Watering with deep litter?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by lalyswishytail, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. lalyswishytail

    lalyswishytail Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 13, 2009
    Chicago area
    I hope this question fits in the category of coop design...

    Anyways, I'm getting my first chickens in a week. I've been working on getting the coop set up and have run into some questions.

    1. What do you do about watering inside of the coop if you're using the deep litter method? Now that it's warm enough to let the chickens drink outside of the coop, it's not really an issue. But when it's cold enough to need some sort of warming device to keep the water from freezing inside of the coop, how do you keep the litter dry? I was planning on just sitting the waterer on top of a heater on top of pine. Is that right?

    2. I have two 2x4 roosts that strattle the width of the coop. Do I need to put something underneath them to collect poop even though I'm using the deep litter method?

    Thanks for you advice!
  2. Snakeoil

    Snakeoil Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 10, 2009
    SE Iowa
    In winter I use a heated dog bowl, that you can find at most farm supply stores. Keeps the water liquid at below zero conditions. I also put a couple of 2 x 4 pieces on the floor and set the water on top to help keep the water clean.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2009
  3. Lesa

    Lesa Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2008
    Upstate NY
    If the litter is getting wet- there is a problem... I set my heater and waterer on top of a little stand thing, I had hanging around. Keeps the litter out of the water. I would definitely use a board under your roost. The poop you clean off your board is ready for composting, if you want to fertilize your garden with it. The wood chips mixed with poop take a lot longer to compost. The litter will be awfully smelly and gross, if you don't have a way to get the fresh poop out of there on a daily basis. They are quite amazing poop machines!! It only takes a very few minutes to clean up, when you let them out in the morning. I can have all my chicken chores done, before the coffee is ready!
  4. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    I can't afford a heater waterer and I do use the DLM. I have a 5 gln. plastic waterer that I hang from the ceiling for them to drink from inside their coop. Once the weather gets cold enough that that starts to freeze at night I clean it up and put it away until spring. From that point on I use a couple of small pails (I save the 5 qt. plastic ones that ice cream comes in) and just keep them outside during the day. I make sure they get fresh water first thing each morning and then again in the afternoon, if it's freezing out. This means that I have to haul water from the house each day but it's not that big a deal, I just plan for it.

    If your bedding gets wet that is a bad thing so you do want to make sure it stays dry. If it does get wet around their waterer you need to scoop out the wet and replace with dry bedding. Using my hanging waterer I've only once or twice had them bump it enough to cause water to splash out.
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    The water will stay cleanest, and the litter driest, if the waterer is up on blocks to raise it to the level of the hens' backs. It works best to sit the blocks either on the actual hard floor, or on a good-sized piece of plywood placed atop the litter. The higher the waterer is (consistant with the chickens still being able to reach it) the less litter will get kicked in to munge it up; and the more hard and stable the surface it's sitting on, the less mess-making spillage there will be.

    I would not btw put any heated waterer base directly on shavings, as being a potential fire hazard. Put down a paver, or cinderblock, or good sized sheet of plywood; and put the heated base on *that*.

    Have fun,

  6. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    Concrete blocks work well for us.

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