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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone and happy Monday!
I am trying to garner information for the deep bedding method for the upcoming winter. This will be my first winter with my chickens and I want to keep them as warm as possible. Do any of you use the deep bedding method? How many inches of bedding do you use? Pros/cons? Also, do you sprinkle an enzyme into the bedding to keep the smell/bacteria down? Thank you in advance!

Sincerely,
Beth
 

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I never used it, Beth. My coops got a weekly total clean out.

I don't see how it's beneficial for the birds or the humans when there are a lot of birds to deal with. I would keep something like 75 to 100 silkies. Being right there in the bedding if ammonia was to build up it would have killed them.

Chickens can withstand a lot of cold if their coop is not drafty but has good ventilation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I apologize, I should give more background info when I post! I have 8 hens and one rooster. The coop is a freestanding plywood and 2 x 4 construction with no insulation. They have a small run and free-range it for part of the day. Our winters can get down to -10, but that usually only happens every once and awhile.
 

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I do a deep bedding method in the winter.

I usually do a complete clean in the fall when temps have dropped and we're getting regular freezes, but before the snow is able to stick on the ground. Everything comes out, I disinfect, etc. Usually I "spot" clean because my chickens spend very little time in the coop, so there are few areas that really collect poop in the warmer months. Anyways, once everything is out I sprinkle a layer of Zeolite on the floor. I use Sweet PDZ, which you can buy in the horse aisle at most farm stores. Then I add a fresh, new, thick layer of pine shavings. I would say it's at least three inches deep to start.

I probably don't do a true deep litter method because I do clean up bad spots as needed, but for the most part I just throw another layer of shavings on top every few days. My chickens tend to congregate in one spot near the feeder and waterer, so that spot gets an actual cleaning, while the other less soiled areas get mixed around with a rake, redistributed, and another layer of shavings. I have a poop board underneath my roosts, so that just gets shoveled out.

As long as you clean up watery poops and pay special attention to high traffic areas, I found the coop still stays quite clean and dry. Once it's regularly below freezing the ammonia odor is not noticeable because the poop is frozen on the top layers. It breaks down so slowly in lower layers, and I have that zeolite which neutralizes the ammonia. I do mix it around a bit to make sure it's not getting compacted and the bottom layers get airflow, just like you would a compost pile.

In the spring the coop gets a full cleaning once again. I do this when the daytime temps are regularly getting above freezing. The broken down winter litter makes the best compost.
 

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I do a deep bedding method in the winter.

I usually do a complete clean in the fall when temps have dropped and we're getting regular freezes, but before the snow is able to stick on the ground. Everything comes out, I disinfect, etc. Usually I "spot" clean because my chickens spend very little time in the coop, so there are few areas that really collect poop in the warmer months. Anyways, once everything is out I sprinkle a layer of Zeolite on the floor. I use Sweet PDZ, which you can buy in the horse aisle at most farm stores. Then I add a fresh, new, thick layer of pine shavings. I would say it's at least three inches deep to start.

I probably don't do a true deep litter method because I do clean up bad spots as needed, but for the most part I just throw another layer of shavings on top every few days. My chickens tend to congregate in one spot near the feeder and waterer, so that spot gets an actual cleaning, while the other less soiled areas get mixed around with a rake, redistributed, and another layer of shavings. I have a poop board underneath my roosts, so that just gets shoveled out.

As long as you clean up watery poops and pay special attention to high traffic areas, I found the coop still stays quite clean and dry. Once it's regularly below freezing the ammonia odor is not noticeable because the poop is frozen on the top layers. It breaks down so slowly in lower layers, and I have that zeolite which neutralizes the ammonia. I do mix it around a bit to make sure it's not getting compacted and the bottom layers get airflow, just like you would a compost pile.

In the spring the coop gets a full cleaning once again. I do this when the daytime temps are regularly getting above freezing. The broken down winter litter makes the best compost.
I'm so glad you saw her post. It's complete and informative for those that want to give it a try.
 

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I apologize, I should give more background info when I post! I have 8 hens and one rooster. The coop is a freestanding plywood and 2 x 4 construction with no insulation. They have a small run and free-range it for part of the day. Our winters can get down to -10, but that usually only happens every once and awhile.
There is a lot of good info on You Tube. I plan to use deep litter this winter, but would not do it in summer.
 

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Will also add using automotive drip pans beneath feeders and waterers can be helpful. Keeps any mess contained, easy to just pick up and throw out the worst of the mess without having to break out the cleaning equipment. Keeps water spills contained. I use nipple waterers but the chickens do sometimes let quite a bit of water drip out while they're drinking. Then I can just tip the spilled water out like an ice cube out of a tray.
 

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I do a deep bedding method in the winter.

I usually do a complete clean in the fall when temps have dropped and we're getting regular freezes, but before the snow is able to stick on the ground. Everything comes out, I disinfect, etc. Usually I "spot" clean because my chickens spend very little time in the coop, so there are few areas that really collect poop in the warmer months. Anyways, once everything is out I sprinkle a layer of Zeolite on the floor. I use Sweet PDZ, which you can buy in the horse aisle at most farm stores. Then I add a fresh, new, thick layer of pine shavings. I would say it's at least three inches deep to start.

I probably don't do a true deep litter method because I do clean up bad spots as needed, but for the most part I just throw another layer of shavings on top every few days. My chickens tend to congregate in one spot near the feeder and waterer, so that spot gets an actual cleaning, while the other less soiled areas get mixed around with a rake, redistributed, and another layer of shavings. I have a poop board underneath my roosts, so that just gets shoveled out.

As long as you clean up watery poops and pay special attention to high traffic areas, I found the coop still stays quite clean and dry. Once it's regularly below freezing the ammonia odor is not noticeable because the poop is frozen on the top layers. It breaks down so slowly in lower layers, and I have that zeolite which neutralizes the ammonia. I do mix it around a bit to make sure it's not getting compacted and the bottom layers get airflow, just like you would a compost pile.

In the spring the coop gets a full cleaning once again. I do this when the daytime temps are regularly getting above freezing. The broken down winter litter makes the best compost.
What is Zeolite and where to get ti?
 

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Zeolite, or clinoptilolite, is a mineral that absorbs moisture and neutralizes ammonia, in a nutshell. It is commonly mined from volcanic type soils. You can purchase it under many brand names at farm stores. A common brand name is Sweet PDZ, or Coop Refresher, or Sweet Coop, among others. I've found Sweet PDZ to be the cheapest. I can usually get 25 pounds for around $10 at Tractor Supply or other farm stores. I've found other brands to be stupid expensive for what is basically volcanic dirt.
 

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Ok thanks, when you put it down do you do a layer of bedding then put the stall dry. Or on the very bottom before any thing else. We use straw as our hen rejected the pine shaving we tried to change to this summer. They would not go into the coop after we put them down.
 

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