Don't think I'm doing deep litter method right. Advice?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Soldier415, Sep 30, 2015.

  1. lindalouly

    lindalouly Grd Ctrl 2 Major Tom

    Agreed.... With the exception of worm bins natural microbes need to be able to breakdown the heap... As well as a good mix of greens vs brown with the nitrogen levels of chicken poop.. Can be done, but more research might be needed to help you along.
  2. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    I beg to differ ground contact certainly makes it easier to get going but it's not absolutely necessary, you can introduce the microbes with a shovel or two full of soil from the yard and/or some already composting compost or if given sufficient time the microbes will find their way to the litter bed naturally... It takes more time but it will establish if setup properly, deep enough and babied for a bit... Once established as long as you leave some litter behind when you do a clean out the microbes will be there to repopulate the new littter...

    As for winter if you have sufficient volume it will continue to function through the winter months and actually give off heat while being warm to the touch bellow the surface... This albeit is much harder in a small coop where you might not be able to get sufficient bio mass unless you can make it real deep in excess of 12"...

    My coop has a concrete floor so I don't have ground contact (and neither do many commercial farms) and I use the deep litter method and it works fine, it's been one year now with no problems and no smell and trust me I'm going back at other methods since it works so well...
    1 person likes this.
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    MeepBeep: Can I ask what growing zone you live in, or what area of the country?
  4. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 18, 2012
    Northern Virginia
    My Coop
    I've got a wooden floor and portions have tin over the flooring and have done deep litter for several years. I add several shovels of dirt from our woods to my coop to give it the microbes, etc. it needs to help with decomposition. Works just fine. I do deep litter in both the covered and uncovered portions of my run, too. Having the dirt base makes a difference in moisture coming up through the soil and in the critters that come up through the soil to eat the litter and it decomposes faster but the end result is much the same.

    I've not yet had a problem with the tin, maybe there's more litter than poo in my mix, don't know. We just placed extra tin we had on hand over the wooden floor to act as an additional barrier. It's not crucial to the structure.
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Spring Dreaming Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    isn't that technically called composting as opposed to deep litter. Feel free to call me names.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2015
  6. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2014

    Deep litter is a method of waste management that relies on composting action.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  7. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    As TalkALittle stated the deep litter method is in fact a type of composting, the two definitions are mutual and tied together in this case...

    Zone 5, North of Chicago
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
  9. Soldier415

    Soldier415 New Egg

    Sep 30, 2015
    Going to change the litter out today and add a layer to the bottom of topsoil with a bit of compost mixed in and see if that works.

    If not it looks like I will be changing litter regularly until I move them to a bigger hen house in the spring.
  10. lindalouly

    lindalouly Grd Ctrl 2 Major Tom

    Quick question.... Is your litter wet???? And how much ventilation does it have.. Overly wet litter will cause high ammonia. What kind of bedding are you using??? Is it absorbent. You are going to want to use a bedding that can absorb the moisture. I think of you can figure out the ventilation and moisture components you will be fine. But be safe cause strong ammonia can make the girls sick. Good luck!!! A starter is a good idea!!! Keep us updated.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by