The biggest benefit is it makes you work less. Wood floors can absorb moisture and ammonia, hastening the time it takes for them to rot. If you can, invest some time in making sure your coop has open eaves and good cross-ventilation. I have architected it to allow a 12 inch deep litter bed. The chicken coop floor. Spring coop cleaning day is a big day when we have used the deep litter method of coop maintenance. The Deep Litter Method has been around for many years and is used by some small farmers as well as industrial ones. As the litter breaks down, it naturally releases heat and keeps the birds warm. So what is the deep litter method for chickens, and more importantly, can it work for you? It also would prevent the compost from wicking up moisture from the ground. It’s best to do deep litter on a coop that has a dirt floor, but it can be successfully done on concrete or wood as well. This is a good rule of thumb regardless of what bedding style you use, but it’s especially important for deep litter. Ventilation is important because it will give the built-up moisture and ammonia a place to escape. If you smell ammonia from the droppings, that is the first sign your litter is out of balance. But if your run gets wet and muddy during the rainy months, you really shouldn’t use the deep litter method there. You can add the litter and poop to your compost bin. Then as the chickens or ducks soil it, add another layer right on top. Deep litter Method: I don't know about you, but I like to make the most efficient use of my time. Pine shavings, on the other hand, are quite fine in texture and so will break down fast. If any sections of the litter begin to look white or ashen, they are oxygen-deprived. It will help jumpstart the next batch as all of the microbes will already be in place. Although they are very similar, there are a couple of differences. It’s employed by many homesteaders and veterinarians like myself. Each deep litter bed is made with food safe USDA, FDA, and NFS-approved high density polyethylene (HDPE). Why the Deep Litter Method. I put down a sprinkling of DE first. It will be easier for predators to get inside and it may be more difficult for you to shut your doors once bedding begins to pack together. This system will not only save time and money in the long run, but it’s always the perfect way to keep your flock entertained, as well as providing a powerful boost … There are also studies that suggest that chickens raised on deep litter have more access to vitamin B-12, helping them grow larger and healthier than those raised on other types of bedding. Before beginning deep litter, make absolutely sure that your coop has adequate ventilation. It’s a big job. About 4-6". This means you’ll need a well-ventilated coop to prevent issues like frostbite and respiratory disease. To determine if the deep litter method is right for … Using the deep litter method. The deep litter method is a tried and true way to keep your coop clean without any extra work. Not only can it damage the lungs and eyes of your chickens, but it can also make them more vulnerable to disease. Chicken Diapers: Should You Really Use Them on Your Chickens? Final Thoughts. They free range all day. Like a compost pile, you begin with a layer of pine shavings or other organic matter in the "browns" category. When you use the deep litter method, you will use carbon-based … Keep the litter at least four to six inches deep. This can be grass clippings, leaves, pine shavings, shredded paper, or another bedding type of choice. This is also called “ The Old-Timers Method ,” because it’s been used successfully by many chicken farmers for decades. Everything You Should Know. Not only can it be a serious time-saver, but it can be a healthy waste management system when done correctly. That being said, when managed properly, the deep litter system can actually decrease parasite and pest loads. If you remove litter too soon, it will never have the opportunity to get to the high heat composting phase. It will dry out the litter in your coop and can kill off the beneficial microorganisms you are trying so hard to promote. The first layer of litter is spread on the floor of the coop. “No,” you might be thinking, “That can’t be safe, or sanitary, or a good idea in any way!”. The deep litter method is a sustainable, easy-to-maintain system that works well for flocks with an earthen floor. Finally, a deep litter system needs to stay damp beneath the top layer. If you have a wood or other floor, you can still do a variation of the deep litter method, but you'll have to compost the litter when you clean it out before using it because the earth supplies the moisture and culture to start the composting process. The Deep Litter Method. Since you aren’t removing and replacing all of the bedding each week, you can add smaller amounts of new litter to the coop – this means less expense when it comes to buying shavings or straw. As the chicken manure and bedding litter compost, it helps to heat the coop, keeping your chickens warmer. If you have too many chickens, you’re going to have too much poop (and that’s never a good thing). In this guide, we will tell you everything you need to know. When it’s time for some spring cleaning at the end of winter, don’t feel like you have to take everything out. The litter has beneficial microbes, think of it as probiotics for your hens. Not only will your birds have access to all kinds of beneficial microbes, but you’ll be able to significantly reduce your workload when it comes to keeping the coop clean, too. You will also need to properly aerate the system. It’s also great for the chickens because the breaking down of the litter into compost naturally releases heat into the coop, helping to keep the birds warm. Deep Litter Beds. The deep litter method is this: In the coop you start by laying down about 6 inches of pine shavings on the floor. If you want to switch to the deep litter method in your coop, Find a bedding that suits your needs (If you need help, read how to choose bedding for your farm). It should be equally moist and consistent without any lumps or super sodden spots mixed in. With the deep litter method what you do is each week you just add new bedding on top of the bedding currently in the coop. In a deep litter system, the chickens do the turning for you. To prevent ammonia odors, make sure you have good ventilation and adequate moisture levels.