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#63222 - 12/20/04 05:00 AM confused on ya'lls deep litter
Tiffany Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 08/19/04
Posts: 394
Loc: Texas
What is the idea on the deep litter, why do you go so thick and want it to compost? I have dirt floors and I keep a thin layer over, and then rake out every week and put fresh shavings. I thought you had to keep them dry and fresh to avoid health problems. I can't stand looking at all the poop, my chickens don't like to scratch around in the coop. I was just wondering, I read all the post and you say how to do it, I just wondered why. :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

#63223 - 12/20/04 12:34 PM Re: confused on ya'lls deep litter
Bruce Smith Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 07/17/02
Posts: 560
Loc: Michigan
Some folks want that litter to compost in the coop, but I don't. I use it to dry the manure until it won't dry it anymore. At that point, there is enough moisture built up to begin the composting process (signaled by the smell of ammonia), which tells me it's time to clean out the coop and put in new, dry bedding. The idea is to keep the litter deepish so that what falls on it can be surrounded by dry bedding. Drying the manure slows or stops the composting process. With just a little litter on the floor, manure doesn't adequately dry. I add dry bedding several times after the new bedding goes in to extend the time before I have to clean it all out and start over. To encourage your hens to scratch up the litter, you might train them to enjoy a LITTLE grain or scratch thrown into the deepest part of the bedding, or right under the roosts.

#63224 - 12/21/04 07:01 PM Re: confused on ya'lls deep litter

I have been quite pleased with the "deep litter" method of keeping bedding down in my coop. I was driving my husband nuts cleaning out the entire coop a couple of times a week lol. Reading about the deep litter solution convinced me to at least give it a try. It has definitely helped insulate the floor of my coop and cut down my litter costs. I do go in and "fluff" things up a bit about once a week and I spot clean under the roosts where the manure seems to build up the heaviest. I throw in a couple of handfulls of scratch once in awhile to encourage the chickens to kick things up. I have as yet had NO odor problems...people that come to see them are always surprised that they don't "stink" as they have always been led to believe is the case with chickens...a couple have even inquired whether or not I will have chicks for sale in the spring [ smile ]

#63225 - 12/22/04 09:59 AM Re: confused on ya'lls deep litter

I use the method because all the things needed to compost are right there in my coop. During the summer I start mixing in lawn clippings to round out the composted product.

The decomposition creates heat, kills off certain nasties and keeps me from having to do more than 'turn' the bedding every couple of weeks. It also helps control odor in the coop... however, the run attached to the coop smells bad enough to clean out regularly.

Once a year, around July, I shovel out most of the coops and start over. What I shovel goes into another compost pile to speed along that process, then I use that pile in the garden the following season... like a recycling system really. Takes two seasons to get a good product the first time, but starting this year, I'll get one every year. I'll also give the fresh out of the coop product to a few freinds who also compost or want to 'burn' a weed patch before planting it later (that's what I used to do when cleaning the coop out monthly).


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