Deep Litter Duck And Chicken Run

The Deep Litter Method

The Deep Litter Method is a way to keep your duck and chicken coop run clean and healthy for your flock. Control the flies and keep your eggs clean. Plus it is much less work! It makes great compost for your garden! This is a must for your backyard or homestead flock.

Do you want a clean, healthy, easy to care for duck or chicken coop and run? Then let me tell you about the deep litter method.

How I Started Out.

When my daughter first brought the ducklings home three years ago, we really knew affiliate links noticenothing about raising ducks. After they had out grown their brooder, she bought a chicken coop and a dog kennel to put them in. They ate all the grass off the site very quickly, and since I had heard about the sand method, and all our ground is sand here in Florida, I figured that was all we needed. Boy was I wrong! Very soon we were over run with flies! My wonderful neighbors had agreed that I could keep the ducks, but they hadn’t agreed to a hoard of flies. We tried about every type of fly trap there was, and while they helped, nothing could keep up with them. So I had to do something quick. I did a little research and found The deep litter method.

The Deep Litter Method is a way to keep your duck and chicken coop run clean and healthy for your flock. Control the flies and keep your eggs clean. Plus it is much less work! It makes great compost for your garden! This is a must for your backyard or homestead flock.

What Is The Deep Litter Method?

The deep litter method is simply covering the floors and ground in the coop and run with the “litter” of your choice. Then as the chickens or ducks soil it, add another layer right on top. This keeps your birds out of their own waste, making a much cleaner and healthier environment. Then the lower layers compost right on the spot.

Why Use the Deep Litter Method?

Let me count the ways! (or the why’s in this case)

  • Much easier and less time consuming. You only have to scoop out the litter twice a year!
  • It is cleaner & healthier.
  • It doesn’t smell.
  • It makes amazing compost.
  • It attracts earthworms (in dirt floor areas) which help feed your birds naturally.
  • It helps heat your chicken coop in winter.
  • You get cleaner eggs (ducks drop them everywhere).
  • It cuts WAY down on the flies!

The Deep Litter Method is a way to keep your duck and chicken coop run clean and healthy for your flock. Control the flies and keep your eggs clean. Plus it is much less work! It makes great compost for your garden! This is a must for your backyard or homestead flock.

What Do You Use For Litter?

  • Pine shavings
  • Shredded dry leaves
  • Straw
  • Shredded news paper
  • Dry/not moldy grass clippings
  • Or my favorite – HAY
  • DO NOT USE CEDAR SHAVINGS – They are toxic to fowl

The Deep Litter Method is a way to keep your duck and chicken coop run clean and healthy for your flock. Control the flies and keep your eggs clean. Plus it is much less work! It makes great compost for your garden! This is a must for your backyard or homestead flock.

How Do You Start A Deep Litter?

First it is a good idea to do a through cleaning of your coop. Then add 2-4 inches of litter to all “floor” surfaces. I just take handfuls of hay and shake it, until all the floor/ground is covered and looks new. Then when it gets soiled, I add another layer to it. How long it takes to get soiled depends on how many birds you have and how big your area is. I have to add hay about once a week. While I was raising a batch of ducklings, and had several extra birds in the same area, I had to put down hay about twice a week.

Some people like to turn their litter before adding new. Others will throw out scratch to get the chickens to turn it for them. My ducks dig for worms and bugs and do a great job of keeping it turned for me. If it begins to smell, you will want to turn/stir it, as getting air incorporated with it will speed up the decomposition and cut down on the ammonia. As the litter and feces composts, the beneficial microbes multiply. This actually helps control pathogens and makes your flock healthier. Digging through the beneficial microbes is good for them, and helps them more easily fight off diseases such as coccidiosis.

What Do You Do With The Litter When You Clean It Out?

Oooohh, this is one of the best parts. While this deep litter is getting deeper and deeper it is making one of the best composts for your garden. In the spring when you clean it out you will want to add it to your compost pile. The partially composted litter will really make your compost cook! But in the fall, you can put it right on/in the garden beds as you are putting them to bed for the winter. Then your garden will be enriched with wonderful nutrients for your next growing season. (here in south Florida, I reverse that as our growing seasons are backwards)

The Deep Litter Method is a way to keep your duck and chicken coop run clean and healthy for your flock. Control the flies and keep your eggs clean. Plus it is much less work! It makes great compost for your garden! This is a must for your backyard or homestead flock.

Deep Litter Keeps Your Birds Warm In The Winter

As compost decomposes it puts off heat. This will raise the temperature in your coop by about 10 degrees. But you will need to make sure your coop is well ventilated. Chickens are especially prone to respiratory diseases.

Using the Deep Litter Method your Chickens and Ducks will have a dry, fluffy, clean floor to enjoy. And it will provide some much needed natural protein in the earthworms it attracts. You will have a happier healthier flock. With a lot less maintenance, and far fewer flies. Plus wonderful compost! It’s a win win all the way around. Don’t your birds deserve the Deep Litter Method?

Another way to keep your coop cleaner is with the Automatic Treadle Feeder. It keeps mice out and reduces food waste. It’s a great addition to the deep litter in your coop and run.

For more info about the deep litter method check out:

Mother Earth News Deep Litter Method or
Fresh Eggs Daily Deep Litter Method

 

You also might like 10 Reasons To Raise Ducks or 10 Reasons NOT To Raise Ducks or Raising Ducks 101

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Barbara | 17th Jul 17

    I’m dying to try this deep litter method but will the composting in place during the summer months increase the already too high temp?

    • Mary | 17th Jul 17

      I live in Florida with an open pen. The weather is already too hot! I don’t know how it will affect a closed up coop. You should provide plenty of ventilation either way.

  2. Jocelyn Babasa | 6th Jan 16

    Thank you for posting this! We just tried this with hay and it’s only been a little over a week but it has already made a world of difference!

    • Mary | 6th Jan 16

      It really changed my world. I’m so glad it helped you too.

  3. Tiffany | 7th Dec 15

    Hi…thanks so much for the deep litter info. I was just curious since we have ducks as well and they tend to soak the bedding, doing the deep litter method won’t it get moldy? All suggestions greatly appreciated. 🙂

    • Mary | 7th Dec 15

      Tiffany,
      Thanks for stopping by. I live in very rainy Florida and I have never had a problem with mold. Everything in my run IS open to the air. I do not shut them up in a coop. They are enclosed by a run and can go in and out of the coop as they wish. The hay gets VERY wet in the summer and around the pond all year, But I’ve never had mold in the hay. In the food they eat…. that’s another story. I’ve had to dump a bunch of that that did not get eaten. Sometimes it’s hard to judge how much they are going to eat.

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