Shavings? Deep liter Method

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Jewellan, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. Jewellan

    Jewellan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello, I am totally new to this myself. What type of shavings do I use for the deep litter method? Is there an article or book that I can read about this? Or can anyone tell me ........ do you removed the shavings after a period of time or just keep adding to them?[​IMG] I hate to sound like an idiot, but I am ignorant about this. [​IMG] Education PLEASE!
     
  2. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The deep litter method is a compost pile in your coop. You can use pine shavings (takes a little longer), hay, straw, leaves, or grass clippings as bedding. The idea is to add new bedding on top as needed and let the chickens do the work of stirring it. The starting bedding needs to be 4 inches thick. If there is an area that they are not scratching in and it needs to be stirred you can throw a little scratch on it and they will stir it for you. You want to make sure that the bedding cannot get wet by flooding to prevent mold growth. Everyone has a different schedule for clean outs but the most popular are once a year and every 6 months. You can remove the bedding and add straight to your garden as the poop has already been composted in it. If done properly there is a light to no smell at all. If it stinks then there is not enough bedding being added.
     
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  3. moetrout

    moetrout Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use pine shvings (the fluffy ones and not the fine). Search on here and you will find lots of info. I start out with 4 inches. As they dirty it up I add DE and more pine shavings. The DE help kill off and insects in the litter and to keep it dry. I add DE maybe once every 2 or 3 weeks, not too much, just a sprinkling over the top. I add new shavings as it appears to need it. Usually what I do is clean out the nest box litter and throw that in the bottom of the coop and just add the new shavings to the nest box to keep that area the cleanest. I change my litter maybe twice a year. It's probably more like every 8 months.
     
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  4. Jewellan

    Jewellan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you, great information. Now I have to find a place that sells DE
     
  5. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    I use barn lime and DE in my the deep litter bedding, barn lime for drying it out and DE for killing any mites that might try to live in the bedding. DE is also good for the dustbath area as a coating of it prevents external parasites. I try to use pine shavings and dry leaves as the bedding, but skip the straw as it adds a strange sweet odor to the whole thing as it decomposes. We clean out every 6-8 months and always make sure to leave a little of the previous bedding in the coop in order to jump-start the next composting process.
     
  6. monoglot

    monoglot New Egg

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    Tractor supply has DE
     
  7. moetrout

    moetrout Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I bought Red Lake brand DE at the local feed store. Just make sure it is food grade DE and not the stuff they use for pool filters.
     
  8. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't use DE, some insects are actually beneficial to the composting of the litter, also I have found the chickens will not always (usually not ever) do enough scratching around to stir the litter sufficiently especially under the roost area if you don't have boards catching the poop. It works well to rake or actually use a shovel and turn the litter over putting the poop under or near the middle of the litter. The point is basically to have a compost pile spread across the floor of your coop, if it is working right it should not smell bad. Also some dampness is good for the litter as well providing the litter is being turned properly and given a chance to dry and compost. Deep litter that is dry with no bugs will not compost well and you will end up with a smelly pile of litter mixed with uncomposted smelly poop that you will want to clean out more often.

    There are some deep litter threads on here, they are very long but have a lot of good info from posters who have been doing it far longer than I have, this is where I get most of my information. I read a post on here a while back where a poster had a very good composting litter going and added DE and basically killed it off, ammonia smell started as the compost was no longer working, figured they killed off many of the bugs in the litter, had to start over.

    If you have a wood floor make sure to put a good preservative on it or the composting bedding and some dampness in there could cause rotting of your coop floor.
     
  9. Jewellan

    Jewellan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you. If you turn it with shovels, how often do you turn it?
     
  10. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Depends how much crap is accumulated my coop should be done every day or 2 with 27 birds especially in winter or it freezes and is hard to turn over
     

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