Run and deep litter help please

rosemarythyme

Crossing the Road
Jul 3, 2016
13,327
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842
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
I disagree that you shouldn't try it, though I'd consider putting something against that wood fence to protect it so you don't end up rotting it along with the stuff in the litter. For composting you'd want to use materials that'll break down readily. Dried leaves would be stellar, along with other stuff from the yard provided it hasn't been treated with any poisons - short lawn clippings, garden trimmings, weed clumps, etc. Maybe a little chopped straw. Wood does not break down well so avoid too much of wood chips, shavings, etc.

The gravel could be an issue - is the dirt over the gravel? I wouldn't really want it mixed into my compost, though I suppose you can sift it out once it's broken down.
 

jwehl

Crowing
Nov 3, 2020
3,558
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Atlanta GA
The gravel could be an issue - is the dirt over the gravel? I wouldn't really want it mixed into my compost, though I suppose you can sift it out once it's broken down.
Soil here retains so much moisture that my first thought about getting gravel in the garden was YES better drainage.



I'm starting the deep litter concept except my coop is probably more like a covered run, so we will see what happens. Dirt floor, full roof.. the dividing walls between "pens" are half and half wood and chicken wire. Chicken wire on the upper part. And the whole outside is horse fence. So lots of ventilation haha.
 

paintedChix

Songster
Dec 15, 2013
714
857
247
NC
Like RoseMaryThyme stated - protect that wood fence.

How many chickens do you have?

If your gravel works for drainage, then use it/leave it there. Otherwise, I'd move it up against the fence or for another project altogether. Kids are GREAT at moving gravel - especially if it can be turned into a bit of a game (can you throw it into the 5 gallon bucket? or something like that). A prize for so many in a row (a tiny chocolate, pack of licorice, a sticker page, a new pen/pencil/crayons, etc) sweetens the deal and makes an impromtu game fun of hard work. Make sure no windows, cars, other things that can be damaged by thrown objects anywhere near that bucket though, LOL.

Some of the items I've used for DLM include hay/straw (in smallish amounts that they are able to scratch about & break up), leaves, weeds (make sure the seeds are broken down OR burn your weeds and add the ashes to your DLM), pine straw, shredded papers/bills/junk mail/card board (plastic windows and tape removed), the cleanings from your coop, garden remains, SOME bedding/manure from other animals (it was a way to help break up some of the pony manure and compost it faster than a large manure pile), fruits and veggies. Once a good base, on the ground, I've thrown out other compostable items - the left overs that may have started turning or other items that most say aren't good for chickens. What I've found over the years, is that if it is bad or bad for them, the chickens don't actually eat it- but they do scratch it, tear it up, dig it around, manure on it and turn it into the DLM - making what was bad into something good. The main thing is using your materials of different sizes and types. This allows water and air to percolate through it from the top and bugs to easily enter and do their jobs from below. Don't forget actual wood mulch/chippings. If you are in an area that does "Chip Drop", apply. Be aware that that is often LARGE amounts dumped at once. If in a neighborhood - maybe see if your neighbors want to go in on it and have mulch for their trees, flower beds and gardens too. Or just find a tree company that has organic mulch available (not sprayed with any chemicals).

Here's pictures of my DLM - in various coops, runs and pens.

DLM

Here is a link to a couple YouTube videos that I think work well. I believe you can modify the Edible Acres info to meet your smaller set up's needs. Understand that EA's set up is for a large amount of composting and chickens, but I've used his ring idea (and Im getting ready to set up more) on a much smaller scale. He has a TON of videos on composting and changing what they are doing along with the "why's" and "what ifs". Pretty fascinating, actually.

If you search YouTube, you will find other ideas on DLM - including some who will state why they won't do it or why it didn't work for them.

A good DLM in a hooped coop
Edible Acres - 2017 update

Also, to do the DLM, you do need some moisture. You don't want the DLM dry and dusty. You may need to consider dampening it a bit when it's truly hot or dry out . Whereas your roof will keep it from getting too wet during a rainy season. Ideally, your DLM works to allow excess water to soak thru the top layer(s) - which keeps dust down but soaks up the water, too.
 

3KillerBs

Crowing
Jul 10, 2009
3,522
6,554
496
North Carolina Sandhills
You can use any kind of dry organic material in the run -- wood chips, wood shavings, straw, pine straw, leaves, shredded paper, and anything else that comes readily to hand.

IMO, a mix of materials, sizes, and textures is better than a single thing because it will help the litter resist packing and matting -- which would be the main cause of any litter-related troubles.

Gravel can be a terrible problem because it irritates the birds feet and can make the prone to bumblefoot.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
90,216
112,107
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
I disagree that you shouldn't try it, though I'd consider putting something against that wood fence to protect it so you don't end up rotting it along with the stuff in the litter. For composting you'd want to use materials that'll break down readily. Dried leaves would be stellar, along with other stuff from the yard provided it hasn't been treated with any poisons - short lawn clippings, garden trimmings, weed clumps, etc. Maybe a little chopped straw. Wood does not break down well so avoid too much of wood chips, shavings, etc.

The gravel could be an issue - is the dirt over the gravel? I wouldn't really want it mixed into my compost, though I suppose you can sift it out once it's broken down.
You can use any kind of dry organic material in the run -- wood chips, wood shavings, straw, pine straw, leaves, shredded paper, and anything else that comes readily to hand.

IMO, a mix of materials, sizes, and textures is better than a single thing because it will help the litter resist packing and matting -- which would be the main cause of any litter-related troubles.

Gravel can be a terrible problem because it irritates the birds feet and can make the prone to bumblefoot.
Ditto Both of Dos^^^^
 

Suejordn

Chirping
Apr 18, 2020
108
83
63
Soil here retains so much moisture that my first thought about getting gravel in the garden was YES better drainage.



I'm starting the deep litter concept except my coop is probably more like a covered run, so we will see what happens. Dirt floor, full roof.. the dividing walls between "pens" are half and half wood and chicken wire. Chicken wire on the upper part. And the whole outside is horse fence. So lots of ventilation haha.
Yes it’s super moist here in Eureka, Ca. Mild could potentially be a problem if I’m not careful! So I’ll probably leave the gravel and just add on too so I have good drainage.
 

Suejordn

Chirping
Apr 18, 2020
108
83
63
Thank you everyone! I have friends in the landscaping business so I’m asking for natural materials like soil and dried leaves to start with. I don’t want any mold problems! I think I better stay away from wood chips and hay and such. We will see how this goes! Sounds like it will be a learning process!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
90,216
112,107
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
Thank you everyone! I have friends in the landscaping business so I’m asking for natural materials like soil and dried leaves to start with. I don’t want any mold problems! I think I better stay away from wood chips and hay and such. We will see how this goes! Sounds like it will be a learning process!
Gravel will only help with drainage if the area is already sloped for draining.
Hay is most likely to mold, leaves can too, wood chips if freshly chipped can too.
But none are guaranteed fear mongered mold makers.
A mix of materials, especially coarse wood chipping keeps the bedding from packing into an nasty anaerobic mess.
The coarse wood chips are enough to 'digest' the poops and reduce odors.
 
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