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MM 25

Deep Litter Method

by | Oct 6, 2020 | Meyer Moment

Let’s take a Meyer Moment to talk about the deep litter method! As winter approaches, you may be considering using deep litter, in your coop for waste management. If done properly, it can create less frequent coop cleanouts and fabulous compost, ready for your garden or flower beds. 

So how do you begin using the deep litter method?

Read Full Episode Transcript

Hey everyone! Welcome back to The Coop with Meyer Hatchery – where we talk all things poultry in hopes of inspiring crazy chicken keepers and educating future flock owners. Each week we like to take a Meyer Moment to cover relevant happenings. 

Let’s take a Meyer Moment to talk about the deep litter method! As winter approaches, you may be considering using deep litter, in your coop for waste management. If done properly, it can create less frequent coop cleanouts and fabulous compost, ready for your garden or flower beds. 

So how do you begin using the deep litter method?

To begin, start with a clean coop. If you’re using First Saturday Lime, sprinkle a layer of lime on your floor first, whether it be plywood, cement, laminate, or dirt. This step is optional, but does help create a barrier for moisture, odor, and pests. Next, add 4-6 inches of a carbon-based litter. We recommend pine shavings. 

As the droppings build-up, you’ll want to aerate the pile, by stirring them into the litter. You can also put your chickens to work doing this, as they love to scratch. Sprinkle some grains or a handful of mealworms across the coop floor and they’ll enjoy hours of entertainment. 

It’s important to avoid, letting a crust of droppings form, over the surface of the bedding. If any areas develop a white ashy appearance, your pile is not getting enough oxygen. Areas that are prone to this, are typically under their roosting bars, so keep an eye out! 

Every two weeks or so, add a fresh light layer of litter, to absorb the nitrogen-rich droppings and excess moisture. Again, chickens love to scratch up fresh bedding, so don’t hesitate to let them do the work to evenly distribute the fresh litter in your coop.

If the material is too wet, an ammonia odor will develop, which can be harmful to chickens. A wet coop can also create a breeding ground for coccidiosis and other illnesses. Each time a layer of fresh shavings is added, also add a sprinkle of First Saturday Lime. This will help absorb the smell, moisture and continue to control pests.

As the bedding layers begin to form, you’re essentially creating an in-coop composting bin, right under your chickens. In the Spring, remove all the bedding and start again. If properly managed, the bedding will be decomposed into a rich, dark material, full of nitrogen and ready to use. 

The warmth from the natural decomposition, will help keep your coop a few degrees warmer, reduce your coop cleanings, and provide compost ready to use in the spring. We hope this information helps you begin the deep litter method this winter. And that’s your weekly moment with Meyer. 

Enjoy the rest of your week and as always, thank you for listening to The Coop!

Hosts & Guests

Kendra + Jeff
From Meyer Hatchery

Resources

Deep Littler In Action – YouTube

Deep Litter Update – blog

Use Code THECOOP and receive 20% off your first bag of First Saturday Lime, here!

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