Getting mixed up...deep litter

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Sunny Day, May 8, 2007.

  1. Sunny Day

    Sunny Day In the Brooder

    Mar 27, 2007
    I guess maybe I'm confused (still) on this deep litter method. If I do things that way, does that apply to under the roosts too? Or do I need to shovel that mess out all the time? Do I just throw more litter down? Do I need to stir it up? Will it be smelly?

    My little ones are only days old, but the coop is almost done. I'm hoping I planned well enough. I was thinking I'd lay a couple inches of bedding inside the house (including under the roost), stir and that's about it. Do I need to put anything on the ground outside? (It's that Georgia clay). I thought I could put the pine mulch I can get for free, if it doesn't hurt little feet. (That's fresh stuff, so maybe it won't be absorbent enough for indoors?)

    Thanks for helping straighten out my thinking.
  2. Poison Ivy

    Poison Ivy Songster

    May 2, 2007
    Naples, Florida
    I use sand under my roosts and scoop it every morning like a giant litter box and the rest of the coop is cover with coastal hay. I only have to add sand every 3 months or so as it gets low. The hay I replace 3 or 4 times a year. It don't get very dirty I really like the sand under the roosts though it makes for quick clean up in the mornings.
  3. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    We are getting ready to get chickens again, after not having them for a few years. We'll be using deep litter again, because it worked so well for us before.

    I used pine shavings for litter. The roosts were just open over the litter. I kept a compressed bale of shavings in the corner of the coop, with a scoop. The coop didn't normally smell. Any time it ever had a faint odor of ammonia, I knew the litter was out of balance and needed more carbon, so I would sprinkle some shavings. Under the roosts, I sprinkled some shavings whenever it looked like it needed it. Once or twice a year I shoveled the litter out and took it to the garden.

    I think one of the keys to the success or failure of the deep litter system, is how much space you've allowed per chicken. I've read, recently, that with 3 square feet per bird, you'll have a lot of caking of the droppings on the surface of the litter, which need to be broken up and stirred in. With 4, you'll get some caking and with 5, you shouldn't have any. I know that after subtracting for the feeder, waterer, oyster shell container, nest boxes and storage area, we were at 5 square feet per bird. I never had to manually stir the litter. Just the scratching of the chickens was enough. If a person has a more crowded coop, then I think they start needing to do more frequent chores, breaking up surface clumps, cleaning under the roosts, using a dropping pit or dropping board under the roosts, etc.

    I hope this helps.
    Wagnit09 and Liz Birdlover like this.
  4. chicknewbie01

    chicknewbie01 Hatching

    May 16, 2009
    I'm wondering if I can use paper shavings in addition to the wood shavings...I use a paper shredder for my mail and usually recycle, but if I could use it for the chickens, I would...Thanks!
    backbeat likes this.
  5. Kansaseq

    Kansaseq Prairie Wolf Farm Asylum

    Feb 12, 2009
    NE Kansas
    I do sort of a modified deep litter method. I use pine shavings everywhere. If I happen to see a great wad of poo, I scoop it, but mostly just occasionally stir it up. I have also started sprinkling Stall Dry on it. When it looks a bit dirty, I rake the whole thing out and start fresh. That seems to happen every few months, as I don't like it to get too gross. Also, if my run is muddy from too much rain, I'll rake out some shavings into it, sprinkle Stall Dry onto it, and it helps dry it up.
  6. keedokes

    keedokes Songster

    Feb 25, 2009
    I am interested in the feasibility of using shredded paper as a deep litter method, as well. Has anyone used that? Does it pose a threat to their legs (paper cuts, etc)? Would love to hear more! Thanks!
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    You can try shredded paper. Make sure it doesn't get moldy, as it is more susceptible than shavings. From my experience with it in horse stalls I would be skeptical you'd like the results of trying long-term shredded paper litter, as in horse stalls it tends to form an especially horrible form of paper-mache... but, why not try it and see what it does for you.

    They're not going to get paper cuts from it [​IMG]

    Have fun,

  8. just a dozen

    just a dozen In the Brooder

    Apr 8, 2010
    This is the first time raising chickens can I use sand in my coop and do the deep litter method or do i need to mix it with something else?I have a 12x8 foot coop and approx 12x 20 outside fenced in area.
  9. Coos NH

    Coos NH In the Brooder

    Jul 26, 2011
    I used the deep liter method as described here on BYC and have been doing so for a few months now. I have not cleaned the coop, we havent needed to. I use wood pellets and have great success. No smell and no mess. Thanks BYC, you made our chicken experience very easy, so easy we are going to stick with it.... lol
  10. stubbornhill

    stubbornhill Songster

    Apr 11, 2011
    Shapleigh, Maine
    Quote:I tried shredder paper when my hens were chicks. They'd poo, it would stick to the paper, then they'd walk in it and they would have a big paper mache poop stuck to their feet! It wasn't even worth it to me.
    backbeat likes this.

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