Modifications to DLM with a concrete floor?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Pequena Bandada, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. Pequena Bandada

    Pequena Bandada Small Flock

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    Jun 13, 2010
    I'm about to move my flock of chickens to a new coop. It has a concrete floor and is 8x8. I'd like to try the deep litter method, but notice that many of you say DLM works best with a dirt floor. So what modifications do I need for it to work with a concrete floor? Should I put some dirt from our garden on the concrete under the pine shavings to encourage the bacteria growth that helps convert poop and shavings to compost? Or just throw down 8 inches of pine shavings and hope it works?

    Also, if I'm using DLM, do I need poop boards? Or just let the chicken poop fall to the shavings and get mixed up over the winter?

    Thanks!
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    I wish (and please bear with me here, this is not at all a rant against YOU, it is about how things keep getting referred to on this forum! [​IMG]) that people would stop talking about "the" deep litter method as if it were a single thing.

    There is no "the" deep litter method.

    There are a whole bazillion different ways you can manage your litter that involves it being deep.

    Each different one has its own strengths and weaknesses, its own peculiarities, and is worthwhile in some situations and not a good idea in others.

    There is no THE. Really. It is like talking about what the flavor or cost or season is of "the" fruit [​IMG]

    Basically there are two general "food groups" of things you can do with deep litter -- management methods that try to encourage some degree of composting/breakdown to occur, and management methods that do not.

    If you want composting/breakdown of litter on a concrete slab, try adding a few shovelsful of normal garden soil (not from a bag -- from the actual ground. Or from the bottommost layer of an old compost pile). Mix that in real well and keep things damp enough and you will get composting.

    Mind you it is not always a good idea TO keep things damp enough for composting to occur. It depends VERY heavily on your building, management style, and climate. In some situations it is 100% fine, in others it will inevitably result in terrible problems and just has to be avoided. So it depends.

    In situations where it's a bad idea to keep things damp enough for true composting, you can sometimes (not always) be fine with a drier deep litter where stuff sort of slowly breaks down but in a different and less compost-y way.

    Honestly you just have to experiment and try different tactics and see what works best for you in your particular circumstances.

    Whether or not to use a droppings board is again a personal choice. It will ALWAYS make yer litter last longer, deep or otherwise, composting or otherwise, etc... so personally I think it is always beneficial... but, if you hate doing a 10 second daily chore but *like* cleaning out major deposits of poo from the floor (or mixing them in, if yours will compost ok that way), then there is absolutely nothing wrong with that either.

    Teally, it's about trying different things and seeing what suits your situation and tastes. There are a HUGE number of different ways to manage coop sanitation and none is right for everyone.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     

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