Topic of the Week - Coop Bedding and Waste Management; Deep Litter Method etc.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by sumi, Feb 12, 2017.

  1. Grandmadee

    Grandmadee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Layton, Utah
    I use pine shavings for bedding, I have 3 hens in a 8×10 converted greenhouse. The floor is plywood, I keep it 2-3 inches deep, I do have a hammock I made this winter(works great),I throw a littlittle bird seed to let them scratch around. I rake through it every couple of days to keep the shavings dry. They free range all day even in the snow, I sprinkle a little DME when we get a lot of rain, but it stays pretty clean and dry. [​IMG]
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    - Bedding in the coop: What do you use?
    Baled large pine shavings from TSC.

    - How deep do you let it get?
    About 2-5"

    - How often do you clean it out?
    Once or twice a year, usually in the fall. Shovel it all out into the runs.

    - What is your coop floor? (Earth, wood, protected wood.)
    Insulated plywood floor covered in a single sheet of heavy duty, foam backed vinyl flooring.
    My Coop was built in an existing large shed.

    - Do you use a poop board or something similar? If "yes", tell us more?
    Yes, boards have less than a half inch of sand/PDZ mix.
    Poops are sifted out every day or 2, depending on current population
    All poop gets put in 3 gallon kitty litter buckets with a few shavings and go to a friends compost, we rotate 4 buckets - I fill 'em up and they empty 'em.
    Keeps the odor and moisture down in the coop, I like a dry coop.
    Pics of poop board and tools here:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...raphic-gross-poop-pictures/1100#post_13179595

    - Anyone use the deep litter method? Tell us about your experience?
    I don't use DL in my coop but do in my runs, it's the best for decomposing the poops, and avoiding a 'muddy' run.
    I follow this method of using a mix of varied materials but mine is only about 6" deep at this point:

    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

    - What products, beside bedding materials, do you use to keep smells/moisture under control? (For example lime, sweet PDZ)
    Just the PDZ, see poop boards above....and I use horizontal nipples for water, which all but eliminates any water spillage/messes in the bedding.
    My coop shed is very well ventilated and weather proof....so no leaks, top hinged widows can stay open with no rain infiltration.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas
    - Bedding in the coop: What do you use?
    Pine flakes/shavings from Tractor Supply, the ones in the white bag, not the clear.

    - How deep do you let it get?
    Maybe 6”

    - How often do you clean it out?
    Once every three to four years.

    - What is your coop floor? (Earth, wood, protected wood.)
    Earth

    - Do you use a poop board or something similar? If "yes", tell us more?
    [​IMG]
    My main roosts are over my built-in brooder. The top of the brooder acts as a droppings board. On the end where there is no brooder, I use plastic bins from Walmart to catch the poop.

    [​IMG]
    I have a juvenile roost over my nests to help with integration. The top of the nests are my droppings board here.

    I do not use anything on top of the wood, just use a garden hoe with a broken handle to scrape the stuff loose and a squeegee to rake it into one of those bins where the pure poop goes into my compost pile. I scrape as needed which is a factor of chicken density and how wet the weather is. With a lot of chickens in there and damp weather that’s occasionally once a week. Sometimes I can go over a month. If it ever starts to smell I waited too long.

    - Anyone use the deep litter method? Tell us about your experience?
    The Deep Litter Method is basically creating a compost pile in your coop (or run). For the material to proper compost, it has to be slightly damp. Too wet and it will stink or if too dry the bugs that turn it into compost can’t live. I keep mine so dry the bugs can’t live. By removing a lot of the poop with my droppings boards I can go years without cleaning it out. Even then I don’t need to clean it out, but I want that stuff on my garden. It’s more like sawdust with dried poop in it. By putting it on the garden in late fall by the time planting season comes around it has broken down.

    - What products, beside bedding materials, do you use to keep smells/moisture under control? (For example lime, sweet PDZ)
    None. I rely on keeping it dry.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. CrazedCowgirl

    CrazedCowgirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 17, 2016
    Eugene Oregon
    - Bedding in the coop: What do you use?

    We use pine shavings as bedding year round but when it gets really cold (below 32*F) I'll top it with hay and straw. It adds a good insulation layer and give the girls something to scratch in if they decide not to go outside.


    - How deep do you let it get?

    I start with bedding about 6"-8" deep and as they poop and squish it down, I keep topping it off.

    - How often do you clean it out?

    Once a month or more if I'm brooding babies outside.

    - What is your coop floor? (Earth, wood, protected wood.)

    We don't really have a coop floor but as it's an 8' x 6' hoop coop and sits on the ground, but I topped it with about 6" of construction sand to make clean up easier on me.

