for those that use deep litter method...please advise me

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Roy Rooster, Oct 15, 2011.

  1. Roy Rooster

    Roy Rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2010
    Tennesee Smoky Mts.
    Hi, [​IMG]

    I am interested in learning more about the deep litter method.

    Background:
    - I am a first time chicken owner.
    - I have 13 hens and 1 roo
    - I have an enclosed pen and run.

    This is how I have been cleaning my coop...
    1. take out all old shavings
    2. use leaf blower to blow out all dust and hidden poop
    3. use hose to spray out coop
    4. spray down coop with bleach solution
    5. use hose again to wash out bleach solution
    6. put down insect dust on coop floor
    7. put clean shaving in coop.

    Here is a pic of my coop and run if helpful.
    [​IMG]


    I do this every month. Not only is it wearing me out but the used litter is starting to stack
    up around here. There has got to be an easier way. [​IMG]

    I ran across the deep litter method, don't know much about it. My questions are...
    1. How does this work.
    2. Do you really only have to clean the coop 1-2 times a year?
    3. How much litter do you add when adding new litter?
    4. How healthy is this for the chickens?

    please, please explain to me how this method works. I need something that is much more simple.
    Thanks
     
  2. featherz

    featherz Veggie Chick

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    Mar 22, 2010
    Saratoga County, NY
    Hi. I use the deep litter method on my coop. I change it twice a year. Pretty much you keep adding shavings, keeping it stirred up, plus add in helpers if it starts to smell, or even before. I use DE/Sweet PDZ and stir it up every few days. Some people use hydrated lime. You can also throw BOSS in the shavings to let the chickens stir it up. Just changed my shavings after six months and they look almost too clean to compost. [​IMG]

    read through this:

    http://www.plamondon.com/faq_deep_litter.html

    I've never had any cocci problems, fwiw.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2011
    1 person likes this.
  3. earth_ma

    earth_ma Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 5, 2007
    North East Georgia
    I am by no means an expert but I"ve used deep litter (or tractors) with my chickens for the past five years and love it! You are wearing yourself out; I need a nap after reading what all you do. I never take out all of the litter when I clean it out and it goes into my compost pit to sit and cook till time to go in the garden. I use leaves from fall as litter ....if I run out I use a very thin layer of straw. AND very important: I put down lime (pellets) especially under the roost. I never let it start smelling like amonia because the human nose can only detect amonia at 25ppm and lung damage in chickens happens at considerably less than this. My coop is well ventilated and it looks as though yours is too. Not sure how other folks feel about bleach but the only thing I use it for is the RARE case of algae in a waterer. Bleach kills the much needed organisms for the deep litter compost to work. I don't use anything but diatomaceous earth for parasites for the same reason and because I think its better for my chickens and my family. I hope this helps. Don't work so hard ....enjoy your chickens more
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Roy Rooster

    Roy Rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2010
    Tennesee Smoky Mts.
    Quote:Thanks, I figured that I was doing to much when I start to regret cleaning the coop.
    Ok, I will not use the bleach anymore, I had no idea about it killing organisms needed to
    help the litter compost. I figured it was good to kill things in the coop when cleaning.
    Thanks for your post. it was very helpful.
     
  5. Roy Rooster

    Roy Rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2010
    Tennesee Smoky Mts.
    Quote:Thank you, your post and the thread you refered me to was very helpful.
    I cannot find DE anywhere near me. I do however have hydrated lime.
    Do I add lime when I add new bedding?
     
  6. Roy Rooster

    Roy Rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2010
    Tennesee Smoky Mts.
    Another question I have is...When using the deep litter method, are flies a problem?

    I had a huge problem with flies this summer and that was when I cleaned the coop every month. [​IMG]
     
  7. clairabean

    clairabean Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2010
    Kootenays of BC!
    1. How does this work?
    The poop dehydrates and starts to decompose, as it is layered with shavings. It keeps everything dry, which is a major bonus when you live in a freezing climate. It also keeps things warm and insulated.

    2. Do you really only have to clean the coop 1-2 times a year? Yes. Really. Really. This was a major block for me when I started it. But after using the DLM, I really am sold on it. It is not messy, or dirty. It does not smell. Really. To clean the coop I first spray a light mist to keep the dust down. Then I suit up with a respirator for dust. I use a wide shovel to put the shavings in to containers (which I use straight around trees or in my garden- another bonus of DLM is that you can use the 'waste' fresh) In spring I hose the coop totally down, wait for it to completely dry and then lay the shavings.

    3. How much litter do you add when adding new litter? I start out with about 6 inches all over. Every two weeks I add another inch. It will not be as fluffy and will look obviously 'used'. I throw in a whole loaf of bread for the chickens to play with and turn up the shavings for me. The bread is dry and does not add moisture to the shavings.

    4. How healthy is this for the chickens? The chickens are dry. They are not tromping around in their own poop. They love to make little dents to hang in. I think they are very healthy.

    I have never had the need to use DE or any chemicals to regulate. Just shavings. That is it. The very odd instance that we smell a bit (maybe deep in summer) I add a few more inches of shavings. We love it and it works for us.
     
  8. clairabean

    clairabean Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2010
    Kootenays of BC!
    No flies, because the poop gets dehydrated and then turned under. It does not lay ont he surface, collecting, attracting flies.
     
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  9. Roy Rooster

    Roy Rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2010
    Tennesee Smoky Mts.
    Quote:Wow! I can hardly believe that the coop only needs cleaned once to twice a year! That for me is amazing!
    Thank you for your info, I am going to try this. Instead of cleaning the coop this month, I am just going to add
    shavings. You mentioned that you have never had the need for DE. That is good to know, because getting a hold
    of some out where I live is turning out to be difficult to impossible. Thanks again.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. clairabean

    clairabean Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2010
    Kootenays of BC!
    I feel that I have never had the need because we keep our coop very, very dry. No moisture. In summer we water outside. They have an overhang where the snow/rain never reaches. And the trick is to use enough shavings. A few inches scattered is not going to do the trick- you must use tonnes. It will look like your chickens will be swimming in it and making little goat trails to the laying boxes, but that is perfect.

    If you walk in your coop, put a board across the door, to keep the shavings in.

    I know it is a very hard thing to grasp- cleaning the coop out only TWICE a year?!?- but it really is magical.[​IMG]
     

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