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Litter for Coop vs. run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chickieschicks, Apr 17, 2017.

  1. chickieschicks

    chickieschicks Out Of The Brooder

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    I know this is a silly newbie question but I'm asking anyway...we have 4 chickens. We bought a small pre-fabricated coop which will be adequate for their roosting and nighttime housing. This coop will be contained within a completely enclosed 11X12 wire and wood run that my husband is building. The run has a dirt floor...do I use some type of litter in the run or leave it dirt? I keep reading about the deep litter method but is this meant for only the inside of a coop or the run as well? Seems like we'd need an awful lot of pine shavings etc. to cover the whole run but it also seems like it wouldn't be any easy task to clean chicken poop off of a dirt floor and keep it clean and dry.

    So to simplify my question...we have a nesting box, a droppings board, and a large run area. What litter/material can be used for each and should they each be different or all the same? I am well aware there are a plethora of answers to this so I guess I'm really looking for some recommendations from seasoned chickeners [​IMG]thanks in advance!
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
  2. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

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    Deep litter is great for the run. You don't need shavings, in fact a mix of things works best. Wood chips, chopped leaves, grass clippings, straw, weeds all get tossed into my run. The chickens dig through it for bugs and the waste disintegrates naturally.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. chickieschicks

    chickieschicks Out Of The Brooder

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    How often do you do a complete cleaning? I guess with that method using the materials you suggest I'd be nervous that I wasn't making sure it was staying dry/clean enough.
     
  4. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My advice would be pine shavings for the interior of the small coop. About 2 inches deep. If you have a droppings board / poop board, and it resides beneath the roost and they use the roost and drop on the board, that is where the majority of your problem will be inside the coop. Clean that often (maybe not daily, but often) and the 2 inches of shavings will last a month or so.

    When the pine shavings looks like they need to be refreshed, drag them out into your run to mix with whatever else you have in there. My advice for the large outside run is about 6 inches or so of something that in a previous life was some kind of living plant material like wood chips, leaves, etc. My preference is coarse grass hay. Whatever this is should elevate the birds up off the dirt, which will help keep the odor and flies down, will not get muddy and keep the birds running around on high and dry plant material. This litter will rot down over time, so needs to be refreshed or replenished.......seldom replaced.
     
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  5. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

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    Ummm, never?

    Coop cleanings go into the compost, the run keeps getting stuff thrown into it. I've been here 2 years and never cleaned it. I rake it once in a while to get it even.

    Oh, and I use a mix of PDZ and sand on my droppings board. It gets scooped and the poop goes into the compost. I like to use shavings on the floor and in the nest boxes, and it gets swept Into the run to mix in with the other stuff.
     
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  6. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have Deep Litter in the run, it works great! It's made up of straw, hay, grass clippings, leaves, pine needles, and landscape debris. We clean it out once a year (spring to till into the garden, makes wonderful compost!). There is no odor or fly problems. Our run is covered with a solid roof but does get enough moisture from blowing rain to facilitate break-down.

    [​IMG]

    We use pine flakes in the coop.
     
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  7. chickieschicks

    chickieschicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks! Do you clean the chicken poop out of the run or just let it mix in? I'm concerned about smell and flies so I'm worried about getting the right balance in there.
     
  8. chickieschicks

    chickieschicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Great info, thank you! To clean the droppings board without emptying the shavings do you use something along the lines of a cat litter scoop?

     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
  9. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't have or use a droppings board. I have a larger coop and the night time droppings fall to the floor to be mixed in with the litter and removed now and then....about once a month or so. Mostly just the part under roosts. That goes out to a compost pile or directly to the garden to be worked in.

    Was checking yesterday and while things look OK, was thinking it was time to clean it all out, back down to bare dirt and start over fresh. The old stuff just looks stale, tired and dusty. This would be the first full cleanout in over a year. I'm expanding my garden and have an area of new broke ground that would benefit from the organic matter and fertility of the droppings hiding out within.
     
  10. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No. We let it mix in, it falls to the dirt below and breaks down. Even when we did the spring clean out 2 weeks ago I noticed there was no offensive odor, it smelled like the forest floor.

    Here's what all that "stuff" turns to...

    [​IMG]
     

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