That is why I suggest a roof above your roosting and feed area. Using wood chips for chicken bedding and maintaining them with the deep litter method is the best option I’ve found. After about a week no more odor occurred, even after uncovering the spot. Studies have even found that this nose-biting taint contains particles that can be harmful to inhale. Every few days or so you’ll need to turn the litter using a rake or shovel. Home Chicken Topics Chicken Care The Deep Litter Method of Waste Management in Chicken Coops. Never use cat litter in a chicken coop! It is important to remove all the soiled litter before you begin. So please don't expect content from me every week. Domerdoc, Mar 27, 2013. Well, that is true to a degree. Wood chips made from hardwood will take longer to break down. I hope they work for you too! It may not even be necessary if you choose to utilize the deep litter method. Alternatively, almost any source of carbon that is free and plentiful in your area can be used. After the pile has surpassed a hot-phase, above 140 degrees Fahrenheit and about a week long, it contains broken down material that can be moved on to the aging phase. However, it should not be far away from the coop itself. Their action further transforms the compost, breaks it down and adds valuable worm casting. Second, it provides a nice soft bed for your animals. Wood chips are a good bedding material for your chicken coop. 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 … The deep litter method does two things. My personal goal is to reach a wider spectrum of nutrients, bacteria and fungi in my compost and diversify the make up of my compost. The best way is to use wood pellets, or pine shavings. I stack three crates on top of each other. You can use all organic materials that have a high carbon to nitrogen ratio. The poops laid down by the birds are rich in nitrogen, so naturally—as in the compost heap—we want a lot of carbonaceous material in the litter to balance it. While most wood chips are generally okay for your chickens, some of them contain compounds that can harm your chickens respiratory system and other contain plant-growth inhibitors. The black plastic crate itself works as my composting mesh. Even a larger flock of a small egg business can benefit from this method. I layer the crates with newspaper and fill them up with the sifted compost. But I have lots of oak, cherry and birch down in my yard which I am going to chip in my wood chipper. Subscribe to get very infrequent messages about new blog articles and other interesting chicken stuff. During the winter your chicken coop will benefit from the wood chips, because they absorb moisture, which keeps your bedding dry, a good start for healthy chickens. I instantly regretted putting that stuff there, because I had to hold my breath in order to avoid puking. Cardboard Hemp PDZ Herbs like comfrey, lavender, mint and other herbs can also be used. A thick layer of compostable litter is used to prompt the start of the composting process. Maybe you feel that you could control the smell with lime? Dry grass clippings or leaves, straw, or wood shavings all work well. The deep litter method is recommended by some but not all chicken keepers. A thick bed of carbon acts as a natural odor pad, absorbing and literally covering up the smell. In the deep litter method, you're basically forming a compost pile of your chicken's poop right on the floor of the coop. I typically clean out my chicken coop twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. The composting area serves to further break down all inputs into your finished product. • Start your deep litter method in the spring, right after doing a good deep clean of the coop. They take the longest to decompose which makes them last longer. Depending on your final use of the compost, you can get free wood chips from municipalities or have a tree company drop of a truck load of chips. Here’s the deep litter method in an eggshell: Start by spreading a 3- to 4-inch layer of clean litter on the floor of the coop. In a backyard setting, that means a couple of bedding forks per week. Simply add enough shavings to keep the floor composting nicely, and the chickens do the aeration for you with their scratching behavior. After reading what has been learned from so much experience, I feel more confident now continuing on with trying the deep litter method. I am adding other ingredients to the outdoor area: My fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells and coffee grounds, as well as non-chicken meat scraps. I live in NC and the summers get hot and the winters get some freezing nights. After I covered my mouth and nose with my t-shirt, I grabbed the bedding fork and started to shovel chips from the inside of the coop onto that messy puddle. I hope they work for you too! The Deep Litter Method is sweet and simple. A deep litter system in a perfect balance does make the coop cozy, but chickens really don’t need heat in the winter, and the damp that comes off the pile can cause an unhealthy chill, especially if ventilation isn’t ideal. This is also called “ The Old-Timers Method ,” because it’s been used successfully by many chicken farmers for decades. The benefit is twofold: first, you get all that lovely compost for your garden. We want to use the deep litter method of coop bedding. Put straw or any other carbonaceous material onto the floor of the coop (dirt floors aren’t necessary, but some drainage is good). Dry grass clippings or leaves, straw, or wood shavings all work well. You have to figure out what works best in your situation. If you have a drainage issue, adding straw or wood chips on top of mucky sand is going to make the problem WORSE and seriously foul smelling!!! I have an 8×12′ coop attached to a 20×20′ covered run, 22 chickens (20 hens, 2 roosters, and getting more pullets from Meyer in June!!). Deep Bedding with Wood Chips in a Nutshell, It transforms poop into desirable fertilizer. Wood chips are great in absorbing those odors. The deep bedding method works best with a high carbon input. The key to harvesting more compost is more sifting. I believe you are creating a fertile run-off that randomly washes somewhere. The roof above will allow for you to add water in a controlled way and increase the moisture content in the bedding. More bedding is added regularly to keep things fresh and clean. Make sure to not dump these into your coop and run directly. The great news is that these beneficial microbes will also … It claimed to self compost over time, keep the odor way down, and sanitary for the animals living there.