Deep litter method???

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Birdlover 13, Oct 7, 2016.

  1. Birdlover 13

    Birdlover 13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We're getting 3 buff orpingtons next Thursday and I'm wondering whether the deep litter method is a suitable way to maintain our run floor.

    [​IMG]

    This was an old greenhouse that we converted into a chicken shelter with a coop. We will be building an outside run for the chickens to scratch around in and to get some sun, which is roundabout half the size of this shelter. We aren't entirely finished yet ( still need to add ventilation in the coop) and we plan to house 6 chickens in here.

    So I was wondering how to maintain the run floor, either by using deep litter or cleaning it out every weekend.

    Thx [​IMG]
     
  2. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    That's a nice run area! I don't know if deep litter would work on top of paver stones though. It might be better to just hose it off to clean it.
     
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Are your chickens going to be kept in there all the time, or are you planning on free range? The reason that i ask is because chickens need to be able to exhibit their natural behaviour - foraging and dust bathing, for example. If they are going to be there all the time, then some kind of litter that facilitates this natural behaviour is important for their welfare.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
  4. Birdlover 13

    Birdlover 13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are going to build an outside run that is to be connected to the shelter where thay will have contact with the soil and space to forage and scratch in the dirt
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
  5. Birdlover 13

    Birdlover 13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    But won't the bricks be hard on their feet?
     
  6. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Yes it will. Why did you put bricks down in the first place? I would have used the bricks for a perimeter around the upside to keep predators from digging under the fence and left the run just bare dirt with litter over the top.
    If you are keeping the bricks there and they will have a seperate run area, you can put a couple inches of hay or something on top of the brick and clean it our frequently, like you said. Most likely they won't be spending much time on the pavers anyway and will prefer the outside run.
    I probably misunderstood your original post and you were asking about the run you are going to build, not the paved area you have now. For the outer run I would just put down grass clippings and leaves for them to scratch around in. It will decompose b itself. Just turn it over a couple times a week.
    I personally don't use depth litter out in open areas because it gets rained on and never completely dies out, then it's a stinky mess.
     
  7. Birdlover 13

    Birdlover 13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It was originally a greenhouse with bricks so we just converted it without taking all the bricks out.
     
  8. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Oh. I thought just the frame was a greenhouse and you added the pavers when you put up the coop.
     
  9. Parks

    Parks Out Of The Brooder

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    I would take the bricks out except the ones the coop is sitting on top of. This will give you a nice dirt area to have them scratch around in. My run is 7' x 11.5' with 6 hens. I use the cut grass clipping from my lawn and the neighbors lawn in the run. I will spread out the green clippings and then turn them once a week. About every 6-8 weeks I will rake it clean and start over. Probably could go longer but just what I have been doing. My girls will free range almost every afternoon we get home from work and most weekends for the majority of the two days.

    Pull the bricks and make your life easier.
     
  10. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Depending on a few things, I might be willing to speak on behalf of the bricks. The two questions I'd have is about climate (how much rain and how wet is this site going to be) and rats.

    If you live in a wet climate, the bricks will help elevate things a bit and give the water a place to go. What litter you have will be kept high and dry(er). The run is not small, but not large enough that it will not eventually turn into a wet, smelly mud hole on dirt if you live in a wet climate and especially so if the site is not really well drained. Bricks are no harder on their feet than concrete and birds have been kept on concrete for at least 100 years. The litter cushions and isolates their feet from it. They will still scratch around through and under the litter.

    Second issue would be if you have rats. They can tunnel in and under dirt. They can't do so well on bricks.

    Not saying to keep or get rid of them, just listing a couple pros to go along with the cons so you can decide which best fits your situation.
     

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