Why Do You, or Don't You, Use Deep Litter in Your Run (and/or Coop)?

yakitori

Crowing
Jun 22, 2020
2,020
4,350
331
New York
Do you do anything to make sure that what you're taking out is mature compost and not too hot with fresh manure for your plants?
I haven’t had any issues when taking small amounts to make compost tea fertilizer in the growing season. If I’making a soil mix for the start of the planting season, I let the mixture age for a week before using it. I had 5 chickens spread over 100sq ft, so fresh poop is fairly spread out :)
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
18,235
37,076
1,062
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
Great reasons. I've been looking up mud suppression to learn about it since I don't get mud in my extremely well-drained, sandy soil.
My soil does drain well, but chicken poop and a shady run location under the tree with lots of rain/melting snow and ground water was the perfect formula for mud. So in my case the mud issue wasn't an existing drainage issue (which is probably the most common contributor), rather, the chickens scratched away all the grass and the chicken poop had nowhere to go while sitting on unprotected, uncovered soil.

My mud got so bad at one point that my boots were being pulled off my feet around the run entrance, and it smelled terrible. So I started layering thin layers of wood chips there, and built it up over the next few months. I now can use the softness of the run floor to judge if I need to add more wood chips vs leaves/grass/other materials that break down faster - like this past winter I could feel it starting to get a bit spongy in spots, so I dumped several loads of chips on the soft spots, and it restabilized things overall in the run.
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
12,099
31,863
1,116
North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
My soil does drain well, but chicken poop and a shady run location under the tree with lots of rain/melting snow and ground water was the perfect formula for mud. So in my case the mud issue wasn't an existing drainage issue (which is probably the most common contributor), rather, the chickens scratched away all the grass and the chicken poop had nowhere to go while sitting on unprotected, uncovered soil.

My mud got so bad at one point that my boots were being pulled off my feet around the run entrance, and it smelled terrible. So I started layering thin layers of wood chips there, and built it up over the next few months. I now can use the softness of the run floor to judge if I need to add more wood chips vs leaves/grass/other materials that break down faster - like this past winter I could feel it starting to get a bit spongy in spots, so I dumped several loads of chips on the soft spots, and it restabilized things overall in the run.

Great information!
 

Sally PB

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
9,421
42,539
983
Belding, MI
I will be getting some mature trees taken down on my property, and therefore, getting a LOT of wood chips. I'll be putting 2-4 inches of chips in the run. Right now, it's "former lawn," to which I added lots of leaves and garden weeds.

I had the roof totally covered, but it was dark and gloomy in there, thanks to natural shade. It was, however, very dry. Dry enough that when I'd empty waterers at the end of the day, I'd just dump them out in the run. Right now, it's half covered; we'll be putting clear polycarbonate panel on the roof this fall. I'm planning on taking some compost out of the run next spring. (Rubbing hands in anticipation.)

I will be emptying the coop of all its bedding in the next few weeks; it's been almost a year and a half, and it just feels like its time to do it. The coop stays nice and dry. I scoop the poop board every day. I have 3 chicks in an in-coop grow out pen, but don't have a poop board under their roost. So there will be some poop in their area that I'd like to get out of there.
 
Jul 23, 2021
248
388
111
Southern Idaho
Speaking of the above point,

Where I live the ground never really freezes -- only the top inch or two in a severe year and then only for a week, maybe, because our cold snaps almost never persist more than a few days.

I would guess that Deep Litter is moot in an un-covered run that's got snow in it, but how does Deep Litter do on a covered run in a cold-climate? Does it freeze? Does it insulate the ground against freezing? ???
Great question about covered run and cold climate. I have started my
deep litter in my coop.
 

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