Murdy

In the Brooder
Jun 28, 2020
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@Murdy How long did you let the run deep litter start to decompose/breakdown before you choose to till the ground?

Although I didn't have a smell, I noticed that it took a week or two for everything to start breaking down and a composting effect to start to eliminate a fly problem I was having in the beginning.

I add a bale of pine shavings/leaves/grass clippings every 2 to 3 weeks just to keep things fresh, so that might be the trick too.
I apologize. I misread your post initially. I don't have deep litter in the run. It was lawn until the girls ate it all.... And then just hard packed dirt.
 

Murdy

In the Brooder
Jun 28, 2020
64
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And.... For what it's worth.... The run currently smells great! Hahaha! Hopefully it stays that way. If not, I'll add Mulch and then start adding more "browns".

Thanks everybody! Much appreciated!
 

rosemarythyme

Crossing the Road
Jul 3, 2016
11,796
21,805
792
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
Ummmm.... Is ignorance a valid excuse? Hahaha! I didn't realize that the deep litter method is also valid for the run.

I added in the peat, sand and soil today. That should significantly improve the drainage as the tilling didn't not help. The girls will now be able to dig around in there, so that will help a lot.
If this doesn't work, I'll switch up to the Mulch as you've suggested.
I asked for specifics because it's very common on here for folks to say their bedding is one thing (deep litter) when it's something else (deep bedding), and they work differently so it makes a difference when assessing what works and what doesn't.

In regards to drainage: you won't know if your additions helped until you get a nice big rain storm, and at that point you can reassess if actual drains need to be installed. I will warn that odor may still be an issue even on drier days as there's really nothing in peat or sand that will help break it down the poop the way that composting materials will.
 

Murdy

In the Brooder
Jun 28, 2020
64
45
40
I asked for specifics because it's very common on here for folks to say their bedding is one thing (deep litter) when it's something else (deep bedding), and they work differently so it makes a difference when assessing what works and what doesn't.

In regards to drainage: you won't know if your additions helped until you get a nice big rain storm, and at that point you can reassess if actual drains need to be installed. I will warn that odor may still be an issue even on drier days as there's really nothing in peat or sand that will help break it down the poop the way that composting materials will.
I fully understand. Hopefully I didn't come across as defensive. I was poking fun at myself. 😊

Well.... Well see what happens with this. If it doesn't pan out, I'll adjust.

Most of the run doesn't get rain as over half is covered fully, and the other have is covered by an apple tree which helps a little at least. But.... Perhaps you're right with the potential need for drains. We'll see.

Thanks again! I'm really digging this forum... Lots of very helpful people! Also really digging these birds.... Man do they make me laugh! 😂😂😂
 

3KillerBs

Crowing
11 Years
Jul 10, 2009
2,282
3,659
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North Carolina Sandhills
Interesting. I was under the impression that the deep bedding (which is seemingly what I'm doing) does compost. That's disappointing.
If the coop is dry, which is best, the composting process can't proceed.

Deep bedding works by drying out the poop so that the bacteria that cause odor and issues can't grow. Deep litter works through the composting reaction where the good bacteria and other composting organisms react to digest the poop and the litter together and turn them into compost. This requires moisture -- not sogginess, but moisture -- and does best with direct ground contact because the necessary composting bacteria and organisms are in the soil. :)
 

Murdy

In the Brooder
Jun 28, 2020
64
45
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If the coop is dry, which is best, the composting process can't proceed.

Deep bedding works by drying out the poop so that the bacteria that cause odor and issues can't grow. Deep litter works through the composting reaction where the good bacteria and other composting organisms react to digest the poop and the litter together and turn them into compost. This requires moisture -- not sogginess, but moisture -- and does best with direct ground contact because the necessary composting bacteria and organisms are in the soil. :)
Makes perfect sense. I could have sworn that the reading I had done said that the moisture from the chicken waste was enough to keep it aerobic though. I must have gotten confused somewhere along the way.

So... With what I'm doing, how long does the litter typically last before I have to change it, and what do I do with the waste... Just garbage it?
 

drinkoj

Songster
Premium Feather Member
May 24, 2020
353
622
113
Upstate South Carolina
Makes perfect sense. I could have sworn that the reading I had done said that the moisture from the chicken waste was enough to keep it aerobic though. I must have gotten confused somewhere along the way.

So... With what I'm doing, how long does the litter typically last before I have to change it, and what do I do with the waste... Just garbage it?
Take the coop material and throw it in the run, where it will break down over time via COLD composting.
 

3KillerBs

Crowing
11 Years
Jul 10, 2009
2,282
3,659
346
North Carolina Sandhills
So... With what I'm doing, how long does the litter typically last before I have to change it, and what do I do with the waste... Just garbage it?
That depends on how many chickens, how much bedding, how warm/wet your climate is, what bedding you're using, and what your chickens are eating (wetter food = more mess).

I always changed mine when the poop to shaving ratio seemed too high, when I detected the first hint of odor, or when I was getting too much crust under the roost.

You can put it into the run or, if you think it's too dirty to be useful there, you can compost it.

People say that shavings don't compost well, but I never found it a problem -- maybe they take longer, but I don't do hot compost anyway. I just put down layers, sprinkled on a bit of lime and/or wood ash, and watered the layers in as I built the pile.
 

Murdy

In the Brooder
Jun 28, 2020
64
45
40
Well... a little update for all who are keeping track. It's been about 3 weeks since I added in the soil/sand/peat mix. I've given it a quick 2 or 3 minute tilling about once a week, adding in some edibles and compostables (mostly greens). The girls are regularly digging around in there and using the substrate to dust bathe. Odors are down significantly, along with flies. I know it's still pretty early,, but so far it seems like this plan may work out. Only time will tell though!

I have added in about 3" of big chunky mulch as the floor to my garden area (raised beds). This has greatly helped in that area as well as that seems to be where all the cool kids hang out these days. Flies and odors are down there too it seems.

Thanks again for all of the advice! Keep on cluckin'!
 

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