1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

DEEP LITTER Questions...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Bridebeliever, Oct 7, 2015.

  1. Bridebeliever

    Bridebeliever Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have read and read all the other threads regarding deep litter and I feel like "I can do this"! The one question I couldn't seem to find an answer about was a cement floor. It seems everyone has either wood or dirt floors. Will I be okay with cement?
    [​IMG]
    This is the floor of our coop. (Still under construction. Our nesting boxes will go where the big opening is.)
    [​IMG]
    The paint can shows about how much depth we have. I think that's about 7 or 8 inches?
    [​IMG]
    This is another view of the inside of the coop.
    What would be the very base? Here's what I was considering:
    1. A wood chip base
    2. Already composted dirt from the forest floor
    3. Grass clippings
    4. Leaves...boy do we have lots of leaves!
    Any advice and suggestions are VERY welcomed!
    Here's our "Little Coop in the Woods"
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2015
  2. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,452
    337
    159
    Dec 15, 2014
    Massachusetts
    Your coop is gorgeous! Love the setting. I'd go with a couple inches of that humus-y dirt from the forest. I dumped a bunch of composted forest material in my run when I started deep litter there. It was just what it needed to kick start things into gear.
     
  3. Sutremaine

    Sutremaine Chillin' With My Peeps

    329
    16
    81
    Aug 19, 2014
    UK
    You could make a wood floor.

    The wood chips sound good then. Dry the grass clippings off before you add them. Once you get a feel for how dry the litter is you can add them in while they have more water content, but start it dry. Slimy wads of grass are no fun for anyone.

    The forest floor dirt can be seeded throughout the litter.
     
  4. Bridebeliever

    Bridebeliever Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aww thanks! We love our "little" coop...hope our girls will! Okay, so start with the humus-y dirt on the base? What did you do next or as continuing on?
     
  5. Bridebeliever

    Bridebeliever Chillin' With My Peeps

    From what I've read people don't really want the wood floor on purpose, it's just what they had already when deciding to go "deep litter". I was just wondering about cement floor because there's no actual drainage going on. Our grass clippings are in a huge mulch pile, not spread out to dry...and it's pretty rainy here now so I don't expect much drying to happen even if I spread them out. [​IMG]
     
  6. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Cement floors work fine, in fact cement is the standard type of flooring in commercial deep litter farms so that they can better sterilize (when outbreaks happen) as well as the concrete prevents and contains any potential run off...

    The 8" might be a problem, you really should have more depth 12" plus... You might consider putting an additional 'edge' around any low locations like that so that you can add more depth overall...

    You don't want to put in 'wet' compost, moist at most, so maybe take some of the grass out and spread it around to dry out better or focus more on dry leaves that should be plentiful in short...
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. Sutremaine

    Sutremaine Chillin' With My Peeps

    329
    16
    81
    Aug 19, 2014
    UK
    Lack of drainage shouldn't be a problem. With sufficient waterproofing and ventilation, the litter won't get much wetter once it goes through the door. Is the floor completely level, or is there one area that water gradually runs to?

    As for the grass clippings... Your coop looks pretty large. I'm drying off some clippings at the moment, and they're stacked up the side of a pallet leaning against the wall. Using the wall space to dry clippings sounds like a good idea...
     
  8. Bridebeliever

    Bridebeliever Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think that it's probably not completely level. The building used to be a bathhouse type place YEARS ago. The pipes were cut out and drains filled so it probably has some sort of slope like you'd find in a public restroom. I think it was probably built in the 60's...maybe earlier. We have another building on the property that is from the 30's!
    Anyhow, its pretty big, about 8x17 on the chickens side of the building. The thing is everything was dry yesterday and now today its raining! Who knows how wet it will stay now...the joys of the Pacific NW! Better believe I'm going to be out there collecting leaves like crazy if/when it warms up!
     
  9. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,452
    337
    159
    Dec 15, 2014
    Massachusetts

    What do you have on hand? I'd err on the side of dryer rather than wetter material. It's easy to add moisture but harder to dry out litter in a coop. If you've got leaves toss a good bunch in. Dry leaves break up pretty quickly so something to add texture and air pockets would be good. Straw is good for that but don't use too much as it takes a very long time to break down (but that's also part of why I like it). I find chopped straw is better but I also took regular baled straw and ran my bagging mower over it to chop it finer. Shavings are another that takes a while to break down but a little bit is a great compliment to fresh mowed grass. The shavings steal a little moisture from the grass and prevent matting and clumps from getting moldy. If you've got extra hay that can go in but that's pricey so I tend to avoid it. When the girls were put on house arrest because of hawk activity this spring I did toss in some hay and alfalfa to the mix. They enjoyed it and what didn't get eaten got mixed up with the litter. I'd probably avoid really big stuff like wood chips. Given that it's inside the coop where you'll likely get a slower rate of decomposition, I think the chips would just add way too much carbon. It would take forever for them to break down inside over concrete. They are a super base for deep litter outside where drainage is an issue though.
     
  10. Sutremaine

    Sutremaine Chillin' With My Peeps

    329
    16
    81
    Aug 19, 2014
    UK
    What's the problem with wood chips? Not enough surface area to make the carbon available?
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by