straw and pine chips for deep litter method?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by leilani10, Oct 22, 2012.

  1. leilani10

    leilani10 In the Brooder

    I have first sand then pine shavings in the floor of my run. Then straw mixed in it all, thick. Red Lake D and E earth sprinkled in all areas. Can I clean up daily and still keep layering the pine shavings with the straw. I also have High vent areas with an extended metal roof. Should I insulate the roof to prevent this condensation I just had on the inside of the roof. All else is insulated with boards covering all so the chickens can't peck and eat it. Thank you, from a newbie.Leilani sorry wrong forum.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012

  2. Daisy8s

    Daisy8s Songster

    Sep 12, 2011
    Central Michigan
    Here is a link to a post I wrote after using the deep litter method for one year:

    There are many ways to do what is vaguely referenced as "deep litter". Some people regularly clean out what is just a deep layer of bedding, while others are actually composting within the bedding.I use the composting method for three reasons: a) very little effort, b) very little smell, c) great compost for the garden!

    But, if you want to regularly clean out a deep layer of bedding then your ingredients of sand, pine shavings, straw, and DE are fine.

    When I read up on the deep litter method I learned that the purpose of the deep litter method is to promote healthy bacteria within the litter that breaks down the manure and also provides healthy bacteria for the chicken's gut as they pick through the bedding. If you want this to happen then don't use sand or straw or DE.

    Why not sand? I'd prefer using soil that had lots of organisms living in it. If possible, I'd get soil from a decomposed compost pile.

    Why not straw? Straw is great for holding poop up in the air--best use is in horse stalls where you can scoop under big piles of poop and lift it all out in one piece. Straw is terrible for letting things get stirred and turned under. It's also too hard/thick so it doesn't break down quickly. In my experience nothing makes a stinky mess like straw if it's left for long (though it's great in pens cleaned at least every other day).

    Why not DE? This dries out the litter too much and also kills the healthy bugs in the soil that are helping with decomposition. I just learned this the hard way. I never used it last year when I had the fabulous deep litter. Then, I used it this summer and have regretted it ever since. It has made the litter dry and inhibited decomposition so now I've got a smellier litter than I had last year. I finally figured out DE was the problem and so I've begun adding lots of good soil to the bedding in hopes of re-adding healthy bugs and organisms.

    Hope this wasn't too long. You can search for deep litter and find tons more links. There are lots and lots of ways to do it!
  3. leilani10

    leilani10 In the Brooder

    Thank you, this sounds reasonable. Sounds like pine shavings will be my way to go as I have a floor made with timbers with waterproof bathroom wall board fastened on top. Leilani :)

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by