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Deep Litter

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by Beekissed, Feb 23, 2018.

  1. Feb 23, 2018
    treerooted

    treerooted Almost Self-Reliant

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    I didn't even know people attempted DL without a dirt floor until I joined BYC, I just assumed the two went hand in hand. I'm using DL in the coop I have now, and like you Bee I pretty much just use what's available and make sure to switch it up from time to time if I find I've been using the same stuff for too long. But I've only had it going since the summer and everything froze in the winter, and I'd like to build a new coop in the spring, so all in all it might be awhile until I see the final effects of it all.

    My issue this year was too much moisture and too much ventilation. I know, I know, you can never have too much ventilation (minus drafts), but at -40 my coop was just too cold. I want more focused ventilation in specific locations. I'd like to build a new coop in the spring and that design will incorporate deep litter: an easy way to remove litter when needed and adequate ventilation.
     
    Beekissed likes this.
  2. Feb 23, 2018
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    I've always wanted a Wood's style coop but what I have is a hoop coop, so I tried to style my ventilation as much as possible like the Wood's style....vents up above the roosts and a half open door in the front and also openings on either side of the door in the front. LOTS of ventilation in the front, but only the pop door and the roof vents in the roosting area unless I need to crack the back window to increase that siphoning action of the warm, moist air there.

    It sort of creates a passive airflow in the winter months but a still point at the roosts...nice and toasty back there. Don't know all the details of the Wood's style venting and why they can have that huge open area in the front and still have warmth back in the roost area, but it works really well for some reason. It has something to do with the big vents up above the roosts and the way the cold, fresh air moves through that big open front and then up and out those vents in the back.

    If I had a chance to build a wooden coop, I'd definitely incorporate that Wood's style of architecture.
     
  3. Feb 23, 2018
    treerooted

    treerooted Almost Self-Reliant

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    Ha, that's funny, I was just looking into Woods style coop last week!
    Apparently the air flow science is off (which is apparently a very controversial thing to die-hard Woods fans) but that doesn't mean it's not a good design.
    Too complicated for us to attempt, and I've got some serious snow blowing issues that could cause real havoc. I'm so glad it was a very snowy winter this year so I could see where the pile ups are (apparently any direction is fair game). I really like the advice I've read in The small scale poultry flock which also advocates for lots of ventilation. I just need to find something that works for me and doesn't cause more hassle then necessary.

    Excellent info on deep litter in that book as well.
     
    Beekissed and Hinotori like this.
  4. Feb 23, 2018
    Hinotori

    Hinotori Super Self-Sufficient

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    Ive been trying to convince hubby to build a Wood's style coop for years. We're a bit more wet than the area it was developed for, but we don't normally get anywhere near as cold.
     
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  5. Feb 24, 2018
    moxies_chickennuggets

    moxies_chickennuggets Almost Self-Reliant

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    This coop is also a cement floor, in a tin shed out building. I use straw pretty much exclusively, with leaves out in the adjoining run. I tend to let the inside DL go as long as possible, or until it gets flooded (during the rare major rainstorm), or the ammonia just starts to build up. Right now it is needing cleaned out. I am smelling ammonia when I shut them up for the night.
     
  6. Feb 24, 2018
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    That's not good. If you can smell ammonia from your height, imagine what they are breathing on the coop floor. Can you incorporate more ventilation in that building to move that stale air up and out of there?
     
  7. Feb 24, 2018
    moxies_chickennuggets

    moxies_chickennuggets Almost Self-Reliant

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    The coop is scheduled to be cleaned out this afternoon. Otherwise, it's been doing really well, for several months now. I have even re-homed 20 of the 30 birds I had, so I can move. It is just time to clean it out is all. There is more than adequate ventilation though. That tin shed has holes all over the place!
     
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  8. Feb 25, 2018
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    It's incredibly remarkable how quickly that water I dumped into the mass of DL got things rolling. It's noticeably diminished in height already as the materials have started to rapidly compost...the water, a few turns with the pitchfork and the warm weather have all played a part in that fast composting.

    I've also noticed the chickens are working the edge of the mass more, so that means to me that more bugs have come up into the mass since the water was added to the pile.

    This is all good news to me, as I may just have some finished compost to place in the garden this year. Gotta get that watering system up and running into that DL so that I can continue to have better compost production there.
     
    baymule, Hinotori and sumi like this.
  9. Feb 27, 2018
    CrealCritter

    CrealCritter Super Self-Sufficient

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    I opened up the window in there due to the massive amounts of rain we got. I live on a creek called sugar creek. 3 years ago sugar creek became sugar river, then sugar pond, then sugar lake. Dam beavers down stream made a freaking mess... me and some local billies busted up 3 beaver dams with dynamite - lots of fun... and even with the massive rainfall we got, sugar creek never overflowed it's banks. Billies +3 beavers 0 :)
     
    milkmansdaughter, sumi and Beekissed like this.
  10. Mar 18, 2018
    milkmansdaughter

    milkmansdaughter Super Self-Sufficient

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    I started deep litter this last fall when we figured out how inadequate our little compost pile was for over 2 acres. Before starting free ranging on Oct 31st, the chicken run was an old 35'x50' chain link dog run. They stayed there in small coops all winter at night, but free ranged all day. So everything went into the old dog run, leaves, straw, kitchen waste, pine shavings, garden waste, chicken poop, grass clippings, etc. After a while, I completely quit turning it. I just threw more leaves and pine straw on top when it was overly wet or I saw chicken poop.

    Today, I put three new raised beds in the garden area (made with free wood). I layered the bottom of them thick with old cardboard, then two 55 gal barrels each of the deep litter, pine straw and dry leaves. Tomorrow I'll add dirt on top of that. I was super excited to turn some of that composted deep litter and see TONS of worms. I can hardly wait to plant! Thanks @Beekissed and others who suggested deep litter! IMG_20180318_174354.jpg
    IMG951502.jpg
     

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