Results from First Year with Deep Litter Method

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Daisy8s, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. bontwix

    bontwix New Egg

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    Aug 4, 2013
    i used the deep litter method this year. it was about eight inches deep. it turned into mud and it froze and it smells what did i do wrong. it was very wet for some reason, but only in the winter. it was nice and easy to turn in the summer.
     
  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Did you use it in the coop or the run? If in the run and it turned to mud, you might need to use from larger particles like large flake shavings, bark mulch, twigs and pine needles and then add dry on top of the wet to keep a balance. In the wet seasons, the run litter is going to get wet but if it's muddy, then it needs to go deeper..much deeper.

    If in the coop, same thing...you need more dry materials if you have a lot of water coming into your coop..but it shouldn't stay wet all the time if you have a sheltered coop. This winter when it got so cold as to freeze the litter, it was the first time I smelled poop also but I think it was because the litter couldn't compost at those temps and the poop was not being digested well by the litter. It was very brief and as soon as the subzero temps left, the smells went away.

    Go deeper on your DL and you'll see better results, especially when it's a really wet season.
     
  3. RoseMarie1

    RoseMarie1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You should SEE my DL now that was in my run since you told me how to do this Bee. It's broken down so well that it's like dirt. I am trying to put it in the garden now and add new to the run. It's SOOO amazing how this stuff works and keeps the run dry.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2014
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    It's cool, ain't it? I wish I had known about this years and years ago....sure would have made chicken life easier. You are so blessed to have all the free material that you have. I can't wait to see how your garden does this year.
     
  5. dhining

    dhining Out Of The Brooder

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    I have had my coop since November and have exclusively used leaves. It's been fabulous. No smell, the chickens love it, and even when it's damp, the top stays dry because it's piled so high. Occasionally I put more leaves in and turn it about once a week under the roost. I don't put kitchen scraps in because I don't like the idea of my chickens eating poop.
     
  6. Daisy8s

    Daisy8s Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, I've been away from BYC for a few months but I see that in my absence this particular thread has gotten plenty of action!

    I just read through everything and noticed some discussion about my comment that I intentionally throw kitchen scraps onto the heaviest concentration of chicken poop, right under their roosts. I can understand why this would sound disgusting to some...a big factor here is how heavy that poop load is.

    Last winter we had 6 birds and I managed the coop regularly. I added a deep layer of dry leaves or grass every 2 weeks. It was a milder winter and the birds were outside nearly every day.

    This winter it's a totally different story. First, we have 10 birds. Second, my husband took over the coop and he hasn't added dry materials nearly often enough. Third, it's been a harsh winter and the birds have been inside constantly.

    Therefore, this year the poop concentration has been much higher and yes, I can agree that it'd be gross to throw scraps onto that mess. If what I'm seeing now is what most people see under their roosts then I can understand why they wouldn't want to mix food in.

    Back when I was doing the coop the area under their roosts would have just a few droppings each morning. One per bird, I guess. The floor was mostly a fluffy mix of dry materials and it was easy for the birds to turn under the fresh manure when scratching without consuming poop-covered food scraps.

    So, as with everything on BYC it's a matter of degree. We think we're talking about the same thing when, due to just a few variables, we might be looking at totally different things.

    I loved my coop when I was maintaining it and the birds turned under their fresh manure through scratching every day but not everyone's coop is set up to allow this system
     
  7. Ms Jellybean

    Ms Jellybean Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 5, 2013
    I have read through this whole thread today.

    I have a couple of questions now.

    1) When I build my coop (variation of this one) would having a hardware cloth bottom be better than a solid bottom? I'm talking about the actual roosting area that will be elevated. The coop would stay cooler in the summer. Would it be too drafty in the winter? I live north of Dallas. Would it be better to have the roosting area go all the way to the ground?

    2) When I clean the coop out to lessen the amount of DL once a year, can I spread it in the larger (garage sized) run area that I will have? I know I can put it in the garden too, but it sounds like I will have more than enough for the garden.

    I think I need to research coops more or change up this idea some.... :/
     
  8. Daisy8s

    Daisy8s Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote: My thoughts on a hardware cloth bottom is that it will eventually get caked with poop and be a pain to clean. It also won't have any of the composting action that's an integral part of a successful deep litter because, well, it won't be in a compost pile!

    As for heat in summer/drafts in winter, I'd contact locals in your area to see what works best for coop designs down there. I don't think someone from a different climate should advise you on that (I'm in MI).

    One note about drafts vs. ventilation. It was explained to me that ventilation is the warm, moist "bad" air escaping over the bird's heads...this is good. Drafts are cold air blowing directly on them...which is bad in winter. I kept these thoughts in mind when designing my coop...but again, I'm in a totally different climate.

    Good luck!
     
  9. Ms Jellybean

    Ms Jellybean Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I thought about that too - the wire getting caked up. I think if I build the coop without the roost/nest area elevated so there is room under it and instead have it go to the ground it will be better. I can put vents at the ground level and have the big windows for summer cooling along with the vents at the roofline. It will be easier to clean out when I need to and have the benefit of the ground for decomp. I will still put the roosts and nest boxes up higher though - like in the plans. They will just have a lot of open space under them.
     
  10. Daisy8s

    Daisy8s Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds good. Just a quick point--the roosts should be clearly higher than the nesting boxes. Birds will want to spend the night in the highest place they can get to for safety. You don't want them sleeping in the nesting boxes because they'll poo in there and then the eggs are gross.

    You may have already known this, I was just clarifying since you included roosts/nesting boxes together in your comment.
     

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