    - Do you use a poop board or something similar? If "yes", tell us more?

    Nope, girls just poop on the bedding under the roosts.

    - Anyone use the deep litter method? Tell us about your experience?

    Since I'm almost there, I keep thinking about the deep litter method but just haven't tried it yet.

    - What products, beside bedding materials, do you use to keep smells/moisture under control? (For example lime, sweet PDZ)

    I sprinkle DE on the sand before I add in shavings, then I toss some down as I add more bedding. Seems to keep everything under control.
     
  5. sroy

    sroy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2015
    Florida
    - Bedding in the coop: What do you use?
    sand and PDZ on the floor. Straw and pine shavings in nest boxes

    - How deep do you let it get?
    About 2-5"

    - How often do you clean it out?
    Once or twice a year. Shovel it all out into the run.

    - What is your coop floor? (Earth, wood, protected wood.)
    Plywood floor


    - Do you use a poop board or something similar? If "yes", tell us more?
    Yes,sand and PDZ. Works GREAT!! SO EASY to clean out the poop with a kitty litter scoop.


    - Anyone use the deep litter method? Tell us about your experience?
    I don't use DL in my coop.

    - What products, beside bedding materials, do you use to keep smells/moisture under control? (For example lime, sweet PDZ)
    PDZ
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    SW Ohio
     
  7. WthrLady

    WthrLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    WestOak, Nebraska
    :
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2017
  8. Kandire

    Kandire Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 8, 2014
    Ohio
    - Bedding in the coop: What do you use?
    ~~ I use pine shavings
    - How deep do you let it get?
    ~~No deeper than about 4inches. The chickens kick it out the door once it's deeper than that.
    - How often do you clean it out?
    ~~I clean the poop boards daily. Other than that I clean the coop once a month in warmer weather.
    - What is your coop floor? (Earth, wood, protected wood.)
    ~~Wood with a rubber mat over it to make cleaning easier.
    - Do you use a poop board or something similar? If "yes", tell us more?
    ~~There is a poop board below each roost. Cleaning it daily allows me to not have to clean the coop constantly and keeps the smells almost non existent.
    - Anyone use the deep litter method? Tell us about your experience?
    ~~The coop isn't set up for DLM but if we ever have to build a new one I will make those changes and try it.
    - What products, beside bedding materials, do you use to keep smells/moisture under control? (For example lime, sweet PDZ)
    ~~PDZ in the poop boxes. Keeps things dry and easy to clean as a kitty litter box. We also made sure to create good ventilation when we built the coop.
     
  9. Bowleggedcowboy

    Bowleggedcowboy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 27, 2015
    Fitzgerald, Georgia
    Hi Sumi,
    I use the deep litter method and it works really well. I usually let it get up to 16-20 inches deep before I put in the compost pile in the outer run. The chickens love to go thru it. I use either straw or pine shavings. The floor of the coop is plywood with vinyl flooring over it. For the first few months I had a big kitty litter tray under the perches but that was a lot of work scooping up the droppings. I have a lot of pine trees around me so I use the green needles in the coop to keep it smelling fresh. Also use eucalyptus leaves. Don't have a moisture problem inside but when it rains and the dirt in the inner and outer runs gets wet it gets a little smelly and then I'll put down some fresh pine shavings and needles down in the runs..
    In the runs I'll till up the dirt with a tiller about once a month. Keeps the ground from getting compacted. The chickens really like it after I till it up..
     
  10. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Living in a sub tropical climate, I do things a little differently to the majority of the contributors so far.

    Due to our climate and the fact that the girls only use the coop for sleeping and laying of eggs and the rest of the time is spent in the garden, we do not have bedding in the coop. We have a slide out, slatted timber floor which not only helps with ventilation but is easily removed to clean.

    Each morning I sweep up the overnight poops and give the floor a wipe over. The coop is nice and clean for the rest of the day with no smell or flies issue. Once a week I take the floor out, give it a good wash in soapy water and dry it in the sun.

    [​IMG]

    We do, however, use deep litter in the covered run which is currently about 7 inches deep. This definitely keeps the smell and flies under control but, as mentioned, the girls spend the majority of their day in the garden and the run is really only for those times we are not home.

    While we are currently melting our way through a heat wave, I think we have it easy in our climate with keeping chickens in that they do not spend long periods of time confined due to weather and therefore, keeping the coop clean is not really an issue.

    During torrential rain the girls shelter in the covered run [not the coop] and the deep litter helps to keep them high and dry while surrounding lawn is under water:

    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.

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