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Those who use DLM - coop AND run? One or the other?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kellyjeanne, Sep 21, 2016.

  1. kellyjeanne

    kellyjeanne Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 19, 2016
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    My Coop
    I've just moved my chickens into their coop and am finishing up their run right now - I currently have about a 2-3 inch layer of pine shavings on top of vinyl covered OSB in the coop and a poop board under the roosts to catch as much as I can. I have been reading about Deep Litter Method and it seems like it would only work with ground contact. I haven't decided what I'm doing yet in the run as far as bedding or leaving it dirt - although we have heavy clay soil, it had been grass before all of my digging around and comings and goings - now it's mostly just packed dirt. They will get some level of free range every week in a tractor I'm building and DW is a chef, so they get regular kitchen scraps coming home from the restaurant - essentially whenever the bag in the fridge is empty she brings home more - so they get a lot of variety in their diets as well as an afternoon snack of kudzu every day - so while I'd ideally like a grassy run for them, I"m not sure it's in the cards and they get greens from other sources.

    So questions:
    1) If you use DLM in your coop - does your coop have ground contact? Does it work without?
    2) If you have a dirt run floor, do you use bedding on it?
    3) Does anyone use DLM in their run as well?
    4) Any other wisdom from the ether on bedding and deep litter?

    Some pics:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Construction phase - but you can see the hard dirt situation here.
     
  2. Newmamabear

    Newmamabear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What a lovely little coop, I use dl myself, I've been using what I can find on our property for the most part. Dried [​IMG] and pine needles, we have a lot of moles too so I've been chucking some of that beautiful black dirt in too. My coop smells great and fly population is nil. I robbed a little of the black stuff on the bottom and my tomatoes went nuts for it. The birdies dig through and turn it over so there's not a lot of time consuming labour involved in keeping it clean. When everyone is out they love to hang out under the trees and I find little butt divits in the tree mulch so it's home to them. They've got a tire full of play sand and wood ash mixed in for thier dust baths when they need a good clean. They are lovely glossy chickens and seem to enjoy themselves. [​IMG] I have a dirt floor inside and out so a bonus for me but I think you'll be surprised the quality of soil that will be under your coop if you did start your dl on your clay pack there. I think you'd be able to dl on any surface as long as it is able to be deep enough. 8-10 inches seems like a lot but it gets packed down and they make little hills and generally scoot it around. @Beekissed, if you take a look through some of her postings she has been doing it a long time and seems to have very good success as well. I think you'd be able to do it in your run no problem, wood chips take a long time to biodegrade though as they're very acidic, if you start with some leaves, twigs and dirt though it will probably be just fine as there's only a few inches of those [​IMG]
     
  3. MightyThor

    MightyThor Just Hatched

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    Aug 15, 2016
    I have the exact same scenario. My chicks are 5 weeks old and I'm getting the coop ready for them. I have a run that is hardpacked dirt, and I've been throwing dry grass clippings in there to build a base. I'll be moving them into the coop shortly, and the coop has a vinyl floor. There are poop boards under the roosts that also are lined with vinyl. (I did not build the coop, it was preexisting on our property).

    I'm pretty clear on using the DLM on the run, but I'm wondering how it will work in the coop. The sliding door to the run is only ~14 inches tall and right on the ground level - how does that work with the deep litter that could get up to a foot deep?

    I will be using pine shavings - previous owner of the property left an entire barn stall of the stuff so I'm all set there!
     
  4. Newmamabear

    Newmamabear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh lucky you! Mine was on the property too we've tweaked it a bit along the way too but that's the fun of it. I think if you put some good damp dirt to put encourage the good critters to come and break down the mulch, I woulden't use just shavings alone to start it because it's not very friendly to the composting bacteria, it's nice to look at to start but I didn't find it to break down very well and wished I hadent used as much as I did but no worries it'll break down eventually. My coop and run look like the forest floor if that gives you an idea [​IMG] I think the linoleum will make a nice moisture barrier that will protect your wood floor well and have heard of others using the same on this site.
     
  5. kellyjeanne

    kellyjeanne Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 19, 2016
    Atlanta
    My Coop
    OK - so in the coop, because there's no ground contact seems like it won't decompose - but hopefully the poop boards mean less need to do a full clean out. In the run, once I'm done tromping all over in it, I should start adding in compostables over time and let it build up for the gals to muck about in, but lawn waste is better than pine bedding.
     
  6. Newmamabear

    Newmamabear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yup, to make sure you get enough nitogen I would be inclined to scrape your poop boards right out onto the dl so that it can work its magic. Leaves and dry grass and all that good stuff sure make it nice and fluffy and breaks down quick. I would add your compostables as you go. The ladies won't mind at all if they happen across carrot peelings or some leftover tomatoes, enjoy the show when they do [​IMG]
     
  7. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    I use deep litter in both the coop and the run, and they are both on hard dirt. I simply broke the dirt up a little bit with one of those garden twistie thingies and started tossing stuff down. I've been very happy with the performance of DL in both the run and the coop. I got away from pine shavings.....they look nice and smell nice, but don't decompose worth diddly....the 2 year old stuff I removed last time I cleaned looked almost the same as it did going in, just grayer. So I may scatter a bit of what I have left on there right under the roost and then flip it just for a quick freshener, but other than that I've found it's pretty worthless in our dry climate.

    I've had much better results since switching to dried leaves (lots and lots of them) and I just leave little twigs, small branches and such in with the leaves. (Sometimes my good friend @Beekissed has to give me a swift kick in the hiney to get me going in the right direction) Those things create great air spaces in the litter which helps with decomposition and keeps the leaves from packing down. I add small amounts of grass clippings when I have them, but not too many as the chicken manure already contains plenty of nitrogen and it seems pretty pointless to dump a whole bagger full in there to knock the system out of whack. I use straw in the nest boxes and when I change that out I just pull it out of the nests into the litter as well. Again, not too much straw. It doesn't break down very well sometimes either. Weeds, garden trimmings, and of course whatever kitchen scraps they miss when I've thrown them in there all help too.

    One thing I did learn last year (the hard way) is to try to get leaves of differing shapes and sizes. All of our trees in the yard are willows, and the leaves are all the same - long and narrow. I did have difficulty with those packing down, but a generous neighbor let me come over and steal some of his assorted sizes and shapes, which helped.
     
  8. humblebeet

    humblebeet New Egg

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    Sep 22, 2016
    We tried a deep layers of sand in our first run. It just didn't work out. The run was about 10x8 for 6 hens. I had read that sand desiccates the poo, but it created another issue - DUST. The girls loved the sand for dust bathing, but it would get messy really quickly. We couldn't keep the dust down around the coop run and had to hose thins down consantl. Further, after a hard rain the sand would get wet on the edges from wind blown rain and it would smell bad.

    We recently had to move the girls to another section of the yard because of concrete work we need to do right next to where they were before and I'm going with the deep litter method. I started things off with a thick layer of "soil conditioner" compost (kind of like beauty bark buy much smaller) and so far the girls really like it. Leaves are just starting to fall here so those are next.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Yep! You got it.

    I use poop boards and only change out the shavings on floor once, maybe twice, a year.
    Time will tell how often you need to.

    Here's a great description of contents and how to manage organic 'bedding' in a run or coop...and there's a great video of what it looks like.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1037998/muddy-run-help-please#post_16017992
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2016

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