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#57714 - 02/07/05 06:32 AM good bye deep litter system
Anonymous
Unregistered


Warm weather yesterday - real warm for Feb. in upstate! Got the shovels and cleaned out the duckhouse.
Let me just say that it was pretty easy to load up a big bucket of shavings nightly BUT cleaning it all out is a whole 'nother story!
2 huge knee-high piles, an aching back and a messed-up shoulder. But, the ducks are breathin' fine.
I am determined to get an easier system down that won't require Aspircreme.

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#57715 - 02/07/05 06:40 AM Re: good bye deep litter system
Anonymous
Unregistered


Oh, I should add that (as all you duck lovers already know) - the poop was hard as a ROCK and I had to kick the shovel with all my might just to break the whole mixture into big pieces. This, mixed with loose wood shavings, dust - me banging around in the coop so hard I thought I was going to tip the darn thing over, and there I'd be, upside down for the rest of the day with duck litter stuck in my teeth, yelling for help.

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#57716 - 02/09/05 08:48 PM Re: good bye deep litter system
Chook Hilton Offline
Chicken

Registered: 09/19/04
Posts: 109
Loc: Australia
mare that's hilarious! - I've just done a big cleanout of my duck house & yard too & I really identified with your hard-as-a-rock poo & aching back comments! - I think the poop was 6 inches thick in some parts... but I mixed it all with my compost heap - lovely fertiliser.
_________________________
Chook Hilton

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#57717 - 02/10/05 05:54 PM Re: good bye deep litter system
Anonymous
Unregistered


It is interesting that you have had problems with your deep litter system Mare. I have ducks, guineas and chickens; use a deep litter system in my coop; and have not noticed any rock hard poo at all(?). I worried about this a bit too when contemplating using this method. Did you turn your litter over a couple times a week by any chance or did you only go in and remove the heavily soiled areas? I have found turning frquently helps to keep stuff broke up pretty well although i do remove the heavy areas.

Just curious,
Zoo

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#57718 - 02/11/05 06:50 AM Re: good bye deep litter system
Anonymous
Unregistered


Well, I think the poop was rock hard for two reasons. One is because I didn't turn it much, like I should have. I just poured alot of fresh, dry wood shavings on top nightly - so the underneath got very firmly packed down through time. The second reason it was so darn hard is because I think alot of it was still frozen.

I'd like to keep things simple and just bring the bucket out nightly - but with early springlike weather coming off/on -(weekend it was warm, today it's 10)- I'm afraid of them getting sick again when litter gets damp. Believe it or not, I have an old baby blanket out there now - it's got a waterproof bottom on the underside, and I'll take it out daily, wash it, dry in the sun and put it back. It may sound crazy - but it's one heck of a lot lighter than that litter! I lift it up, shake the poop off near the garden, throw it in the washer. I will be putting straw on top of it, and change that frequently, too. We'll see how it goes.

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#57719 - 02/15/05 05:17 PM Re: good bye deep litter system
Anonymous
Unregistered


Question -
Can I use those two big piles of litter I have sitting outside the pen for a base under the stones and bricks I'm going to be laying down in the spring? I need to level out the land in the pen and if I could use this, it'd save me some time and money. Or is it better to just get rid of it - (I did put some down where I'll be planting some flowers, hope there's not too much nitrogen in it).

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#57720 - 02/15/05 07:14 PM Re: good bye deep litter system
Anonymous
Unregistered


I wouldn't use it as a base for masonry...the shavings will break down and won't lock your stones and stuff in. Pretty soon you'll find that you have a lot of slippage and your stones and bricks will float all over the place...when you lift one up you will see that it is just sitting in dirt (the shavings will have decomposed). Sand is definitely your best bet for this.

Put your shavings aside for compost. It takes some time for it to break down but the stuff is excellent for the garden smile

You shouldnt have a problem with nitrogen burn as long as you have spread it thinly rather than heaping it.

It really is too bad that you didn't like yoru deep litter system. I just got motivated yesterday and did my yearly clean out and the stuff had composted nicely. I was a bit worried about it with all of the rain we have had and a lot of drainage problems that have arisen because of it. I used a mix of straw and shavings in my coop this past year and had some apprehension about the straw mixed in. It all worked out ok though but I'm going to stick with just the shavings this time around and see how it goes.

Good luck with your yard..I don't envy you lol. I have to replace my brick wlakway this year thanks to the gophers.

Zoo

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#57721 - 02/16/05 05:42 AM Re: good bye deep litter system
Anonymous
Unregistered


LOL! (I won't say, "I told you so!!")

Nice thing about movable houses, we move them once a week with the tractor, and put the birds where we want the duck juice to go. If they mess up the pond, we pump it to the lawn and garden.

Not at all a fan of deep litter systems, IMO, it's too much work, too expensive and the last thing I want in my compost pile is pine shavings.

Last time I used wood/manure compost, the pile was 40'x15'x6' and while it generated lots of heat in the winter, it was better left OFF the garden the next spring. Just my opinion.

but... this probably isn't the place to talk about farming & gardening.

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#57722 - 02/16/05 07:51 AM Re: good bye deep litter system
J. Henderson Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 08/16/02
Posts: 674
Loc: New York
What better place to talk about farming and gardening -- as long as we keep it poultry related. It is my understanding that the chief problem with using pine shavings when composting is that it's high in carbon, so you'll need something that is high in nitrogen to counteract it and help it decompose. But, aha, the chief problem with using poultry manure when composting is that it's high in nitrogen. So when it comes to composting, are there any better natural partners?

I too have been avoiding a particular rock hard duck poop corner in the barn, but I may have spent that same warm upstate NY day as mare cleaning out the hen house.

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#57723 - 02/16/05 06:47 PM Re: good bye deep litter system
Chook Hilton Offline
Chicken

Registered: 09/19/04
Posts: 109
Loc: Australia
Like runners, I also use "duck juice" in the garden (what a great name for it!... I'll use this name from now on for a giggle). I also use what is affectionately known as "cowsh" which is diluted cow manure (cow juice I guess!).

To get duck juice for the garden, I have a big old bathtub that my 5 ducks use as a pond, which is above ground with rocks all around and a drainage system underneath. I clean out the bath daily by pulling out the bath plug and letting it drain. There is flexible plastic agricultural pipe connected to the drain, and I move the end of the pipe to different parts of my garden so that different areas get fertilised with the poop-y duck bath water - the grass, trees and plants love it, but I have to go easy in the areas where there are native trees/bushes that have sensitive roots.
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Chook Hilton

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