Deep litter questions. (first timer)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Vermont Poultry, Dec 5, 2016.

  1. Vermont Poultry

    Vermont Poultry Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 22, 2016
    Northern Vermont
    I recently built a 8x8 coop for 14 chickens, and gave my guineas the other 4x6 coop. I switched to deep litter in both coops, so both have about 6-8 inches of straw and pine shavings. My questions was what is the best way to air out the bedding, it has become quite wet, and the chickens love to spill their water, and bring in snow and mud. I have no idea how I am supposed to decrease the moisture so I need help. Another question is how do I speed up the compost cycle, it doesn't really look like it has composted much, what can I add other than straw or pine, and will it even compost in freezing temps??
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    It is possible it may never get to compost temps.

    I would remove the water from the coop and give them more ventilation.
    IMHO, you're on the brink of complaining about respiratory diseases.

    The goals are a bit contradictory. For compost to break down and thereby generate heat, it needs both moisture and oxygen. You don't want moisture in the coop, especially in winter.
    I've never been a fan of the concept of in-coop composting.
    Once the bedding is saturated, there really isn't a way to dry it out, especially in winter.
    In the heat of summer, it could take a month or more of turning and without adding any more moisture for it to dry out. IMO it will never dry out in winter.
    If it were me, I'd completely remove the bedding, compost that in your outdoor compost bin. Give the floor a chance to dry out. Then bring in new bedding. I would avoid straw because chickens can't really turn that and it holds too much moisture when it gets wet (as you've seen). Use pine shavings exclusively and you'll be much happier with the result.
    Either move the water outside or use horizontal nipple waterers. Perhaps in a 5 gallon bucket with a bird bath heater in it or some other method. Still some water may drip so put a container under the bucket so it will prevent the bedding from getting wet again.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2016

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