What Is DE and DLM

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Kerry2017, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. Kerry2017

    Kerry2017 New Egg

    Feb 11, 2017
    I'm thinking about getting 2 orpington hens for my backyard. I've been doing a ton of research about EVERYTHING. I love this site because it's answered a lot of my questions. Right now I'm just trying to see how to keep a small coop from getting stinky and keep coming across DE and DLM. Can anyone let me know what this is? Is it something only available in the States? I'm in Canada. Very nervous about starting this new venture. Some people I've talked with think what's the big deal...it's just chickens. No...they're animals that I want to treat with respect and care for them properly.
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi Premium Member

    Mar 27, 2012
    My Coop
    DE is shorthand for Diatomaceous Earth. It's something you can use that may help as a preventative to keep pests down, but I'm not sure that it would keep a coop from smelling. DLM is shorthand for deep litter method.
  3. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    First. [​IMG]
    I know it can be slightly confusing when you run across short cut terms. In time You learn them. DLM is Deep litter method. DE is Diatomatious earth. DLM is when you use a thick layer of materials consisting of straw, leaves, wood shavings, pine bark, ETC to create a composting floor so your chicken droppings fall into it and compost. It is effective at controlling the waste aspect of chicken manure. DE, is a powder that is good to use in your coop to control insects such as mites and such. Use also in your chickens dust bath tubs. It works when it is dry. I think once it gets wet, effectiveness diminishes. It is like tiny sharp crystals that cut up insects. (under microscope). Handling it is suggested to use a dust mask. I use it as a first thin layer as base in my coop. I also them sprinkle a thin layer of PDZ, which is a stall freshener used for horses. It does a great job of controlling odors by controlling ammonia. Then I add a layer of hay.
    WISHING YOU BEST and ask all that you are not sure of. [​IMG]
  4. waddles99

    waddles99 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2013
    Sweet PDZ will help the smell in a coop
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    The three most important things in setting up your coop and run are location, location and equally important, location. You want them to stay dry. Wet is what causes them to stink and makes them unhealthy. If you position them in a low spot where water drains to them or even worse sits there, you are pretty much guaranteed problems. If you can put them where water drains away from them, your life is a lot easier.

    We live in many different climates on six different continents. We are all unique in many things. We have different climates, terrain, urban versus rural, flock make-ups, goals, management techniques, facilities, experience levels, and just so many different things you can’t list them all. What works for one person might not work for another. There is usually never one way to do anything where all other ways are wrong for everyone. It’s hard to get specific but there are some general things that hold.

    We may use about anything for bedding in the coop and some people use bedding in the run. The purpose of the bedding is to act like a diaper, soak up moisture. Remember wet is the enemy, if it is dry you are in good shape. If your coop and/or run are in a low spot where water stands, any bedding is not going to absorb much water after it is saturated. It also helps to spread the poop out, if it is concentrated it can retain moisture. Some common floors in our coops are dirt, sand, dry leaves, wood shavings or flakes, wood chips, straw, or hay. A lot of coops have wooden floors, sometimes covered with linoleum to make them easier to clean or painted to protect the wood. Whether or not the coop is elevated or on the ground can make a difference. Some people use things like DE or PDZ, a lot don’t.

    Food Grade DE is used, among other uses, in grain storage. It is a desiccant, it absorbs moisture and dries things out. It also has tiny sharp edges that can cut a small bug, making it even easier for the DE to dry it out and kill it. The requirements in industry is if you are handling DE you need to wear a breathing mask. It’s important that it be Food Grade DE, not the kind used in swimming pool filters. Some people consider DE the greatest thing since peanut butter and sardines on rye with yellow mustard, they can’t see getting through the day without it. Personally I avoid the stuff. But it is in a lot of the stuff you buy from the store that is made with grain, it’s just not dry. As long as it is wet I’m not worried about getting it in my lungs.

    The idea of the Deep Litter Method is that you are making a compost pile in your coop or run. For it to compost it needs to be damp enough for the microscopic bugs and insects that turn the bedding and poop into compost to stay aerobic. If it gets too wet it turns anaerobic and it turns into a slimy stinky mess. Aerobic means the bugs breathe air, anaerobic means they do not. If it is too dry the bugs can’t live, so there is a balance required just like in a normal compost pile. DLM generally works best in a coop on the ground, if you have a wooden floor it can rot it out unless you somehow protect the floor, say with linoleum. My coop is on the ground but I keep it too dry for it to compost. My wood shavings get scratched into sawdust, which I occasionally put on my garden in the fall for it to compost over the winter.

    We make all this sound a lot harder than it really needs to be. As long as you provide food, clean water, protection from predators, a little protection from the environment, and adequate space they can be pretty easy. One of the big things to me is to try to make it convenient for you. Don’t make your life harder than it has to be, it’s more enjoyable if you can manage that. And your chickens will probably be better off.

    I suggest you read these if you haven’t already. They were written by a lady that was living in Ontario so they may have some credibility for you.

    Pat’s Big Ol' Ventilation Page

    Pat’s Big Ol' Mud Page (fixing muddy runs):

    I also suggest you follow the link in my signature on space. A lot of that will not apply to you but some will. I don’t give you magic numbers to follow, it’s more things to consider.

    I suggest you consider a minimum of three hens, not two. Chickens are social animals, they do much better if there is another chicken around. Unfortunately when you deal with living animals (dogs, cats, or chickens) you sometime shave to deal with dead animals. That’s just the way life is. If you have three and one dies they still have company.

    Good luck with it. You can do this.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    Here's a nifty tool for using the BYC forum...and this forst search will take you to several threads with abbrevations explained.
    advanced search>titles only> glossary

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