deep litter question


9 Years
Nov 28, 2010
i use deep litter method in my coop. for shavings, i have used untreated natural pine, cedar, and cypruss, as well as some shredded paper. i am hoping to use the litter for garden soil, as i've heard this works well. my question is, will the acidity of the wood shavings be a problem for a garden?
I just chuck it on the garden and till it in. Or sprinkle the shavings around fruit trees or roses. The poop is so composted already...

But you may want to stay away from cedar. Some believe it causes respiratory problems.

And with the shredded paper, does it dry out or just soak up the wetness?
Well if you're worried on a theoretical basis about acidity of wood shavings, remember that chicken poo has an alkaline pH so you can just tell yourself they cancel out

In reality I have yet to see any problems, anywhere I've lived, with adding composted shavings to soil, even in fairly large amounts. Mind you I have not gardened on *all* possible soils*, nor do I tend to grow things that really care deeply about having a significantly-alkaline pH... but in the course of normal gardening it is generally not an issue at all.

I would compost the stuff first if there is a fair amount of fresh-ish poo in it AND you plan on planting into it soon after it hits the garden; but if it is mostly "old" poo and/or it'll be sitting in the garden for a month or three before you plant, I would not worry too much about it, just till it in when you first put it out there (or as soon as ground permits) and don't plant really sensitive things into it this spring.

JME, good luck, have fun,

Pocahills, Pat is correct. The nitrogen of the manure mixed with the carbon of the wood shavings actually begins the composting process. The best way that I have found to use this as a soil additive, is to apply it all in the fall. Just throw it on top and let it winter over, then till it in the spring. The snow and rain, soil freezing and thawing will actually begin leaching the nutrients into the soil before you till. I have used this method (taught to me by my G'Father) for over 20years. This system works well for all types of manure except rabbit. Rabbit manure is the only manure that does not require composting or a "resting" period. (This is contributed to thier diet and digestive system) So what do you do with all that "gold" untill fall? You can add it to compost bins / piles throughout the year or just pile it up till fall use. You may even use it to start a new bed/garden but dont plant anything in the soil for 3 to six months depending on how fresh the manure is. You may take 1 to 2 month old manure (which is mixed with the shavings) and place it around ESTABLISHED nitrogen loving plants like blueberries for a side dressing fertilizer. Just place it appx an inch away from the bush and go about 6 inches out. This will not only fertilize but add to root growth as well.
As I understand it, if there are alot of raw wood shavings in the mix, they tend to leach nitrogen from the soil for awhile till they compost. They then give it back. I have a rotating pile of shredded leaves, deep litter etc that I compost for a year then put on the garden. It will mean a year's delay to get started but I think you'll like it better. I also have wondered if the hight nitrogen in the chicken poo would offset the tendency for the shavings to trap nitrogen. I am alraedy on a delay system with my other compost so it really matters not to me.

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Just so you are aware ceder oil is harmful to chickens. It can give them respiratory infections. Just a heads up.

If you are worried about the compost being too hot, sprinkle a little ground lime in your shavings. If you put it strait into your plants it might be too hot. Mix it with some white lime when you put it in the ground

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