flooring so I am not too worried about moisture getting to the floor and rotting it out, but my galvanized waterer is up on blocks about chest high to the chickens so they don't spill much. I think your biggest problem seems to be moisture coming through the window.. can you keep the windows closed when it's raining til bf
    does his awning type of thing? Some people put a large dish type of thing under their feeders to minimize spillage. Have you tried to add some sweet PDZ or such to the bedding to help keep it dry and fresh?
    Patty N. ;-)
  5. Quote:don't they spill food on the dirt run that then turns moldy?
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    My food (and water) are in the coop. I have a piece of plywood under the feeder, tho, so that food spills (and they should be minimal if you have a good feeder set high enough and arranged so it can't knock over) do not get mixed in with the bedding at large. (obviously there's some bedding there on the plywood, but only an inch or two I'd guess).

    I shovel out around the feeder and waterer -- the *waterer* area is where I have once or twice gotten towards moldiness, b/c of me spilling things -- every few months or whenever it seems to need it. The rest of my bedding is quite dry and not going to mold. Stirring helps with that, too.

    So, it is too late now I guess [​IMG] but unless your whole bedding was really damp and foody and nasty, you probably didn't have to get rid of it all, just spot-treat as it were.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Last edited: Jun 11, 2009
  7. Pat would you be my fairy godmother??? I adore you and your thorough wisdom. I did actually think about doing just that, spot treating, but the other issue was the dirt that I had in there from the sod was getting to be a mess as well. One little kick or scratch and it was like pigpen from charlie brown. And of course I wanted to spray it/water it down a bit for composting deep litter method (litter shouldnt be too dry - I assume it means there has to be enough poop in the ratio) but with the food issue and the hay issue I didnt think it would be a good idea. The little buggers had knocked over their feeder on more than one occasion into 4 or 5 inches of litter and spread it around. I think the dirt bugged me just as much as the amount of food I imagined in there. If not more. Maybe I should/can sift some old litter out and put it back in for bio properties...I can't believe I can continue to make this harder!!! lmao

    Thanks everyone for your input as well. Its nice to hear there are people out there using common sense and doing just fine!
  8. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I have a feeder and waterer in both my coop and run. Here are pictures.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Er, you don't want to do that this time of year, really...

    ...the only thing you need a certain dampness quotient in the litter for is to have it compost and produce heat. You do not so much need to be producing heat in summertime [​IMG]

    Left dry, the litter will still break down, just more slowly and differently and without warmth. It will not impair the function of your deep litter to be dry. Whereas, having it damp can produce mold and other problems, as you have seen.

    It is a bit iffy having it damp in winter -- you *really* don't want it that way in summertime IMHO, nor is there any particular reason for it. If it gets really dusty because it is old (particles have broken down to tiny dusty size) and dry, you could *consider* misting it with water and raking that in just to lay the dust -- but, that is not always the greatest idea either IMO.

    It is really a whole big lot better to look at what you've got going on, and see how it compares to good conditions, and manage as necessary, than to start with a recipe or procedure to follow.

    Good luck, have fun,

  10. great advice as always
    thank you!

    I know there are other people who put sod in their run this winter, early spring. I think from my experience I will not do it again as the dirt dust was just as big an issue for me.

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