Refill on deep litter run.

David61

Songster
Jul 27, 2019
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After the last big rain it was obvious time to rechip the run. It been ten months. Although I add leaves, grass, dirt, compost... The wood chips are gone, eaten, no longer big enough for drainage or aeration. The black rich dirt is starting to smell. So its off to my buddy's tree service wood yard for chips. I got 2/3 ten year old broken down mulch and 1/3 month old hard wood chips. Pictures; You can see the old run is black and soil looking. That's food scraps and cantaloupe. I covered this with the broken down old chip mulch. Then put the hard wood chips on top of that. About two inches.
If you are on the Mississippi gulf coast I can get you hooked up with chips. I'll think the pictures will show this good. If not just ask. My friends mini loader made this easy. They came out of the truck in the wheel barrel with just a push of the shovel. Dropped the corner or the fence and in we go.
 

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speedy2020

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Jul 24, 2010
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After the last big rain it was obvious time to rechip the run. It been ten months. Although I add leaves, grass, dirt, compost... The wood chips are gone, eaten, no longer big enough for drainage or aeration. The black rich dirt is starting to smell. So its off to my buddy's tree service wood yard for chips. I got 2/3 ten year old broken down mulch and 1/3 month old hard wood chips. Pictures; You can see the old run is black and soil looking. That's food scraps and cantaloupe. I covered this with the broken down old chip mulch. Then put the hard wood chips on top of that. About two inches.
If you are on the Mississippi gulf coast I can get you hooked up with chips. I'll think the pictures will show this good. If not just ask. My friends mini loader made this easy. They came out of the truck in the wheel barrel with just a push of the shovel. Dropped the corner or the fence and in we go.
How long does your woodchips last in the run? My guess would be 3-5 years. I have sand run and only last about 4 years so I am switch to woodchips recently.
 

David61

Songster
Jul 27, 2019
791
1,765
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Mississippi Gulf Coast
You guessed wrong. I didn't get but 10 months. It has been no smell or much flies. It has been eating up everything I put in and is truly a bio generator. Once the chickens turn/scratch the new chips with the older chips I just put in my reserve leaf pile and some grass clippings. (two weeks)
Now as far as having to dig it out and start over? I think I can go two years with my set up. I can't wait to use it in the garden ,flower beds. I thought about farming worms and selling to bait shops. My buddy with the tree service mills logs so I can get saw dust. Hey? Why am I not using saw dust on the inside floor of the covered run? I'm a goober Its free!
 
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3KillerBs

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Question from a fellow denizen of the hot and steamy portion of the US,

How do you keep the composting action of the deep litter from eating the lumber at the bottom of the run and the posts?

The posts and bottom boards of the Little Monitor Coop were indeed treated, but rotted out in only about 5-6 years.
 

David61

Songster
Jul 27, 2019
791
1,765
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Mississippi Gulf Coast
The only lumber in the ground is the treated 4x4. They are in concrete so they should fair well. The 2x4 at the bottom sits just above or at ground level , not in the ground. Its just a nailer support (attachment point) for the hardware cloth. They sell ground treatment paint if you want for ground contact. Use concrete or Mason footers and keep your wood above ground. Just run your wire down below ground and turn it out and make an apron.
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3KillerBs

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The problem we had was that as the deep litter built up against the lumber and wire -- including the treated posts that that survived fine elsewhere on the property -- the composting action attacked the posts and the bottom boards.

Even if we don't go with the earth sheltered idea we might use a block foundation up to the level where the deep litter will sit. But block is a pain so I wondered if you had experience with a less troublesome alternative.

DH wants to put the little coop up on concrete piers instead of posts -- he figures pouring into a sonotube should make it perfect, especially because it will be sloping ground and thus needing different height pillars.
 

3KillerBs

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If you go with tubing concrete, drop some kind of wire/rebar down. Concrete tube pier are cool. Put anchor bolts in the top of wet concrete.

DH hasn't done concrete work before except fence posts, but he's wonderfully handy and the internet is a great teacher.

I'm a little concerned about not being able to do block work because of my arthritic wrists -- full-sized blocks are just a bit too heavy for me and I'm leery of doing further damage to them. If I had a source for cheap brick I know that I could do brick work, but that would be pretty $$$ for a chicken coop.

He kind of wants to buy a small cement mixer. I'm tempted by the ability to make my own paving stones and raised bed curbs, but as much of a tool enabler as I am I'm not 100% certain on that one. (Except that I don't really want him mixing concrete in my Gorilla Cart).
 

3KillerBs

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Harbor freight sells two small size concrete mixers with good reviews at a good price. Home Depot rents them.

He's been looking at those Harbor Freight models.

He normally calls me "the tool enabler" because, for the most part, he tells me why he wants a tool and I say "Yes, we need that so you can make *insert-item-for-house-or-lawn-here*."

Just not quite sure about the cement mixer. :lol:
 

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