will deep litter method work with plywood floor?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by technodoll, Oct 4, 2009.

  1. technodoll

    technodoll Songster

    Aug 25, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    Apologies for the dumb question but I'm new at all of this!

    Our winter coop is mostly insulated and has a plywood floor - will the deep litter method work for the winter?

    I also don't use DE, should I be getting some? The winters here in north-eastern canada are ROUGH, should I still be concerned about mites or other parasistes?

    Don't think I've seen any on my girls... They are in great condition, beautiful feathers, I pick them up every day and don't notice anything awry...

    Thank you!
  2. meriruka

    meriruka Songster

    Oct 18, 2007
    It works on plywood in my bantam pen.......... I put down a generous layer of DE first on the plywood, under the shavings, then pile more shavings up as the layers get dirty. The trick is to keep everything as dry as possible.

    In the standard pen, I put down linoleum on top of the plywood because for some reason my hens like to dump out their water at every opportunity. I've tried hanging waterers and building stands for waterers and they still make a mess. The lino protects the plywood from the water and it dries quickly when I remove the wet shavings.

    If your hens are better behaved than mine, it shouldn't be a problem.
  3. MeatKing

    MeatKing Songster

    Ok, soo this may be a silly question, but what's DE?
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2009
  4. meriruka

    meriruka Songster

    Oct 18, 2007
    It's Diatomaceous Earth. (You absolutely have to use Food Grade DE)
    It's a white powder that works as a dessicant & it is sharp, it slices the poultry lice. (It won't cut humans or chickens, but certainly don't breathe the stuff when cleaning the coops)
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    There is no "the" deep litter "method". There is a whole variety of things you can do involving deepness of litter, each with its own idiosyncrasies and pros and cons. Some of them work perfectly fine on plywood. Others not so much.

    If you were planning on keeping the bedding damp and having lots of active composting going on, it will not happen on plywood unless given help and you do not *want* it happening on plywood because it will rot out your coop.

    Anything else is just fine [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

  6. juliawitt

    juliawitt Songster

    Aug 9, 2009
    We have treated plywood flooring and then I have appr. 4 inches of pine shaving down. We scoop up the poop with a childs shovel my husband got me and then I use the matching little rake to turn the shavings. Works great....at least we haven't had any problems at all!
  7. mdbokc

    mdbokc Songster

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
  8. Did you insulate under the plywood floor? If so, I'd go for a drier method. There are things in-between the deep litter method and daily cleanup. I guess you know that the deep litter method was originally designed for earth floors where the natural flora in the soil contributed to the composting and where the owners could pile up bedding all winter to a depth of several feet. But what you could do, and both a stable powder and food-grade DE would help, is use deep bedding of 6" - 1' and clean the roosts and any platforms regularly to keep manure down. Just use a paint scraper and a catch bucket. treat the bedding and it will stay dry and nearly odour-free.

    Some detailed thoughts here-


    That way you also avoid the dreaded spring cleanup!
  9. cybercat

    cybercat Songster

    May 22, 2007
    Greeneville, Tn
    I used a wood oil sealer on my plywood floor. Then used 6 inches of wood chips. All I do is fork it a couple times a week to mixed the poop in and add more if needed. I just topped it with straw so that it is a bit warmer. As it breaks down all I do is add more. I will not remove any till next spring when I do the coop clean out for the year.

    I have left the door open during rain storms and the floor is dry. Even the bedding dried out fast that did get wet. You have to have enough in there to do it but it works great.
  10. wombat

    wombat Songster

    Jun 23, 2009
    I'd paint the plywood floor with several coats of paint that can provide a mositure barrier, or glue down some vinyl flooring. If your coop is small enough, you might be able to buy some "left over" vinyl floor cheaply.

    If you leave the plywood bare, I suspect that it will get damp over time, and you'll end up replacing your floor sooner than if you protect it.

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