Just switched to sand...but deep litter sounds good...

Chickerbockers

In the Brooder
Feb 20, 2018
29
30
39
Pacific Northwest
So, when the farm got chickens, I was working overseas, and did not have much to do with design and planning. Now that I am back, and have been reading a ton about what ya'll do with your chickens, I am adapting things in the coop.

We used to use straw, but I thought it needed changed more than it apparently does. I thought the sand method sounded interesting, so last week I cleaned the coop again and loaded in the sand. However, I am thinking that the deep bedding method sounds pretty interesting given my garden...I picked over 1000 tomatoes last summer...if I decide to try the deep litter, do I need to scrape out the sand? The coop floor is dirt, but it stays super dry. I would need to add some moisture probably...and more ventilation. We have one large high window, but the spouse covers it in the winter so the chickerbockers do not get chilled. They are free range, so the door is open all day and they have the run of the farm. Which, papa has now named "Poopy Pastures" given the little presents the chickerbockerpoop-poops leave all over.

Today, I just moved one of our mama hens with her three baby peepers into a grow out cage in the main coop. All of these changes may stress the ladies and the two roos out.

What does anyone out there think about more changes? Oh, am in the Pacific Northwest. Am mostly a chicken newbie despite the fact that this is the farm's second year with the flock!
 

cavemanrich

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7 Years
Apr 6, 2014
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Melrose Park Illinois
Having a dry floor in coop is a good thing. Wet is bad for chickens. Leave the sand in the coop floor. Add hay, straw, and grass clippings into coop floor as you have it available. The chicken gumdrops will get buried into the bedding. Looks like your flock is small at this time, so don't expect a huge amount of deep litter compost at this time. DLM is a slow process that many use for convenience. They clean out once per year or other time frames as per personal preference. Don't overdo in the depth. Most DLM seem to work well at 6 to 8 inch depths. Allow your chickens to mix the contents with their scratching action..
WISHING YOU BEST,,,, and :welcome
 

Chickerbockers

In the Brooder
Feb 20, 2018
29
30
39
Pacific Northwest
We have 9 ladies, two Roos, and six baby peepers at the moment...so we are not a big bunch yet! Thanks for the advice...my recently super clean coop may be getting a bit more messy! Nminusyplusm...I know! I was pretty excited to read about the leaf business...
 

cavemanrich

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7 Years
Apr 6, 2014
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Melrose Park Illinois
Your flock is bigger than I first thought. :thumbsup
The messy part will only look messy if you chose to view it that way. The DL will allow your chickens, activity to scratch thru and relieve boredom. When properly turned/mixed DL should also be relatively odor minimal.
 

micstrachan

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Apr 10, 2016
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Santa Cruz Mountains, California
I went through this exact same thing. I only have a flock of nine with a run of about 250 sq. ft. I spent MONTHS sifting out all the rocks, sticks, walnut shells, etc. and adding construction sand so I could sift out all the poop and have it nice and clean. But last winter was very wet in California (broke records in rain) and it was a puddly mess. Not only that, but I read up on the ground chickens live on, and realized not having organic material in the run was not good for them. My run is divided into two sections (separated by a gate that is always open), so I started experimenting with deep litter on one side. Well, unless I don't like it this coming summer (like if the droppings don't break down fast enough and attract flies?), I'm NEVER going back. I LOVE the deep litter method now and use the composted material all over my yard. I keep throwing sticks and stuff back in the run, since I had sifted out all the big stuff and only added rice hulls and pine shavings. I turn it over with a pitch fork on weekends, which the girls love.
I highly recommend it. Really. You will be amazed. I actually like the sand mixed in with it, too, so I totally agree you can just throw stuff on top and go from there.
 

cavemanrich

Addict
7 Years
Apr 6, 2014
16,785
56,788
1,267
Melrose Park Illinois
Well, unless I don't like it this coming summer (like if the droppings don't break down fast enough and attract flies?),
Solution to flies..
FLY TRAP.jpg

You will have them regardless. I keep these as well as a few other type around in my chicken area. Fly population under control. Above available everywhere for about $5
 

Chickerbockers

In the Brooder
Feb 20, 2018
29
30
39
Pacific Northwest
I went through this exact same thing. I only have a flock of nine with a run of about 250 sq. ft. I spent MONTHS sifting out all the rocks, sticks, walnut shells, etc. and adding construction sand so I could sift out all the poop and have it nice and clean. But last winter was very wet in California (broke records in rain) and it was a puddly mess. Not only that, but I read up on the ground chickens live on, and realized not having organic material in the run was not good for them. My run is divided into two sections (separated by a gate that is always open), so I started experimenting with deep litter on one side. Well, unless I don't like it this coming summer (like if the droppings don't break down fast enough and attract flies?), I'm NEVER going back. I LOVE the deep litter method now and use the composted material all over my yard. I keep throwing sticks and stuff back in the run, since I had sifted out all the big stuff and only added rice hulls and pine shavings. I turn it over with a pitch fork on weekends, which the girls love.
I highly recommend it. Really. You will be amazed. I actually like the sand mixed in with it, too, so I totally agree you can just throw stuff on top and go from there.
I have a coop that is 9x10...I hope that is big enough for all the new peepers to join the other chickerbockers this spring. I LOVE your description of the deep litter...I am going to have to give it a try! Now I just need to figure out how I will be able to open the door with the deeper litter...always something new to think about!

Thanks for all the advice, everyone!
 

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