deep litter method

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mommabs, Sep 18, 2013.

  1. mommabs

    mommabs Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 29, 2013
    So winter is coming. I have a pretty small coop and run for my girls but they seem happy. I was wondering how good of an idea the deep litter method is? I dont plan on heating my coop so i thought this might help keep them warmer thru their first winter. Any advice? ?
     
  2. Valk

    Valk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I plan on using the deep litter method this winter as well. I guess I'm using it now, really. I tacked up a 12" tall piece of plywood in front of my door so that when I open it, litter doesn't come tumbling down. I've been adding a couple inches of straw and pine shavings every Friday. It's already getting deep, but I think it will eventually start to break down. I also mix it up with a soil scratcher and throw in scratch so the ladies will help too. Also, a liberal dusting of diatomaceous earth is key. Here's a wonderful article about this method. Good luck! [​IMG]
     
  3. mommabs

    mommabs Out Of The Brooder

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    Interesting..do I do the same thing in the nest boxes?? Or just the floor? And how do they not get lost in all that!? Lol
     
  4. Valk

    Valk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Haha, they do manage to stay afloat. They'll even scratch to the floor, which means they're mixing it all up for me. I just mix the litter and then even it back out again.

    And yes, just add to the floor. We just got our second egg in as many days, so I haven't had to deal with the nesting boxes too much. But I can imagine needing to add straw and shavings as it gets pushed out, or if the boxes need a good cleaning. They haven't pooped in them, thank goodness! [​IMG]

    We do have mostly mild winters, but January and February can get to -20, so I think the DLM will be good! Oh, also make sure you have good ventilation. I hear that chickens can withstand severe temperatures if they are dry. I intend on installing many vents at the top of my coop this weekend. Wahoo!
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2013
  5. mommabs

    mommabs Out Of The Brooder

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    We have open vents in the eves of the coop. But we then put a big window in the bottom this summer for more air flow. Well have to cover that one up for winter I think. My chickens do poop in the boxes. So ill still be cleanin those out. Thanks for all the info.
     
  6. itsbob

    itsbob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would assume DL method is similar to the gravel on the bottom of fishtank, or how a septic tank works.. In both you never 100% clean out or replace what's there. A fishtank you normally don't change out more than 30% of the water, or overclean the gravel as you get rid of all the good bacteria the tank worked long and hard on building.

    I would assume (i'm new to entire chicken thing), if using the DL method, you would do the same. Never replace more than a 1/3 to 2/3 of the litter that way there is always a good base of good bacteria already present and you aren't starting all over again. If you replace 100% you go back to zero beneficial bacteria, and your flock has to adjust, and their immunities will degrade
     
  7. Valk

    Valk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Interesting. I'm pretty sure with the DLM you don't take any litter out, just append more. I'm new to the chicken thing too, I could be wrong! :)
     
  8. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    The DLM is also about keeping dirt floored pens and coops from becoming a mud bog during wet winter weather. Anything that will keep your chickens from getting mud sickles on their feet and between their toes during cold weather will go a long way towards keeping them warm and healthy. The exercise they get turning over the litter prevents a lot of lung and other problems and it also helps generate body heat. Plus scratching for tidbits of food helps your flock's outlook on life.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2013
  9. Valk

    Valk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good info, chickengeorgeto. I like that last line!
     
  10. jstlitlome

    jstlitlome Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, how would straw work for DLM? Mine are using sand now, but plan on changing for the winter. I have straw available to me pretty much free. I throw it in their run when it gets muddy, but clean it about once per month for the compost pile. I think for the winter, I'll put the straw in there a bit thicker and keep adding.

    Would like to change the coop to straw and thought DLM would be a good winter option. I could get wood chips, I suppose but hate to spend the $$. Also, if the coop is off the ground with a painted wood floor, will this work well?
     

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