The ever evolving question...deep litter vs DE mix

JustAileen

Songster
6 Years
Mar 16, 2014
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20
111
Hi guys. So I know this is discussed often and I did do a search, but haven't really come up with an answer to my question. I'm torn between doing deep litter method with pine/yard clippings/leaves in the fall, and using the sweet PDZ/hay/DE combo that I inadvertently bought at a feed store (I didn't realize it had DE in it at the time). I live in a very dry area that gets little rain, the coop is an A frame with the run partially covered at the bottom (the chickens will free range for part of the day). I'm not too worried about rain because we only get rain in the winter for about a month or so, so I can use that time to change out the litter and start again with pine shavings until things dry out if I do deep litter. (please feel free to correct me if I'm thinking wrong about that)
I welcome suggestions as to what to do. please and thank you. Edited to add: I have both pine shavings and the PDZ mixture here waiting to go into the run, I just can't figure out which one to use.
 
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aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
96,613
130,350
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SW Michigan
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My Coop
Sounds like you've read about all the options.
There's no concrete answer for everyone.
You'll have to decide and/or try a few things and see what works best for your scenario.
Pick one and give it a go!
Can always change it up later.
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
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USA
I really don't know which is better for your situation.
You could flip a coin to decide, or you could dump them both in--deep litter often works well if it's a mix of lots of things.
 

Tamdog

Songster
Apr 23, 2020
423
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I am the kind of person who would mix the two together and throw them in the coop instead of making a decision,- That is my go to for when I have 2 options and cannot decide. then I would never know which works best or which one I like- and if you think I am kidding you just have no clue. I hate choices. :confused::th
 

JustAileen

Songster
6 Years
Mar 16, 2014
81
20
111
LOL I have thought about just mixing them up, but I thought DE was bad for deep litter composting?
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
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My understanding is that DE is harmful to most kinds of "bugs" when it's dry, but has no effect when wet. So if things are wet enough to compost, it would then be harmless to the little creatures that do the composting.

A few minutes of googling tells me that some people put DE in their compost piles with no bad effects (still find lots of earthworms, for example.) Some people suggest that large amounts may be harmful, but I did not find anyone saying they had personally seen harm.
 

Lauravonsmurf

Crowing
7 Years
Apr 2, 2014
1,499
970
286
Fair Oaks, CA
It all depends on ultimately what you end up liking best, meets your needs.

For instance some folks like pea gravel, sand, deep litter of various materials, dirt floor, concrete floor with little litter, wood floor. I currently have brick floor and pretty much only use materials like shavings in the house. But it’s all subject to change. Climate often effects people’s choices, how often they clean, size of coops and run. Disease and parasite issues as well. In some environments and climates deep litter is great in others no...

I personally use DE as bug control in dry areas of chicken zone... like their nesting boxes. Or an occasional yard treatment... I try to clean up regularly... so I don’t do deep litter, but I know other folks love that method. Just try things out and see what you like. 🐥
 

paintedChix

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 15, 2013
717
872
267
NC
Im sort of with everyone else. I'd hang onto the PDZ. It's expensive. Use it either in your coop directly to dry things up or on the ground to dry things up during rainy season.

I'd use the DE in dry areas as noted above - mixed in dusting box w/ sand/dirt & ash, nest box w/ bedding and directly on the birds if you find pests.

I'm not even sure I'd use deep litter in the run part of the coop. I know that my A-frames are only 5x8'. We move them every few days to accommodate new ground. Since we are currently on sand and the girls dig even if in new spot one day, they make their own dusting area. I'm not doing any litter at all - just move my A-frames (we have 6 currently, getting ready to build more).

We got more than 5" of rain yesterday. Really glad our 6 A-frames are on a slope. The water ran under/thru all the tractors, the birds stayed under the tarped portions while pouring - some stood on their roosts, all out in the untarped portions between rain bands - going after bugs that surfaced. We are moving them all this afternoon. all the birds did great - I watched them during the worst of the rain - through my front door and the large window on our living room. More rain coming in tonight and we will move them again tomorrow.

20200321_161703.jpg 20200321_161703t.jpg 20200410_185023.jpg

Edited to add - We will need to go around our property later today and in the next week or so. All the rain we've had lately, has loosened up trees. We need to check our pony pasture fence (chickens no longer free range from the 3 coops out there) and up around our shop & perimeter of our yards. Always so much fun, and it's not even hurricane season yet!!
 

JustAileen

Songster
6 Years
Mar 16, 2014
81
20
111
It is, but I doubt you have the space to do a true composting deep litter in an A-frame. How big is your Aframe...pics please?
6x10 in the run. (trying to get the pics off my phone but my phone doesn't like the forum for some reason and won't let me sign in LOL)
Here we go: (As I mentioned in the coop building thread, it's much more ventilated than it looks, and there's an overhang at the top to divert rain over the vent, and they'll be getting a caged in run area.)
2931ABC8-13BE-4B41-82B5-E467C68B1009.jpeg
 
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