How deep “deep litter method”?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by sreihart, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. sreihart

    sreihart Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm planning on using the deep litter method in my coop. For those of you using this method, how deep is deep before you clean out the coop? I know a lot would depend on how many chickens you have and the size of our coop, but I'm mainly looking for a ball-park estimate.

    Thanks a bunch!

  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Most people do cleanout based on the condition of the litter not the depth. I've known horse stalls to get to almost 20" deep without needing to be cleaned out -- and this WAS managed well, and did NOT produce ammonia fumes even down at ground level, except with one horse who was a pawer -- but I doubt too many people let their coops go that far, if only because the doors are generally not built high enough to allow it [​IMG]

    For whatever it's worth, my bedding usually runs at maybe 6" deep (more in corners and the drifts towards the rear of the pens). I mostly just use droppings boards and then spot-clean the bedding as needed, usually once or twice a year and mostly just the stuff near the feeder which gets very dusty (I think from spilled feed more than anything). I topdress some fresh shavings from time to time, too. Between that and the natural breakdown/settling of the stuff in the bedding, it seems to stay at sort of an equilibrium level of bedding, that is in good shape (dry but not overly dusty, and not stinky). Mind you I have very low stocking density of chickens and this is probably not as feasible with more chickens in less space -- in that scenario, you'd clean out most or all of the bedding once humidity and/or ammonia got excessive.

    There is no one way of doing it. There are as many truly-distinct ways as there are chicken owners, each method having its own pros and cons. Just experiment and see what works for you [​IMG]

    (If this question is really a way of asking "how high should I make the sill of my popdoor", I would suggest like 18" above the floor of the coop, as you are very unlikely to realistically have more than a foot of litter in there at any time and that will leave a comfortable amount of freeboard to keep litter from getting kicked out, while still allowing chickens to hop up and out pretty easily even when there is not too much litter present)

    Good luck, have fun,


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