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Deep litter question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by derby, Oct 26, 2008.

  1. derby

    derby Songster

    Apr 18, 2008
    Boonsboro, MD
    My girls were in a tractor over the summer. The bottom and sides were wire. I would rake in a pile of dry leaves and DE each week and everything just magically disappeared. No smell, no insects, nothing to clean out. It was GREAT!

    Now the girls have moved into their permanent coop with wood walls and floor. I decided to treat them to pine shavings. After 3 weeks, I'm watching the percentage of bird droppings increase in the litter and it's not disappearing like it did in the tractor. Is it possible to safely use DLM in a closed environment? What breaks down the droppings? There is still no odor or flies. Seems to me DLM can't really work in a closed environment. Would it help to "seed" it with some shovels full of compost?

    I've read a lot on the website - but are there any new thoughts on DLM?

  2. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    The thing with deep litter method is you only clean it out 2-3 times a year. It just get deeper and deeper with litter and poo.

    I shovel mine out 2x's a year. Once in spring and again in the fall. The inbetween time, I toss in more pine, DE and occassionally come cracked corn and let the chickens do the mixing to keep it "fresh" smelling. If the chickens don't do it, I use a shuffle hoe to fluff things up a bit.
  3. momma's chickens

    momma's chickens Songster

    Mar 10, 2008
    I do deep litter in my coop. I usually clean it twice in spring and summer and once in the fall. I also just put fresh shavings done and some DE. I usually fluff it with a plastic rake every other day.

    I never thought about the corn in the coop but that would be a great idea.
  4. chickmamawannabe

    chickmamawannabe Songster

    Aug 20, 2008
    Canby, Or-y-gun
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    A shovelful or two of finished compost or good garden soil, mixed into the litter, may help a bit, as will making sure the litter stays somewhat damp (shavings out of the bag are REALLY dry, and things don't compost when dry).

    However, on a wood floor, you are just not *going* to get the same results you would outdoors (and depending on your coop's ventilation and airspace, you may not be able to have the litter damp enough for good composting).

    One thing that will help a lot sanitation-wise is if you install a droppings board under the roost and scrape it clean into a bucket to remove the night's poo every morning. THis alone will remove almost half the daily poo supply, which makes a big difference.

    Good luck,

  6. derby

    derby Songster

    Apr 18, 2008
    Boonsboro, MD
    Thanks, Pat! Youa re awlays so helpful!

  7. waynesgarden

    waynesgarden Feathers of Steel

    Mar 30, 2008
    Oxford County
    Derby seems to think there is something wrong with the results of the deep litter in the coop.

    The litter on Derby's floor simply dries out the poop and as was said, there is no smell or flies. Sounds like a perfect system to me and that's how my coop operates. I keep it dry as possible. When the litter/poop gets deep enough, I clean the coop out and build a compost pile outdoors where the droppings can compost properly without rotting my floor.

    In a coop with a wood floor, why would anyone want to encourage composting litter, a process that requires moisture, the arch-enemy of wood?

  8. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm 10 Years

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I do deep litter, and put FOOD GRADE DE in the shavings, in their run, where they dust. No problems with flies, fleas, mites, lice or any other pests. I just add some DE periodically.
  9. derby

    derby Songster

    Apr 18, 2008
    Boonsboro, MD
    I guess what I'm really asking is why poop hanging out in the litter doesn't make the chickens sick? If there is no smell, does that automatically mean that accumulating poop in the litter is safe? If it's not composting, it's just sitting there, isn't it?

  10. miss_jayne

    miss_jayne Lady_Jayne

    Jun 26, 2008
    Columbiaville, MI
    chickens NEED a certain amount of poop in the litter. we all need good and bad flora to exist.

    some poop=good

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