Deep Litter method

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Keithk, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. Keithk

    Keithk New Egg

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    Dec 30, 2009
    I had been using straw for the coop floor and nest boxes. However this winter, with the girls staying inside more, the smell was getting bad. I figured this wasn't good for them, or us. Cleaned out all the straw and put a 4 inch layer of pine shavings down. What a difference! Smells way better, and they were happier too. With their scratching, the poo gets pushed down, and have a nice clean coop. I have read some people only clean out the shaving once a year, and have great compost. We will probably do it more often. This does seem like the way to go in the winter.
     
  2. goosemama

    goosemama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 11, 2009
    Forestville, New York
    I use the deep litter method too. My chickens free range on about an acre of grass but when cold weather arrived I cleaned out the henhouse floor and put it all on the compost pile then put down two new large bags of wood shavings in the coop to make it about 6 - 8 inches deep for the winter and sprinkled diatomaceous earth all over the shavings as well. Whenever I go down to feed & water I throw some cheap feed around on the floor (I had barley and cracked corn bought at an auction). The chickens peck at the seed, kicking and digging around in the littler and aerate it keeping it nice and dry - also gives them something to do. The more expensive 20% poultry pellets I use only in the poultry hopper. When winter is over, I'll clean out the coop again putting the old bedding on the compost pile and start again. There is absolutely no smell in the henhouse. I also use clean shavings in the nestboxes along with diatomaceous earth which helps with insect problems. Think this is a great system and a lot less work!
     
  3. ducks4you

    ducks4you Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 20, 2009
    East Central Illinois
    I KNOW what I'm gonna do when I build the coop next year: I'm adding a rubber cow mat on top of the vinyl flooring for the winter. I cheated and put my birds in the barn in a horse stall (no windows in this one) for the winter. I have 8 RIR's, all layers now, and the dimensions are 12 x 16 ft, rectangular. I only have 2 inches of shavings in some spots, BUT the cement floor is wall to wall rubber mats, covered with diatomaceous earth (just a dusting), then 2-4 inches of shavings. There is literally no smell, besides my horse's dirty litter after a day. They are cold, but dry, airflow but no drafts at or below their head height. (We're in zone 5, and we've had sub-zero F degrees in the mornings for the past week.) No frostbite. Healthy hens who eat, drink, scratch around, have little squables and are too vocal for their own good. [​IMG]
     
  4. goosemama

    goosemama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 11, 2009
    Forestville, New York
    My coop floor is wooden (Amish built shed) but we laid on the floor old vinyl real estate signs (we are in the business so have plenty) before I laid down the shavings and DE - I can shovel through the litter right down to the top of the signs and its dry. The rubber cow mats sound like a great idea too - serves the same purpose. I have kept sheep before and the uneaten hay fell to the barn floor as a deep litter - but what a pain that is to remove when its soaked with urine and sheep dodo at the end of the winter!!!
     
  5. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    Deep litter is the way to go both for ease of maintenance, for sanitation, and for a soft landing when the chooks jump down from their roosts. You will find that it can last up to a year if you do a proper poop plank and scrape daily.[​IMG] I have linoleum over wood and 4" or more grass clippings. It really works well and the clippings are free. Will easily go for a year before changeout in springtime. I just keep adding all year during the mowing season and it always smells so good. By wintertime, I have a good layer of dried grass clippings to last until springtime. And, did I say it is free! [​IMG]
     
  6. The Chicken People

    The Chicken People Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2009
    Smithville, Mo
    I have been using straw for the ground in the run. I use free shavings from the cabinet shop for the floor in the coop area. I use stall dri. I will change my ways next year ( like different flooring in coop!) ...I have learned alot from BYC!
     
  7. ducks4you

    ducks4you Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 20, 2009
    East Central Illinois
    Forgot to mention--I brought their outside dog igloo inside for them when I put them in the stall last month, because they "put themselves to bed" in it after sunset, or dark, when their light gets turned off at night now. I have 2-3 flakes of straw in it. They're using it as an egg-laying nest, and I muck it and replace the straw when it gets a little messy. That goes to the garden along with the horse poo/bedding. I gave them a 12 inch deep rubber feeding bucket with 3 inches of diatomaceous earth the other day, for a dustbath.
     
  8. Manok-Tao

    Manok-Tao Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 6, 2010
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    Please help me get this straight. I understand the DE and deep litter for the winter. Is this done all year? I'm in N.C.; is the southern summer heat to much to utilize this method during the hot months? Or, does this method help keep odors down in the heat? I have no resource for "free" litter...so would cedar shavings work, the kind at the pet stores? I also need help on a properly designed/installed poop catcher under the roosting poles. I will begin construction on my new coop soon and need to incorporate this.
    J
     
  9. FaereChicken

    FaereChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 1, 2009
    N. Central Maryland
    I am told that cedar is not good for chickens, but you should be able to get pine shavings at a feed store. It's sold as horse bedding.
     
  10. interlaaken

    interlaaken Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 19, 2009
    DO NOT USE CEDAR SHAVINGS!!!

    The odor from the cedar (which many of us love) will hurt your chickens.

    Pine shavings are great - just not free.

    Be careful if you are using shavings and sawdust from a workshop - avoid cedar.

    Hope this helps.
     

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