Deep litter question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by AussieAcres, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. AussieAcres

    AussieAcres Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 9, 2009
    Anyone care to explain this in layman's terms? or direct me to a "beginners" guide.
    Looking to gather info in my own coop design.
  2. MIKE555444

    MIKE555444 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 8, 2009
    Pliny, West Virgina
    The deep litter method is simply using the entire chicken coop in the same manner as a cats litter box. You will fill the floor completely with 2” – 6” of wood shavings or other litter. As the litter gets dirty on top you stir it and bring fresh shaving to the top. As it dries you stir it weekly until it is no longer “fresh” and you empty the floor out and start the whole process over again. Some people will scoop the top off with a shovel before stirring it and add some more shavings to delay the complete clean out. Works great and keep my chickens clean and healthy. I hardly ever need to wash my eggs using this method as most of the time the feet are clean.

  3. Dragonfly Ranch

    Dragonfly Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2009
    Happy Valley, CA
    From what I understand and do myself is a deep layer (6" or more) of pine shavings with Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE) added to help with mites and lice. Once a month I add another thinner layer of more shavings about 2". I replace the shavings out of the nesting boxes (to help keep the eggs clean) and put on the floor. Come this spring I will take all the shavings out, clean the the entire inside with a mild bleach solution, air out well and start over.

    I'm sure other will give you advise too.
  4. AussieAcres

    AussieAcres Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 9, 2009
    So using this method, is there a media that is better than the others? As in are pine shavings better than cedar, or what is recommended?

    Also, I like the idea of making floor rails so I can use a 4'X8' sheet of plywood for the flooring and slide it in and out to be cleaned. Sounds to me that the deep litter would work well for me, all I see needing is a 3 mil plastic sheet to spread under the coop during cleaning, remove the sheet of wood and the debris would fall on the plastic. Spray the wood off with the hose, dry and return it to fill the house again with shavings. Am I crazy in thinking it would be that easy? [​IMG]
  5. Dragonfly Ranch

    Dragonfly Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2009
    Happy Valley, CA
    Quote:You should only use "pine" I have read that cedar is not good for chickens - why I can't remember. Not sure how the 4x8 would work since the shaving might be heavy and it could be hard to pull out. Also, would have to calculate and sheet if that is big enough for the number of chickens that you are going to keep. We have a 8x10 coop and have used 2 full bales of shaving since we started in Feb. We also live in a dry/hot climate and the litter stays really dry. Be prepared for a lot of dust in the coop, especially if you use DE in with the litter.

    When you clean in spring you will need to clean the walls, roost and nesting boxes.

    Hope that helps

  6. Picky Chicky

    Picky Chicky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 22, 2008
    Holly Grove, VA
    I used the DL method last winter and my girls all stayed nice and warm. Last year I used pine shavings but this year I'm going to use a mix of straw (I heard it's better than hay to use but couldn't tell you why) and pine shavings.

    Edited to add - Definitely will be a lot of dust build up if you use DE (I do, and will again)
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2009
  7. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:Same here.
    It ain't rocket science, just woodshavings and DE.
  8. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

    Apr 4, 2007
    Mansfield, MO
    I am getting ready to clean out the 8 inches of shavings in my coop. I put down a couple inches over a clean floor last spring and kept adding layers as soon as there was any smell at all. It keeps the coop cooler in the summer and definitely warmer in the winter. I even have a silkie roo (rescued with damaged feet so he can't roost)who will nest in the shavings at night. He gets very cozy in there in the winter. Cedar shavings are said to give off toxic fumes.
    I will put my "used litter" over the garden spot for next year. My chickens will work it into the ground for me. [​IMG] Oh, DE (food grade) is layered on the clean floor before putting down new litter.
  9. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:Are you crazy?
    Probably, since you have chickens; however, I have tarps on all my coop floors, and when I want to clean, all I have to do is remove the screws and fender washers that hole the tarps up the sides about eight inches, wrap up the old wood shavings in it and drag it out to compost.
  10. cybercat

    cybercat Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2007
    Greeneville, Tn
    Another thing about DL is that you let it stay in all year just adding more as chickens break it down you have great compost. I am using the cutting from the utility service to clear the power lines. There are alot of twigs and many different trees in this. First when we added it the layer was only 4" and I waited till they got it mostly broken down before i added more. Now we are closer to 6".

    I will not be removing any of this till next spring. This is one of the big points of DL. You need only clean coop litter out once or twice a year. Ofcourse alot depends on how many chickens you have and it the are cooped up or penned out or free range. Mine free ranged so are only in for the night.

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