How To Keep Your Chicken Coop Fresh and Clean
You’re all ready for your new flock of laying hens. How do you keep your chicken coop clean, fresh and what are your choices for litter on the floor of the chicken coop? Pine shavings, straw, hay, or what? How frequently do you have to clean it out? How do you keep it from becoming stinky?
The deep litter method is just one great way of managing chicken litter from the chicken coop that lots of farmers utilize. From the deep litter method, you are essentially forming a mulch pile of your chicken’s poop right on the floor of the coop.
Just like a compost pile, you start with a layer of pine shavings or other organic matter from the “browns” category. The high-nitrogen chicken poop is the “green.”
Just put in enough shavings to maintain the floor composting well, and the chickens do the aeration for you with their scratching behavior. Scattering corn onto the coop floor promotes them. The litter has beneficial microbes – consider it as probiotics for your cows.
One or two times a year or less, you wash the coop out. The resulting substance can largely be used directly as compost, though if you notice a few spots which are more economical than many others, you might throw it in the compost bin for a short time.
The Advantages of the deep litter method are:
- It doesn’t take a lot of time to handle.
- The birds get the scratch through the microbes and beneficial culture of the live compost litter material, which can be fantastic for them.
- It doesn’t smell.
- It is safe and the birds remain healthy.
What Do You Use On the Floor of the Coop?
For the deep litter procedure, pinewood shavings appear to work well and are purchased at the local feed store in bales. If you’ve got a rather small coop and limited storage, then you can buy smaller luggage at pet stores. Make certain not to find cedar shavings, which can be toxic to chickens.
Some small farmers favor using hay or straw in the coop for litter. Others agree that depending on your unique requirements, straw or hay can be too moist in the coop.
Is This Method Right for You?
The deep litter way is a sustainable, easy-to-maintain system which works well for flocks with an earthen floor. In case you’ve got a wood or alternative flooring, you may still do a variation of this deep litter method. You’ll have to mulch the litter when you wash it out before using it since the ground supplies the moisture to start the composting procedure.
If you reside in a Cincinnati urban or suburban area or possess a very small place for your chickens and a little flock, you might wish to just clean the liter down to the ground and do it regularly (anywhere from weekly to monthly depending on your personal situation). This way you won’t have to contend with a great amount of litter to eliminate at any time. You can add litter and poop to a compost bin.